When you look at Ireland as a brand –this idea of Ireland.ie- people see it as a country with great food, culture, history but fashion isn’t normally something associated with the land of saints and scholars, enter Margaret Molloy who is changing all of this. For the inaugural Irish International Business Network (IIBN) NY In Conversation with series, we were delighted to get the opportunity to sit down with her. Margaret Molloy having originally grown up on a farm in Offaly is the current New York based global Chief Marketing Officer for branding firm Siegel+Gale. Two years ago, Molloy tied her love of Ireland with her love of fashion to create the social media initiative ‘WearingIrish’– an online and offline platform to champion Irish designers.
Molloy recognised how designers in Ireland are producing world-class designs, yet most people could not name an Irish designer. ‘WearingIrish sets out to tell the untold story of contemporary Irish fashion and the makers behind the creations’ says Molloy. So, what is unique about Irish design? ‘People want a product that has a story behind it. The best of Irish design plays a nod to the past but has a contemporary feel’.
The entire aim of WearingIrish is to provide Irish designers access and exposure to a global market and Molloy has utilised the power of social media to magnify WearingIrish. One only has to search for #WearingIrish on social media to see the profound influence it is having.
The initiative is having its first live event in New York in May from May 15th to 17th at Bank of Ireland Start Lab. The curated event program will showcase ten Irish designers especially flown to New York. These ten designers were chosen from more than 170 applicants and will spend 48 hours displaying their creations, meeting potential customers, and forging connections to accelerate growth. The program will be packed with panellists including highly influential people in the fashion industry such as buyers, bloggers and analysts. ‘Educating them about the Irish offering is a wonderful goal.’ This WearingIrish showcase is sponsored by Bank of Ireland, Enterprise Ireland, Department of Foreign Affairs via the Irish Consulate, Tourism Ireland, CIE Tours, Invest Northern Ireland and the Northern Ireland Bureau.
The intention is that the Irish designers will learn from their time in the US market and go home in a better position, putting their new experience and knowledge to practice. Molloy has four pieces of advice for any Irish designer looking to make it in the US- ‘know your purpose, simplify your brand, get the basics right and use the WearingIrish showcase as an experiment’.
While many of the Irish networks such as the IIBN have been very supportive, this is an initiative that soars beyond the Irish diaspora footprint into the global consumer marketplace. The WearingIrish campaign has touched the hearts and minds of those in the fashion industry seeking something new and innovative. ‘when you are creating a movement, you are the instigator, but it’s about inspiring other people and that’s how a movement takes off.’
So how does Molloy find the time between being a global CMO, the creator of WearingIrish and the mother to two young boys? ‘It is synergistic, being a CMO of a marketing firm gives me the skill set to make me an effective marketer for WearingIrish, being a mom gives me access into how pre-teens are consuming media – that makes me a better marketer’. Margaret is always quick to acknowledge the support of others. She is grateful to the many sponsors, her family, colleagues and volunteers for their contributions to helping WearingIrish come to life. For Molloy, WearingIrish is a pure passion project, so what is next for this inspiring initiative? ‘My intention is to stay true to the mission to help the designers get access and exposure to markets.’
Watch the full video interview here.
If you want to find out more about WearingIrish or attend in May contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Visit WearingIrish.com for background on WearingIrish and the 10 designers.