- 23 Sep 19
Textiles and textures are central to Fiona Nugent's wonderfully luxurious designs.
Roscommon-born designer Fiona Nugent picked up her love of knitting from her mother and grandmother – a passion and craft passed down through generations.
“My parents owned a wool shop in town and my mother used to knit jumpers for it,” says Nugent. “Both she and her mother were avid knitters and it’s something I remember having a fascination with from a very young age. I loved knitting in school and was so enthusiastic about it, a primary school teacher once told me I would knit jumpers for a living one day.”
Nugent’s lifelong appreciation for textiles, knitting, and creating led her to pursue fashion and design in college.
“I studied fashion design for my BA in LSAD, Limerick Institute of Technology,” she explains. “After working in industry for several years, I went on to specialise in knitwear. I spent a year in Nottingham Trent University and completed my MA in Fashion Knitwear Design there.”
Before Nugent set up her own label, simply called Nugent, she took part in the Santoni Pioneer Programme, a bi-annual project run by Santoni, a leading seamless knitting machinery manufacturer.
“Designers from all over the world are given the opportunity to work one-on-one with technicians,” says Nugent. “They learn about seamless knitting, and they design and produce a capsule collection using this technology. It was fascinating and gave me a completely fresh insight into other parts of the knitwear industry I hadn’t previously known much about.”
When it comes to Nugent’s own work, textile and texture are key, and she aims to create pieces that feel luxurious and comforting, even as the designs remain bold and modern.
“I love using really high quality material,” she enthuses. “Currently, I’m working with 100% merino lambswool. It’s a beautiful yarn with amazing qualities, from its really soft handle to its ability to regulate the body’s temperature and hypoallergenic nature. When it comes to creating silhouettes, I like to explore texture and see if it can be used to direct the shape and patterns of the design. With my current collection, I worked with blocks of weave, which really lent themselves to creating interesting, staggered hems with some of the pieces.”
Nugent is interested in sustainability and creating pieces that will become lasting investment pieces in their wardrobe, so she avoids fast fashion trends in favour of timeless quality.
“When it comes to inspiration for textures and colourways, my pieces are more about slow fashion,” she notes. “So I tend to keep away from trends and just catalogue images that I find interesting. I go into the world and photograph different structures and unusual colour combinations, which I use as inspiration for textile and future colourway development.”
Her most recent collection is bold, modern yet also classic, featuring stunning statement scarves. There are also fitted and long cowls in different weights, colours and reversible designs, using 100% merino lambswool – a beautiful yarn renowned for its softness.
“The inspiration for my current collection comes from Irish architecture,” says Nugent. “I really love the structure and geometry of these contemporary buildings. I enjoy the duality of the bold, severe shapes against the softness of the knit. With my work, I always try and find a balance of contemporary with traditional. Within this collection, I created bold shapes through hand-weave, and finished the pieces using crochet hems and seams.”
• Nugent will be stocked in Marion Cuddy Irish Designers Emporium, Powercourt Townhouse Centre and Om Diva Boutique, 27 Drury Street from September 2019. The collection is also available online at fionanugent.com, and you can follow Nugent on Instagram under @nugentluxuryknitwear
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