Hailing from a small rural area in County Donegal, which is often considered a geographical and political anomaly in Ireland’s landscape, the intricate work of Oliver Duncan Doherty Doherty is greatly influenced by his environment. His work is currently on show at London Fashion Week as part of In the Fold at the International Fashion Showcase 2015. We spoke to him to find out more about his process.



Using traditional handcrafts such as basket weaving and macramé, Doherty explores the possibility of materiality in fashion construction. Approaching design organically, he allows the body to determine the shape and structure of his pieces, often finding recurring weaves and patterns emerging in his cord-based work. This transformative relationship between the work and the body beneath is key to his work, as well as the idea of metamorphosis or transitioning between inner and outer. Sustainability and durability are intrinsic to Doherty’s work. His home in Donegal is surrounded on three sides by the Atlantic Ocean and weaving is still used there on a daily basis, with generational weaving in Donegal tweed considered one of Ireland’s unbroken traditions. Often creating bespoke commissions, these pieces can take weeks to create yet allow him to investigate the emotional relationship between a garment and a client. Doherty sees this connection as critical to realising and increasing the potential for long-term ownership advocating that these garments naturally hold more significance for the wearer. 

Why did you choose to pursue a career in fashion?

I sort of fell into fashion. I’ve always been interested in fashion but it wasn’t until I enrolled in a foundation diploma in art and design that I considered it as a career. Something just clicked and I knew it was the career for me.

What advice would you have for someone interested in getting into fashion design?

Only do fashion if you really love it. Don’t go into it wanting fame and money. The life of a fashion designer is tough. It can be exhausting. Don’t think it is all fun and glamour. If you do pursue a career in fashion trust your instincts and never compromise.

What drives you, as a designer?

I don’t have a plan B. That’s what drives me. Designing is exactly what I want to do. As soon as I committed to becoming a designer there was never going to be any other career. I’m also a perfectionist. I never want to be second best.

Who or what is your greatest inspiration?

I am inspired by everything and everyone around me.

What do you think are the most stylish trends for SS15?

I’ve noticed that designers are successfully incorporating a lot of handicraft skills and are really looking at craftsmanship this season. I see a lot of artisan touches with beautiful crafted details. Also, stripes. Stripes are back. 


Follow Oliver on Instagram @oliverdohertyduncan, on Twitter at @o_doherty and on Facebook at Oliver Duncan Doherty Fashion Textiles.

In the Fold is on view as part of IFS 2015 from 20th to 24th February: 10am to 6pm at the 3rd Floor Gallery, Brewer Street Car Park, 32 Brewer Street, London, W1F 0LA and is presented by ID2015 in collaboration with fashion exhibition partner Kildare Village, Ireland’s luxury shopping outlet destination.

For more see the IFS 2015 guide.


Words by Alex Calder.

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