- Lifestyle & Sports
- 17 Apr 19
The brainchild of Sandra Murphy and Alan Kelly, Murala is one of Ireland’s most covetable new brands.
Though Murala founders Sandra Murphy and Alan Kelly first met in college, their passion for fashion had been established years before. Indeed, for Sandra, it ran in the family. “I grew up in the rag trade,” she explains. “My Mum worked for clothing manufacturers as a seamstress. After meeting my Dad, they ran a very successful menswear shop in Ennis, which my brother now runs. I was always interested in art in school, so between that and the family business, I suppose I was destined to be a fashion designer.”
For Alan, pop culture played a big role in inspiring him to have a creative outlet. “My earliest memories are of drawing dresses and being obsessed with The Clothes Show,” he reflects, “to the point of recording it on the VCR and watching it over and over.”
The designers met while studying fashion at the Limerick School of Art and Design, where they now lecture part-time – talk about coming full circle! But before establishing Murala, the two accumulated a wealth of impressive experience. Living in New York, Sandra was a designer at Victoria’s Secret, and her designs have been modelled by some of the most influential models in the world. “Kendall Jenner and Adriana Lima have walked their shows in my creations,” she notes.
Alan has also been an international success, and spent some time in New York himself. “I worked with Vivienne Westwood and Brooks Brothers for a very brief period,” he says. “Elsewhere, I’ve worked with some of the most talented UK high street designers, pattern cutters and buyers. I loved every minute of it. I got a sense of pride when I would see my work in music videos, on TV presenters or in magazines. But it’s not the same pride you get when it’s your own baby.”
Having brought Murala to fruition, the two designers are now bursting with pride. The effortlessly chic womenswear brand is destined to become a staple among Irish fashion lovers – their garments are comfortable, versatile, practical and, above all, beautiful. Designing and creating Murala pieces is a dream come true for both designers, whose working styles complement each other perfectly.
“I love designing our prints for Murala,” says Sandra. “For me, print design is a wonderful way to combine my love of drawing and illustration with fashion. Seeing the artwork come to life on fabric is such a thrill, and then seeing it take shape with Alan’s silhouettes is amazing.”
For Alan, it’s all about coming up with concepts and line-ups that work in tandem with Sandra’s prints. “We chop and change ideas right up to the deadline,” he says. “The Murala rule is, we must absolutely love the garment before it goes into production. I guess the biggest reward for us is seeing the product on the customer.”
Sandra notes that Murala’s first collection was inspired by the designers’ return to Ireland, and their renewed appreciation for the country. “When I was designing the prints I couldn’t help but be inspired by our unique surroundings, particularly in nature,” she says. “And continuing from our international work experience, we wanted that inspiration to take shape in a collection that was fresh and contemporary.”
To shop for Murala’s gorgeous pieces, visit murala.com.
- Lifestyle & Sports
- 24 May 19