1. What is your earliest fashion memory?
When I was younger, I loved Anneka Rice, who wore a bright yellow jumpsuit on her show “Treasure Hunt” on Saturday nights.
I pleaded with my mother to buy me a pair of yellow trousers and being so kind, she searched far and wide to no avail. She did eventually find me a pair, about three years later.
2. What has been your greatest fashion investment?
I got married in New York, but a few months beforehand, I went there with my sister for a little trip and it was just really special. My big purchase was a Phillip Lim handbag from Barneys. I still have it.
The leather is still so beautiful and I just think I adore it even more because we had such a lovely time. Life takes over- we’re both hectic these days- but it was the one time we were just away together, so it’s the sentimental value of it really.
3. What has been your greatest fashion faux-pas?
When we were teenagers, Joe Bloggs’ jeans became “the thing” and they are definitely my greatest faux-pas!
I think we got them in the English Market in Cork at the time, but when I look back, I laugh, because they were so popular, but they were definitely not suited to me because I’m small and they were so baggy.
4. What was your career pathway before launching your own fashion and art brand in Kenmare, Co Kerry in 2019?
I had studied art and interior design, but it is hard financially to make money. I then taught for years, but I was always drawing and painting and the pull to return to what I loved was just always there.
I took a career break and studied screen printing. I wanted to merge both my art and fashion pieces and that is why I launched Begley & Bowie.
5. What inspires your designs?
I have always loved vibrant colours and that is what I predominantly work with.
I love art, history, music, nature, and interiors and I am an avid reader. I work on a lot of commission pieces for other clubs and businesses and I often find the back story or history very inspiring for these also.
6. What is your favourite piece from your current collection and why?
Rainbows are synonymous with Begley & Bowie, but I recently launched a new monochrome rainbow print. The theme is “Live a colourful life” and it is a reference to when someone is described as a colourful character.
For me it conjures up images of someone who is positive, living life, having fun and who has also managed to retain an air of mystery.
7. How important is sustainability to your brand and how do you practice this?
All my clothing is Fair Wear (committed to improving conditions for workers in garment factories) and GOTS certified (global organic textile standard) as well.
My fine art prints all come from Munken, which is a paper mill in Sweden that is considered one of the most environmentally friendly in the world. I use water-based ink in my studio and sustainable packaging as well.
8. What plans are in store for Begley & Bowie this year?
My pieces have just launched at Trump Doonbeg, which I am very excited about and I have just designed a range of hoodies for a youth orchestra based in Cork.
I have also designed a range of bespoke clothing for Create in Brown Thomas, which launched this July. I wanted to show the two facets of what I do; as an illustrator and screen printer.
One collection for Create is an illustrated print I designed of Dublin and some cultural favourites from Phil Lynott to the Abbey Theatre, and the other is a collection based on one of my art prints, which I am screen printing onto sweatshirts and t-shirts in my studio here in Kenmare.
I have two commission pieces to complete- one for a large hotel and one for a shop in Dingle- and my own shop here in Kenmare was open one year in June, so it is a busy time, but I love it.
9. What celebrity would you love to see wearing Begley & Bowie and why?
I would love to see Sarr Jamois wear my pieces. She works for British Vogue and has a unique sense of style. Or Mia Regan, who is an English model. She has a flair for combining cool colours and pieces. Sienna Miller also always looks amazing.
10. What advice would you give to somebody who wants to embrace colour this summer?
I think the summer is the one season where you can wear vibrant colours. Lavender is a lovely colour for summer as it is very flattering to our skin tone and works well with other colours too.