What is this collection and film about? What was the starting point when you began working on it?
Sinead: I was just ending a very specific chapter of my life that has been super important to me; I have been working as a nanny part-time since I was 18, and I think I just got into a space of researching nannies and other domestic workers’ garments throughout history (aprons, bibs..) and then, very contrastingly, the power dynamics of subservience and dominance and the usage of those same garments in a fetish context.
“Based on Sinead’s experience as a nanny, alone, when the children were asleep, with space and time, we sought to depict a private and uninhibited exploration of one’s joy.” – Sharna Osborne
Sharna: Our four protagonists embody a departure from the prescribed and conspire to fulfill their own pleasure. Based on Sinead’s experience as a nanny, alone, when the children were asleep, with space and time, we sought to depict a private and uninhibited exploration of one’s joy.
“I believe that different bodies need to be present at the start of the design process to make a real difference, not only as an afterthought in the grading phase.” – Sinead O’Dwyer
Although your work keeps a strong aesthetics language, this collection feels more wearable; was this a conscious decision, or did it happen organically?
Sinead: I think it happened organically, I feel I’ve said what I wanted to say (for now) through casting. I started with a very literal criticism of the industry because that’s what I needed to say first and now it inspires me most to put that criticism into action by running my brand in the way I think the industry needs to operate. I believe that different bodies need to be present at the start of the design process to make a real difference, not only as an afterthought in the grading phase.
What was the process behind the making of this collection? Do you work alone or do you have a team of people?
Sinead: I usually have an intern and then a few more running up to deadlines. I was very lucky to have an amazing trio of young designers working with me over the last month. It’s so lovely to share the process with others. I also have a close friend who has worked freelance for me this season. However, it is still mainly just me running everything which is very intense.
“If you don’t immediately have something desirable to sell for cash flow that fits your values, then you need to keep a part-time job which in turn slows down things by half more and takes way too much time from building your business.” – Sinead O’Dwyer
Designers like you, Sinead, who have artistry at their core, are struggling to belong to a specific fashion category. Does this affect the business development of your brand, or do you enjoy pushing the boundaries of what a fashion designer is?
Sinead: It’s definitely been a big struggle. Translating my practice in casting into a practice in pattern-drafting has been really exciting but has taken me a while as I needed to find the continued meaning in the work. It is worth it though, I am always seeking to subvert something enforced upon the femme body and clothing is a very satisfying medium to do this in.