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10 questions with Fashion Designer Marion Murphy Cooney



Designer Marion Murphy Cooney above pictured in her studio. Picture: Ordhan Ducie

10 questions with Fashion Designer Marion Murphy Cooney

Marion Murphy Cooney

Marion busy at work

Marion Murphy Cooney, hailing from Kileely in Limerick city has been in the fashion industry since 2005. As a daughter of a painter and granddaughter of a seamstress, it is no surprise that Marion chose to pursue a career in fashion design.

While the artistic streak was always in Marion’s blood, it did take some training too. As a teenager, Marion Murphy Cooney learned to sew in an evening course in a local resource centre. Following her Leaving Cert exams, Marion was accepted to the Limerick School of Art and Design where she studied for two years. She picked up much of her marketing skills by working as a brand ambassador for a drinks company in her early 20s. Marion also worked in marketing and retail for many years before she finally bit the bullet in 2005 while expecting her second child and left her job to set up as the Marion Murphy-Cooney fashion designer, we know today.

Since 2005 Marion has been building up a following both locally and nationally for her label. When creating her collection, Marion had real people in mind and sought to create wearable, comfortable pieces. She focused on the importance of fit and quality and providing real value pieces.

“Dress shabbily and they remember the dress; dress impeccably and they notice the woman” – Coco Chanel 


  1. What was your childhood like?

I had an amazing childhood, always outdoors and I believe this helped with my creativity.


  1. When did you realise you wanted to be a fashion designer?

When I was very young, back at school, and I took pride in having the best outfit or at least making the biggest effort. Later I would make my own clothing, which was a learning curve all in itself! I remember making “scrunchies” from my dad’s old shirts and selling them (I think this was my first mini business at the tender age of 8). When I got the opportunity to marry my love of design with a career, I took the chance and ran with it. 


  1. What was your big break?
Marion Murphy Cooney

One of Marion’s amazing designs

I don’t feel there was one defining moment, but a few little ones that excited me, like seeing my creations on many of Ireland’s familiar faces and winning “best dressed “ in them, seeing my creations worn on the red carpet at The Oscars. So, while I have been associated with celebrities and major style events, I don’t hang all my value on having my name associated with these. I take great pride in the woman that walks into my atelier looking for something for a special occasion in her life and walking out feeling a million dollars. This is what motivates me as a fashion designer and is probably my favourite part of the job.

Another big break for me was getting the opportunity to open a pop-up shop in Limerick City over 8 years ago. It was an initiative by the Limerick Council to fill empty outlets with creatives. I was blown away by the support and this certainly gave me the confidence to open my own Atelier.


  1. When you first began your career what designers did you look up to?

My ultimate influence undoubtedly is Alexander McQueen. With his highly sophisticated tailoring, he pushed the boundaries in fashion and displayed beautiful craftsmanship and intricate detail In his designs. Incredible talent.


  1. As an established designer what knowledge have you gained that you would pass on to someone entering the industry?

“Fail to prepare, prepare to fail” I heard this quote many moons ago and it stuck with me. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. I’ve had and will continue to have mentors on my journey. Don’t let your fear stand in the way of trying new things, every day is a school day.


  1. If you could dress any celebrity who would you pick? What would you put them in?

I’m a huge fan of Olivia Palermo and Jennifer Aniston. I love their clean lines, their classic cuts, and attention to the smaller things. This is what makes all the difference dressing to suit you and your body shape. I’d love to see my classic “Tess” blouse and cigarette leg tailored trouser on them, topped off with my favourite Cape coat.

Anyone got their number? 


  1. What have been your favourite and least favourite fashion trends?

My favourite has to be a nice cut blazer worn with a simple T-shirt and denims.

My least favourite CROCS on adults, no need for that! 



  1. What has been your greatest achievement?

Apart from my 3 beautiful children, It has to be my brand (my Name) and my shop.

It is home to my off the rail creations, my hand chosen pieces that are designed specifically and exclusively for the Atelier, as well as my consultancy and design rooms for my bespoke pieces. In business, I’ve been through a recession and now a pandemic, I’m still fighting strong!


  1. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

Still doing what I’m doing only bigger and better 


  1. What do you love most about Limerick?

Everything, what’s not to love? The city oozes culture, creativity beautiful scenery, and incredible people! I’m very proud to be from this City.


For more info on Marion Murphy Cooney go HERE

For more stories on Marion Murphy Cooney go HERE

Richard is a presenter, producer, songwriter and actor. He was named the Limerick Person of the Year (2011) and won an online award at the Metro Éireann Media and Multicultural Awards (2011) for promoting multi-culturalism online. Richard says that the concept is very much a community driven project that aims to document life in Limerick. So, that in 20 years time people can look back and remember the events that were making the headlines.

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