June 24, 2014 // Style

New Label We Are Islanders Is A True Merging Of Fashion And Art

WEAreWe’re all used to fashion people at art parties, and artists collaborating with fashion brands and so on but it’s a little more rare to discover a brand that is a true mesh of fashion and art. We Are Islanders is just that. The Dublin-based trio merges traditional Irish and sustainable fabrics and techniques with forward-thinking cuts and details, such as Tipperary wool bomber jackets trimmed with the softest suede-like salmon skin leather and quilted Wexford linen crop tops.

One piece—the 4.704 bamboo silk kaftan—is truly unique and was created to highlight rising sea levels as a result of climate change. It was placed in a Perspex box as part of an art installation during the Dublin Fringe Festival and literally dip-dyed by four high tides. The name refers to four of the 704 annual high tides, BTW.

‘The three dying units were constructed while the tide was out,’ says designer, and all-round environmentally conscious human, Rosie O’Reilly. ‘They were four steel uprights making a perspex box sitting on a foundation base. The vats contained an empty shipping barrel. On top of the barrel was the actual dye vat. This was filled with a non-toxic natural dye (log wood). The vat was lit from above with LED’s. The remit was that everything should be done by hand so everything from concrete blocks to wooden sleepers was carried onto the beach by volunteers. It was really labor intensive, as [we] were literally in a race against the sea to get foundations laid to secure the structures and erect the vats.’

As the tide came in on Sandymount Strand beach, the box filled with water and the barrel moved up and down, dipping the garments into the logwood. Three tunics and three free-hanging bundles of fabric were dyed by the tides. The one-night only experience during the festival was comprised of the dye units on the beach, specially-created music (each attendee was given headphones to hear the audio) and a photography exhibition pasted up on old baths on the beach. All three elements were simultaneously experienced by attendees at midnight on a full moon high tide, as they walked along the beach. You can see the video of the whole thing here.

All this is great of course, but how are the clothes? Um – really cool actually, and very well constructed. Slouchy cape coats, the chicest draping silk pants and angular quilted crop tops are included in the debut collection. It’s not just art, it’s actual, legit, very wearable art.


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