Aoife Kennedy creates bespoke bridal (pictured above) which allows her to work in a way that reflects slow fashion practices: creating pieces on a made to order basis, sourcing quality fabrics and working with other makers or artisans
Aoife Kennedy works closely with her clients to create custom pieces that are simple, luxurious and elegant
Originally from Co Limerick, Bridal Designer Aoife Kennedy graduated from CCAD Ireland, with an honours degree in fine art. Following her graduation, Aoife moved to Paris where she worked in the luxury fashion industry and presented her first collection of evening wear in 2015. Now based in Limerick, Aoife works closely with her clients to create custom pieces that are simple, luxurious and elegant.
How did you become interested in fashion design?
I was a really creative child and loved painting, drawing and making things. I was always really drawn to fashion and started making clothes when I was teenager. One of the first pieces I made was my sisters debs dress.
You worked in the fashion industry in Paris for eight years, why did you move back to Limerick?
As soon I began selling my designs in Paris, I was thinking about launching my brand in Ireland. I was working part time in retail for Chanel, while I built up my portfolio and I wanted to make the transition to focusing full time on my designs. I knew I needed support and every time I came back to Ireland, I heard really positive feedback about organisations like the local enterprise office, as well as the thriving Irish wedding industry. So I felt like Limerick was the best place to be, in order to grow. Also I was really missing my family and friends and wanted to be closer to them.
Why specifically do you now design wedding gowns?
I started designing evening wear and naturally progressed into bridal due to requests from clients who were looking for something different. I was determined that if I started my own brand that it would be ethically produced. Creating bespoke bridal, allows me to work in a way that reflects slow fashion practices: creating pieces on a made to order basis, sourcing quality fabrics and working with other makers or artisans.
Why did you decide to start your own brand?
I think it’s really important for any artist or creative person to create their own work and I love the freedom it has allowed me, which I wouldn’t have if I worked for someone else.
What are some challenges you’ve faced in your business?
There is so much to learn, but the biggest challenge for me is balancing creativity with the practical side. I work very closely with my clients and sometimes it can be hard to block time for purely creative projects, which is important for growth. The pandemic was obviously a really challenging time, but there were some highlights. I created a bridal jumpsuit for my friend Elizabeth for her micro wedding, which led to publicity from the Irish bridal blog “One Fab Day”. That led to creating a bespoke dress and veil for Aisling Brennan, who is married to 2fm DJ Carl Mullan. It was such a boost to see the photos published in the national media in the spring of 2022 after a tough period.
What is your greatest achievement to date?
I think starting is my greatest achievement. I created my first small collection of evening wear back in 2015 and everything changed for me from that moment on. I posted the collection on social media and within a few weeks, I had my first bridal commissions.
Where do you see yourself and your business in five years?
I think like all creative people, you just want to keep raising the bar and doing the best work you possibly can, so the goal for the next few years is to keep improving and creating pieces that people love to wear.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
So many different sources but personally I get a lot of inspiration from the fabric, seeing how a fabric falls can be the starting point for the cut or shape of a garment. Fashion is very much cyclical, so historical references and trends can be really inspiring as well. If it’s a custom piece, the clients personality can inspire the design. You get to know people very well, over the course of several fittings and you can reflect who they are, through the finished piece.
What do you love most about Limerick?
Both sides of my family have been in Limerick for generations. My dad’s family is from Kildimo, where I grew up and my mom’s side are from Patrickswell, so Limerick is very much home to me. Like most localities in Ireland, everyone knows each other or is connected in some way, which is really lovely.
And lastly, why do you love your job?
The feel good factor, making people feel great about themselves.