#wearingirish Margaret Molloy wearing cape by Bernie Murphy, sweater by Blarney Woollen Mill, gloves by Paula Rowan gloves, earrings by Tracy Gilbert Designs & bag by Holden Leathergoods

I should have written this in March but truth be told I was too busy following #wearingirish and coveting Margaret Molloy’s Wearing Irish wardrobe to finish this piece off – but better late than never hey 🙂

But why March? Well March is indeed Ireland’s month. St Patrick’s Day on the 17th March sends us into an shamrock-induced frenzy but thanks to Margaret Molloy, March has become much more than that – it’s also the month of being well dressed and Wearing Irish.

Back in March 2016, Margaret Molloy began to share examples of Irish fashion design on social media with the hashtag #wearingirish and it quickly became a passion project of hers. She soon turned the hashtag into an international fashion campaign aimed at promoting the best designers that Ireland has to offer.

Throughout March 2017 Margaret encouraged people around the world to buy at least one item of Irish fashion and post a photo of them wearing it, or an old Irish favourite, in the hope of building Ireland’s reputation for fashion. Margaret uploaded a photo or two a day on her own social media accounts, including instagram and #wearingirish spread like wildfire.

Her campaign hit the headlines too with the likes of Irish Central, the largest Irish website in America, following Margaret’s example and highlighting some of the great Irish designers that featured in her campaign.

So what happens now that March is over?

Margaret Molloy is on a mission to make sure #wearingirish isn’t just forgotten until March 2018. She has created a directory of her favourite Irish fashion designers to help people find and celebrate the best Ireland has to offer. She’s also still #wearingirish and so are a lot of people – just check them out on Twitter. I hope to post up some of my favourite #wearingirish outfits soon and I’m saving up for some of these great finds: cape by Bernie Murphy, dress by Caroline Mitchell knitwear, dress by Tina Griffin Design, dress by Manley, dress by Niamh O’Neill and bag by Holden Leather Goods.

Her campaign has also encouraged me to write about and feature Made in Ireland and highlight some of the very best Well Fashioned #wearingirish womenswear here on Well Fashioned. To be honest, it didn’t take much persuasion seeing as my family is Irish, and I’ve just returned from a holiday in Ireland where I was surrounded by head turning Irish women of the Well Fashioned and #wearingirish kind.

So, please await a regular Well Fashioned feature on some of my favourite Made in Ireland and #wearingirish finds and thanks to you Margaret Molloy for the introductions. Really hope to get chance to interview you soon.

In the meantime, please check out my Made in Ireland directory. I’m slowly updating this and hope to feature #wearingirish makers who make their womenswear in Ireland. I‘ll also highlight any that are ethically-made too.

And, here’s a link to Margaret’s online directory of Irish fashion designers wearing Irish. Treasure this, but beware it could give you a serious shopping habit.

Well Fashioned Credits

Images all care of Margaret Molloy and #wearingirish.

I know, it’s completely the wrong time of the year to be talking jumpers but after a day of house hunting and looking round an old but ‘going to be cold’ i.e. ice on the inside of the windows in winter type of house, my mind wandered off to the need to stock up on jumpers and thick waffle blankets. Yes, we like the house despite the threat of cold, and there’s nothing like being well prepared.

Also, with a little boy of my own, I’ve got a serious compulsion to keep him cosy and warm by dressing him in an Aran jumper just like my mum used to do to me. Yes, itchy neck and all. I want him to have my kind of childhood so funnily described by the actor Stephen Mangan when he talks about growing up with Irish parents and holidaying with them in Ireland (really sorry but I can’t find the link to the interview). Who knows Stephen might see this and help me out 🙂

And it’s got to be the real thing – the Aran jumper that is – the real, genuine article that’s been made to last a lifetime and is well fashioned at its finest. Only the best will do as I’m looking for three jumpers that after serious wear and in many years to come will be passed down the generations (who says jumpers can’t be family heirlooms): one for my little boy, one for me and also for my partner too. He has Irish roots as well (with a bit of Cornish thrown in) so I’m sure it will be a strong, and indeed well fashioned look when we take to the streets in our ultra-warm and thankfully no longer itchy Arans.

So, one day, I’ll finally get to visit the Aran Islands but until then I’ve been doing my research on where to buy an Aran jumper and luckily stumbled across this old article in The Telegraph by Johnny Morris and his quest for the real thing: Aran sweaters.

It’s well worth a read, along with the rest of his grail trail series which sadly no longer seems to run. You can find them all here on Johnny Morris’s Bespoke Traveller archive, including this one on French Knickers. Read at your pleasure.

So where can you buy an authentic, well fashioned Aran jumper?

Johnny’s recommendations for buying a genuine Aran jumper are:

Inis Meáin Knitting Company that designs and knits all its beautiful garments on the island of Inis Meáin, Aran Islands, Co. Galway, Ireland where they are based. They specialise in menswear but have a great selection of Aran jumpers for women although I’m more drawn to their menswear and the thought of being all wrapped up and protected in an oversized crew neck sweater.

Inis Meáin is stocked in shops over the world and online. They also have a factory shop on site which I hear has amazing views of the ocean. Definitely one for a future visit as part of my factory shop tour.

An Tuirne makes handcrafted Aran sweaters and knitwear all hand knitted by women in their homes on the Aran Islands and sold at the An Tuirne shop at Kilmurvey Craft Village on Inishmore.

Founded by Andrew Greaney and Rosemary Faherty, each An Tuirne garment has the knitters name on the label, and you can order made-to-measure jumpers and they sell sweaters for men, women and children.

So two great places to start my search for some soon to be much-loved Aran jumpers. I’ll keep you posted and photos will follow soon, along with (hopefully) more details and interviews with Inis Meáin Knitting Company and An Tuirne.

I’m also due to pick the brains of the mother of jumpers, Edel MacBride, a very talented fashion designer who’s passionate about Aran knitwear and all her knitwear in Made in Ireland. At this rate, we are going to well stocked up and toasty warm in our future home – just got to find it first.