Welcome to the Shanahan Studio Session Dublin fashion stylist Annmarie Nagle. Annmarie has a similar background as myself, we both grew up on a farm and made a big move to make the transition into the fashion industry. Mother, world traveller and fashion expert Annmarie is a woman with many traits and is an inspiration.
How did you start out in the fashion industry and what age did you realise this is what you want to do for your career?
I worked in two local boutiques throughout secondary school and that was my first taste of the fashion industry. I really enjoyed it, but wasn’t sure how to enter the industry per se.
I went on to study BComm International (with Italian) at university which afforded me the opportunity to live in Milan for a year. I really fell in love with all things fashion then.
After college, I worked briefly in HR and started writing a fashion blog. This was a continuation of my Master Thesis which was on The Emergence of Key Opinion Leaders in the Fashion Industry. I joined Dunnes Stores buying dept not long after and remained there a couple of years. I left the position to live with my new husband at the time and took a role in retail that allowed me to work from home. His job means we move counties either annually or bi-annually and it was not conducive to working in a Dublin based buying office.
We both grew up on a farm, Myself in West Cork, and I found it difficult branching out into the fashion industry as I didn’t have any creative influence around me from a young age. How difficult was it for you to take the fashion route as your career?
Very difficult to begin with. I think like you, because I didn’t have much creative influence at home, I wasn’t sure how to get into the industry. I assumed I would have to become a designer (and I’m not that good at art!) Therefore I did a generic degree for safety (Commerce) but with Italian language as in the back of my mind I knew it could stand to me down the road.
What was your path that led you to the job you have now?
I had two children within two years, and moved cities three times, and I knew something had to give. My husband has a busy job, as was mine at the time, and it was starting to take it’s toll on my family and health (I had glandular fever for 9 months).
So I decided to pack in my job and become a freelance stylist/personal shopper. This allowed me to pick and choose how busy I wanted to be, and work from any city. Most importantly, it allowed me to return to something I love – working with clothes and people.
Can you name a moment of failure (or when something didn’t work out as expected) in your career experiences that you learned from or that helped you improve the way you work?
I started my small styling business two months before we entered lockdown due to Covid 19 in March 2020. It has been quite quiet since people aren’t shopping for occasions. I am fortunate that my husband kept his job during the pandemic and we could pay our rent etc but it showed me the risks associated with leaving an employer and going out on your own. I never would have predicted a global pandemic.
Where do you go when you need inspiration for your work?
Instagram explore. I love coming across new sustainable fashion brands and street style from around the world.
Stores – I love browsing the shop floors and window shopping.
Street style. Magazines/ Ezines e.g. Image, Tatler, The Gloss, Vogue…
Where do you get your fashion inspiration from?
I love people watching and street style. Scandinavian style is a huge favourite of mine because of their love of colour. I think my love of colour stems from nature. As you alluded to, I grew up on a farm and I have always loved the colours of the seasons on the land e.g the vibrancy of the gorse bush, the green explosion of bright new grass, the brightness of rape seed growing against the azure blue skies in the summer.
Who are your favourite Irish designers?
Joanne Hynes, Faye Rochford (Feri), Niamh O’Neill x Holly White Collab, Helen Steele, Simone Rocha, Kindred of Ireland, Aoife McNamara… so many. For accessories, Peelo, Aoife..I’m sure I am forgetting lots!
Who are your favourite international designers/ brands?
For their aesthetic, I love Marni, Palones (small British brand), Essential Antwerp, Munthe, Second Female, Baum Und Pferdgarten, Stella McCartney..
I am trying to focus more and more on brands which are really environmentally friendly (some of the aforementioned are making a considerable effort to become less impactful on the environment which is great to see)
How do you determine a client's personal style?
By the clothes in their wardrobe. They would send me pictures or a video of their wardrobe.
Where would you search for clothes?
Depop, The Outnet, local boutiques that stock the above mentioned brands, department stores, online.
What would you do if a client insisted on purchasing an ill-fitting item?
You can’t stop someone if they love a piece but I would always be honest and tell them that it could fit a bit better so that might mean bringing it to a tailor’s afterwards. Compromise is key!
Do you have your own signature look?
Yes, I would say I love bright colours, prints, and mixing prints and textures together. It’s probably more akin to Scandinavian or Danish style. I have quite a casual style too, probably due to personal circumstances (I have three kids under the age of four so comfort and practicality is essential!)
What are your favourite trends this season?
I’m not a big trend follower but I do love the floaty maxi dresses as seen on the runway this season e.g. Etro, Dolce and Gabbana, Michael Kors..
How do you balance work and family life as a working mom? Do you find it difficult to do self care and take me time?
I find it very difficult to be honest! It’s a particularly intense time at the moment (I have a 2 week old, 2.5 year old and 4 year old) so I know self care and me time will take a back seat for a while. Trying to do a small bit of work is very important for me as it’s my creative outlet, and I find it’s important for my mental health to continue this.
What are 5 essentials every woman should have in their wardrobe?
A good pair of jeans, a nice blazer, a nice bag, a good LBD, a nice white shirt!
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Still working with clothes and people, but focusing even more so on sustainability in fashion.
Amazing thank you so much for your Annmarie for your time and really great advice on career and style. I wish you luck for the future Hannah x.