Irish Fashion Design: Q&A with Designer Petria Lenehan

Irish Fashion Design – Petria Lenehan

Dublin born and New York living, Petria Lenehan is an award-winning Irish Fashion Designer who is making her mark in the fashion world both here in Ireland and abroad.

A naturally talented creative who once owned and ran a successful boutique in Dublin before swapping her shop floor for a design studio, and the streets of Dublin 8 for the streets of New York’s Hudson Valley, Petria is a mother, a wife, a yogi, and a woman with a commendable ethos for clean eating and sustainability.

Irish Fashion Design - Q&A with Designer Petria Lenehan - Coat
photography: Rich Gilligan

Taking inspiration from nature but in particular Ireland’s landscape Petria’s designs reflect her love of nature. The materials she uses to make her garments in return reflect the lasting quality and timelessness of traditional fabrics renowned worldwide – fabrics such as Donegal tweed, Irish linen, Scottish cashmere and English ventile. 

Irish Fashion Design - Q&A with Designer Petria Lenehan - Hooded Coat
photography: Rich Gilligan

Petria Lenehan designs are simple and classic. Their structures give a hat tip to times gone by but these same shapes are comfortable and relaxed. Made in hard-wearing and long-lasting fabrics, Petria Lenehan garments epitomise Dame Vivienne Westwood’s wise words of “Buy less. Choose well. Make it last.”

Q&A’s with Petria Lenehan

Irish Fashion Design - Q&A with Designer Petria Lenehan - Petria
photography: Rich Gilligan

1. What was your inspiration to be come a Fashion Designer?

Growing up, I was always interested in art and design and loved to paint and draw. As an English literature student in Trinity college Dublin, I became more interested in fashion as a means of self-expression and decided to apply to study at FIT in Florence, Italy and New York.

2. How did you officially become a Designer?

After studying fashion, I moved to Brighton in 2002 and later onto London where I worked in retail while designing my own small collection. I then returned to Dublin in 2005 to open Dolls, a boutique on Clarendon street where I sold other international designers alongside my own collection. It wasn’t until I moved to New York with my husband and daughter in 2015 that I started to focus fully on a career as a designer.

Irish Fashion Design - Q&A with Designer Petria Lenehan - Light Coat
photography: Rich Gilligan

3. Where do you take creative inspiration from for your work?

I am inspired by the Irish landscape and the rich heritage of textile craft in Ireland and the UK, in particular Donegal tweed, Irish linen, Scottish cashmere and English cotton moleskin – fabrics that are steeped in tradition, hard-wearing and long-lasting. I strive to make seasonless pieces that will last the test of time – always working with shapes that are simple, classic, modern, comfortable and relaxed.

Irish Fashion Design - Q&A with Designer Petria Lenehan - dungarees
photography: Rich Gilligan

4. What’s the wackiest request you’ve had to date for commission work?

I don’t take on commissions and have never been asked to make anything wacky! – I am more interested in building a collection of pieces than taking on individual commissions.

5. Where would you love to exhibit/show and sell your designs – the dream?

I would love to bring the collection to Japan as I feel the clothes would be well received there and would suit the aesthetic of the Japanese people and culture – a place where quiet simplicity, quality materials and attention to detail are fully appreciated.

Irish Fashion Design - Q&A with Designer Petria Lenehan - Trousers
photography: Rich Gilligan

6. Who is your ideal customer? (personality/style)

My ideal customer is a woman of any age who down to earth, an independent thinker and interested in sustainability, investing in quality and slow living. She is not led by trends and comfortable in her own skin.

Irish Fashion Design - Q&A with Designer Petria Lenehan - Shift Dress
photography: Rich Gilligan

7. As a working mother / momprenure what one piece of advice would you give to fellow parents who are striving to make it in their dream career?

I would advise other parents hoping to strike out in their dream career that it’s important to have some other means of income at the start of running your business whether this is from a part-time job or partner as it can take time to build a healthy and profitable business while raising children. I think it’s important to have realistic expectations with the time you do have – being organised and effective time management are key.

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All images featured are courtesy of Petria Lenehan. All credit details included.

For more info on Petria’s newest and available collection and to purchase visit the Petria Lenehan website at petrialenehan.com – you can also connect with Petria on Instagram

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Petria will be presenting her Summer Collection at Hen’s Teeth store on Fade Street, Dublin 2 on Friday May 18th, 6-9pm & Saturday May 19th, 10am-6pm. The event will also showcase a series of limited edition prints shot by Petria’s talented photographer to the stars husband – Rich Gilligan.

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