- 04 Feb 20
Milliner Sarah O'Rourke is set to enjoy further success this year thanks to her brilliantly innovative designs.
Award-winning milliner Sarah O’Rourke is the owner and head designer of Saraden Design, an Irish design company founded in 2016. O’Rourke grew up in Ashbourne, Co. Meath and was always interested in design.
“My mum taught me how to sew from a young age,” says O’Rourke. “I’d make clothes for my dolls and for myself. I became a milliner by fluke: my mum wanted a hat for a wedding and that’s how it began.”
O’Rourke studied fashion and textile design in Colaiste Ide, then went on to study visual arts practice, specialising in sculpture in IADT, where she received her honours degree. As with many milliners, O’Rourke found one Irish designer incredibly inspiring.
“Of course Philip Treacy is a huge influence,” she acknowledges. “He thinks very much outside the box and dares to be different, which is something I admire greatly about him. I love the elegance of vintage fashion – it was a time when wearing hats in everyday life was the social norm.”
O’Rourke has proven her own daring and desire to be different through her beautiful designs and unique process, which involves creating truly unique, individual pieces of wearable art. The fabrics used to create these unique pieces have been handmade in-house by Sarah herself. Called Saraden Fabric, once a sheet is created, it cannot be replicated, making a Saraden Designs piece exclusive to its owner. O’Rourke says she loves this aspect of designing, and has found her design style and confidence sharpening over time.
“I love the initial conception of my fabrics and knowing they are all one of a kind,” asserts O’Rourke. “Designing in general is always enjoyable. Trying to get what I visualise in my head to an actual design holds its challenges. But with every design, I grow my skillset – I get bolder with each new design.”
Saraden’s recent collection, meanwhile, was inspired by the ocean and nature: “The colours of the ocean are so beautiful and were the inspiration behind my fabric colour.”