We talk to Ashling Kilduff of 'The Design Centre'
As owner of the infamous 'Design Centre' in Powerscourt, very few people know fashion as well as the gorgeous Ashling Kilduff. The Design Centre, which has been one of Ireland's leading fashion boutiques for many years now, is an exciting platform for upcoming and established designers, both Irish and International. This year, the Design Centre are providing the extremely enticing prize of a €7,000 voucher to spend in their store, for the winner of the Hennessy Best Dressed Lady at the Hennessy Gold Cup this weekend! So ahead of this much anticipated racing event at Leopardstown, we caught up with the very lovely Ashling to find out a little more about her fabulous foray into fashion!
Q: When did you first realise that you had a real passion for fashion?
A: I realised I had a passion for fashion when I first began working in Design Centre, I loved seeing the new collections coming in and meeting the designers who created them.
Q: At what point did you decide you wanted to go on and personally continue into the fashion retail side of things?
A: I enjoyed retail straightaway and found I loved all aspects of my job especially meeting customers. I realised very quickly that I was hooked!
Q: Were you always so passionate about Irish design in particular or was this something that grew organically as you became more involved in the industry?
A: My first experience of the fashion industry was solely with Irish designers as The Design Centre at the time was a platform for young Irish designers and graduates a concept that was totally unique at the time.
Q: As you have mentioned, the Design Centre has always been very supportive of Irish fashion labels as well as international ones - do you believe Irish design is well supported in this country or should we be doing more?
A: I think that support for Irish designers has definitely improved, but more can always be done. Production is practically non existent in Ireland which poses huge difficulties particularly for young designers who are just starting out.
Q: Has designer label clothing in general suffered at the hands of the Recession or do you think people are now making wiser choices and considering quality and longevity over flimsy fast fashion choices?
A: Our customers have always known the value of investment buying and tend to come to us at the start of a season to choose pieces that will add to their existing wardrobe. The recession has taught us to listen to what our customer wants more than ever so we have certainly had to fine tune our buying .
Q: It is probably unfair to ask seeing as you are stocking many fabulous labels in your store, but do you have a favourite Irish designer?
A: There are so many talented Irish designers that it is hard to choose but Philip Treacy really stands out as one of my favourite . When a delivery arrives from Philip everyone stops what they are doing to rip open the box - it's like Christmas morning!
Q: You are once again heavily associated with the 'Hennessy Gold Cup' Ladies Day competition and will be a judge on the day - what tips could you give to the 'Hennessy Best Dressed' participants?
A: I am so excited about sponsoring the Hennessy Gold Cup! This really is an amazing event for us to be involved in and every year the fashion bar is definitely raised a little higher. The first tip is an obvious one to dress appropriately for the weather it can really get cold so do cover up! Do wear a hat or headpiece this really finishes your look and lastly be confident - everything looks better when you feel confident.
Q: What are you personally looking for on the day?
A: We are looking for someone who reflects Hennessy's and Design Centre's love of all things stylish , so it's style style style all the way!!!
For more see www.designcentre.ie or www.hennessybestdressed.ie