I recently had the pleasure of visiting IrelandsEye Knitwear Company whose factory is based in Baldoyle, Co Dublin. It is a sustainable, family-owned, knitwear business with a focus on creating contemporary Irish-made, hand-finished pieces.
The business is run by brothers Paul and Brendan O’Sullivan, but all the family have been involved at some time in the journey. It is a wonderful success story, employing local people and producing beautiful garments of exceptional quality.
THE SOLSTICE COLLECTION
My interest had been piqued when last month I attended the launch of their latest collection called SOLSTICE which is due to launch on March 21st, appropriately enough. It was love at first sight. The Solstice Collection is inspired by the character of strong Irish women, who embrace the colour and darkness of life with equal measure. It celebrates the arrival of Spring after a harsh winter and the new life and colour of the Spring flowers and produce found at local markets.
The collection includes oversized cardigans, cropped vests, slouched funnel-necked sweaters, scarves, berets and bags. And the colours are fabulous, with names like forget-me-not blue, bramble berry and chartreuse. See below and check out the collection here.
But IrelandsEye Knitwear has not forgotten the traditional ARAN. Yes, the brand has evolved over the last 35 years. They are inspired by Irish heritage and they still carry the traditional ‘Blasket’ Aran round-necked jumper. There has always been a huge market abroad and their garments are sold globally in over 60 countries.
In fact, they have recently added 3 new styles (a polo neck, a cropped cardigan and a vest) to the classic collection. The success of such films as ‘The Banshees of Inisherin’ has seen a renewed interest in the Aran. Below, you can see some of the men’s collection. But in truth women buy these too!
IrelandsEye Knitwear uses only 100% natural yarns, 100% merino wool yarn or a luxurious blend of wool cashmere or a Donegal Luxe Melange made of 67% lambswool, 23% cotton, 5% cashmere and 5% silk. No harsh chemicals are used.
I spoke with the two designers who explained how the process worked.
“Our designs start as a sketch in our designer’s notebook. Then we choose the yarn (100% merino wool yarn or a luxurious blend of wool cashmere) and select the stitch patterns. Once we are happy with the design, we work with the programmers to create a bespoke programme for each garment.”
“Each piece, from the sleeves to the front and back panels, is machine knit individually (high-tech machines) and later stitched together by hand.”
“So there is still a personal touch to everything we knit. From the sketching of the designs and the selection of the yarns and stitches, to the writing of the programmes, to the hand-finishing of the pieces, right through to that all-important final hand-steam, there is still a huge amount of craftsmanship and care that goes into every piece.”
IrelandsEye Knitwear also creates warm wraps and a really cosy lounge wear collection. The Covid pandemic has made us all value luxurious lounge wear.
As always, thank you for reading. And I would be delighted if you would share my little blog with your friends.
Spring has definitely arrived and with it The Solstice Collection from IrelandsEye Knitwear. Have a look at their website and invest in something beautiful that (if looked after) can become a family heirloom. Or maybe you would like to treat someone special in your life.
A lovely touch is that they use recycled paper in their handwritten notes that are included with each and every garment that leaves the factory.
Since writing this a few months ago, I was gifted a beautiful jumper/sweater by the company. I had to share with you. I love the style, the colour and how soft it is.