Tuesday 28th July

| BY Isabella Davey

Fiona O’Neill Is the Irish Designer Whipping Up Psychedelic Womenswear

“The brand is really about what I am about, my definition of femininity and how I see the world through an absurdist yet artistic subconscious.” Fiona O’Neill searches for the strange in her seminal brand, cultivating a spirit of the unexpected in an artistic frame. Built upon psychedelic warping and textile tangibility. As the world calls for brands with purpose, responsibility and a dedicated authentic vision, Fiona is a welcome new addition to the creative dazzle of London’s uprising talent. Hailing from Dublin, O’Neill studied her BA at Central Saint Martins, where she graduated back in 2014. Her brand was born from a textiles frame of mind, synonymous for its trippy prints, bold silhouettes and overall innovative approach to design.

Collaboration is becoming a vital attitude for young brands, with the opportunities to explore new modes of communication and connectivity rising as fashion especially looks outside its own definitions.  Seeing herself not strictly in the fashion conversation, Fiona is one of a stream of new talent looking to explore overlaps within the art world too. “I place a priority on craftsmanship, aligning not only within fashion but also in the arts sphere, through a consistent dedication to artistic progression each season,” she says. “For me, fulfilling a vision into reality, down to the last detail, can feel both limitless and powerful. It’s what I have wanted to do since I can remember.”

The impact of Covid-19 has not been kind to young businesses, and this economic stab into fragile startups has been nothing short of savage. Fiona explored this concept in her film showcased as part of the inaugural, digital London Fashion Week in June. Dubbed Exercises in Daily Living, the designer presented a topsy-turvy universe where everything is strange and unpredictable. “The experience of quarantine made me wonder if we lose control of our entire lives and our whole world seems upside down, sometimes is it easier to just fully let go, leave it to fate and see where we end up.”

Her heritage is carried through in both her brand and this campaign film, also – using personal links in order to present a relatable and rounded exploration into her world. “My Irish heritage can be recognised in the spirit of the work, with hints of Celtic bold shapes and curves in graphic two-tone prints,” she explains. “It’s a feeling of Ireland that maybe at first doesn’t seem obvious, accents that speak to you with a fond familiarity no matter where you from, a fresh take on Ireland from a young Irish woman living in London.” With Fiona looking to certainly the modernist modes of expressionism and the importance of a relationship between surface and form, we see different dialogues emerging in her artistic spirit. One to watch, both her film and her trajectory.

Photographs by Raphael Bliss, Art direction by Ami Evelyn.

fionao-neill.com