Designer and Kerry native Colin Horgan has gained widespread acclaim this year for his first full collection FC13 WOMAN while still having a year of study left to complete at the Limerick School of Art and Design. We had a quick catch-up to dig a little deeper into how this latest one-to-watch thinks and works.
How did your design process begin? Was it with a particular fabric or cut? Or was it something more abstract and personal?
The design process was quite abstract this time around. I began playing with abstract shapes, then cutting and separating these pieces to try to create a sense of distance. They were applied onto delicate fabrics or placed underneath to create a sense of temporary support. There were a lot of raw edges, exposed sections and transparencies to create a sense of fragility. When I started this collection I was actually in Denmark, separated from the people that I care about. Perhaps this explains why I have a strange personal attachment to it.
There’s an immediately apparent futurism in your aesthetic. Would it be a reaction against growing up in Kerry, a place from which the type of clothes you create is so far removed?
It is and it isn’t. People back in Kerry are so supportive of what I do. They’ve been behind me during the whole process. They know I have a certain vision that they may not want to wear. They and I know that my customer is elsewhere other than home. What is great about Kerry is people really appreciate craft in clothing and it is lovely that the support continues even when I am away.
You’ve already cut your teeth with a number of Scandinavian designers, in both Stockholm and Copenhagen. What attracted you to these places?
Scandinavia just has something so cool about it that I am drawn to. These places are so chilled and the style is very minimal and black. For me that part of the world should remain untouched from saturation. I definitely think that there are lessons to be learned. Brands like ACNE are highly influential today as they have a really good eye and of course they know their market.
Your current collection is stocked as part of the Project 51 initiative to nurture young talent. Are supports like this enough?
Project 51 is great for creating a show and retail space, however, I do think there should be a PR agency that focuses on getting pieces to stores outside Ireland or to publications for shoots abroad. There are so many exciting designers in Ireland that should be recognised. A strong fashion-focused PR company would be a great way to support Irish designers.
There’s a growing raft of young Irish designers who may seem quite local but actually have a totally international outlook. Why do you think more and more are choosing to stick around?
I think Ireland is an amazing place – I would think about sticking around too. The good thing about home is that the fashion community is quite small and everyone knows each other, so internationally you do have a bit of good back up if you’re considering any of the fashion capitals and can still touch base locally.
How do you plan to grow your brand? What are your ambitions for it?
I definitely need a plan! I don’t want to dive into unknown territory. I maybe even need one more experience in a field that I am not as sure of. I want to experiment more with menswear and I tested accessories this season by introducing two backpacks. The reviews were great so of course I would love to get into designing more accessories. I’ve even thought of my first perfume and aftershave name. Wait until you hear it!
Images are from colinhorgan.com