1 Growing up, who was your first style “influencer”? I don’t remember being influenced by anyone in particular while growing up.

I am the youngest of six children and some of my siblings were already travelling the world when I was a child.

I remember being so interested to see what they would bring home, from clothes to souvenirs.

My sister brought home the most unusual clothes and items from having lived in Tokyo for two years. I was about six or seven years old, so it was incredibly exciting and my first window to a wider world outside of Ireland.

2 What was the fashion item you remember buying with your first pay cheque? I came across a vintage Karl Lagerfeld red coat when I was in my early 20s. It was a fraction of what it should have cost but still more than I could afford at the time. I still have it and I have fond memories of wearing it over the years.

Niamh O'Neill navy star-printed silk top with V-neck and collar €210, also available in blue, size 8-16

3 What has been your best fashion investment? Most of what I wear now is from our own collections. Last year I decided to add cashmere to our collection and I have worn these non-stop over the winter.

The cashmere collection was an investment for the brand and turned out to be a personal investment too, as I added lots of pieces to my own wardrobe. They have been well worn and still look like new.

4 And the worst? I got a very high stiletto heel when I lived in Paris in 2010. I am already 5’10” and definitely don’t need the height. I never felt comfortable wearing them and they were never worn.

It was an important lesson at the time, to make sure any investments would be worn time and again for many years.

5 If you could “raid” anybody’s wardrobe, whose would it be and why? Emma Watson (of Harry Potter fame) has a very eco-conscious approach to her style. She always looks timeless and elegant, with a creative edge.

I love how thoughtful she is about what she wears and its impact on the environment.

6 What can people expect from your new collection? I’m very excited to launch the collection for summer 2022. We have even designed a dress called “The Celebrate Dress”, in the hope that it could be worn to events and parties to celebrate the most precious moments in life. Apart from this, we have some special printed silk pieces, which are always loved so much. We have used Irish linen and organic cotton (with a beautiful blue floral print) to create dresses that are a joy to wear. The palette is earthy and fresh, with white, oat, and blue being the main colours.

7 What is your “hero piece” from your new collection? “The Shirt Dress” made from Irish linen is my hero piece this season. It’s beautiful for day wear with flat sandals and it will look fresh and cool for dinner dates too. It’s slightly oversized and feels lovely to wear.

The shirt dress in Irish linen €295 is Niamh O'Neill's hero piece. Also available in oat, size 8-16

8 How important is sustainability to your brand? I believe that sustainability should be inherent in all brands. We must design with our environment in mind in order to make a difference. I select fabrics which are made eco-consciously. It’s more difficult to source these fabrics and of course they are more expensive than the alternative but I believe they are better for the environment and better for our customers. We try to work with natural fabrics as much as possible, like silk, Irish linen and wool. All of our designs are made completely within the EU, thus lowering their carbon footprint and ensuring that workplaces are all properly managed.

9 What are your three top tips for dressing for spring/summer 2022?

  • Accessories for summer 2022 are so strong and will be your best friend when it comes to updating your wardrobe. Bottega Venetta have been leading the charge with beautiful bright accessories, including what’s become known as “Bottega green”, a stunning green colour that is striking and fresh. Mules, whether flat or heeled, will instantly update the items that have been hanging in your wardrobe for the last couple of years.
  • Embrace some print in your wardrobe. It’s nice to have a base of neutral colours in your wardrobe where you can add a splash of print to make it interesting and to express your individuality.
  • Think before you buy. An investment purchase normally gets so many more wears than items that are purchased on a whim. Fashion sustainability influencer, Orla Sheridan, advocates for getting at least 30 wears from every purchase you make. This is a great way to make sure you get longevity from your items. You want to be able to wear them for summer 2022 and long after.
  • 10 For day-to-day life, what is your “uniform”? During winter, it’s either an oversized dress and boots or straight-leg jeans with boots and a cosy cashmere top. When the weather improves, I normally wear dresses with Birkenstock sandals or trainers. I have so much running around day to day that I find these outfits practical and I can be creative with them too.

    For further information, visit www.niamhoneill.com

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