- 19 Feb 20
With fans including Halsey and Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Newry’s Katie Ann McGuigan is one of fashion’s most buzzed-about young designers.
“Rising fashion star Katie Ann McGuigan is currently based in London, but hails from Newry, Co. Down, where her interest in design first emerged.
“My family run a custom designed and bespoke furniture brand called Orior By Design,” she explains. “As far back as I can remember, I have spent after-school and evenings in the factory, helping out as and where I could. I guess that must be the reason why I love design, appreciate hard work and feel it’s integral to both my brand and myself as a person.”
Though her first sources of inspiration were homegrown, the designer draws from subcultures both at home and abroad to create her eclectic collections. Past influences include Travellers, who informed her graduate collection, to 1970s footballers and the Japanese Bszoku biker women. “I am usually inspired by photographers, as well as daily life,” explains McGuigan. “I, along with many designers, draw inspiration from my surroundings, rather than those of other designers. I do however love the ’80s. I often joke that I was born in the wrong era!”
This blend of influences often sees her mixing contrasting pieces such as embossed leather vests, tie-dye dresses and tracksuit bottoms, or layering bold printed jumpsuits under tulle overlays and cuffed shirts. The resulting aesthetic is a fresh, contemporary and unique look, which constantly evolves with each new collection, while remaining recognisable as McGuigan’s singular vision.
“Print design is what I connect with most, and feel is most integral to my brand identity,” says McGuigan, who studied Womenswear Fashion Design at the University of Westminster. “I also love the use of colour and bold silhouettes. The more graphic approach is usually my way forward.”
McGuigan’s striking designs are already being rewarded by the fashion community, and she has won the Fashion Scout Merit Award and Mittlemoda Absolute Prize, as well as having her designs featured at London Fashion Week. The designer has also amassed an impressive array of famous fans. “Paloma Faith has worn some of my designs in the past,” McGuigan reveals, “as have Halsey and Phoebe Waller-Bridge.”
McGuigan is currently working on her AW20 collection, which will be shown at London Fashion Week in February – “without giving away everything, I have been inspired by a particular photographer and daily life in the north of England that he has captured”, and is navigating the challenges facing an up-and-coming star in a demanding industry.
“Being a new and emerging designer is always difficult. In any industry, becoming part of the well-loved furniture seems like the mission, and the hardest aspect.”
She’s well on her way.
- If you would like more info or to buy any of Katie Ann McGuigan’s gorgeous pieces, see katieannmcguigan.com.