In these truly difficult times in Ireland, most of our young designer talent has left our emerald shores for the bright lights of London. It is so great to see an indigenous Irish artisan label like Bonzie Designs basing themselves in Ireland and thriving. Bonzie Designs was created by designer duo Bonzie Crotty and her Aunt Ger. Bonzie's design studio is based in their hometown of Waterford city where they also have a shopfront selling their amazing neo Victorian designs. They create bespoke pieces, bridal wear and fabulous accessories like hats and shrugs and neckpieces.They have many Irish clients but have a huge following in the US too with Courtney Love being a huge fan. Their romantic Victorian design aesthetic is proving to set them apart. Originally selling online on their Etsy shop they now have an amazing website and online shop Bonzie Designs
Here is little interview I did with Bonzie xx
Were you were always creative ?
Very much so, I was the kid who got crayon's for Christmas! Storybooks and art supplies. I never played with dolls, although I used to create ball gowns for my sisters dolls out of old curtains, so I guess it was a sign of things to come!
Who inspired you and led to you studying fashion design?(a person, a designer etc)
I always wanted to go to art college from a very young age. My father was an artist and I was always following in his footsteps. It wasn't until I went to NCAD and discovered the fashion department that I really felt a clear direction and affinity with textiles and design. I was hooked from day one! Ger, my fabulous business partner ( and Auntie, but the least said about that the better!) was also a very hands on crafty child also. I can remember visiting my Nan's as a child and Ger showing me all sorts of quirky craft projects to keep me entertained. We both went in the same direction in our careers and combined our skills in 2008 to form the label known today as Bonzie Designs
You have a very particular design aesthetic, did you always design this way or did you ever experiment with other styles?
I think we were always inspired by days gone by and the passage of time. That nostalgic romance in clothing and design. We are both very keen on the Victorian period and it heavily influences our work today.
Who is your perfect client?
I think bonzie clients are courageous, brave and individual. Someone who likes to inject a bit of theatre into their wardrobe. We love a bit of eccentricity in our clients, it's what we are all about!
Do you find your veering more towards specialising in bridal wear, your bridal designs seem very popular?
We initially set up our label online and our largest client base was in the US. We had no idea that there was such a big bridal market online and it just happened organically that we became quite well known for our signature Victorian inspired silk boleros and wraps. It's the main stay of our online business to date however since then we have broadened our horizons into a number of other avenues and it all helps to keep the label well rounded. We are currently working on an exciting new range of ready to wear and this is a nice departure from the bolero/bridal work. We found that as our fan base grew we didn't have much to offer the gals who were not heading down the aisle per say so the new collection is a direct response tot he demand of our customers.
What's on your agenda for the coming year?
We are heading to the RDS in Jan 2012 to launch our first ready to wear collection. Incredible combo of ruffled tunics, lace pantaloons, tattered corsetry and statement necklaces all in our signature time worn aesthetic. It's a feast of lace, linen, beading, appliques, vintage trims etc. We are very excited about it. We have also recently begun a new partnership with a US mail order catalogue called Victorian Trading Co. A stunning brand that offer quirky Victorian and vintage inspired work around the US. It's our biggest contract to date and we are really chuffed to be working with them and sending our work abroad.
What do you hope to achieve in your career?
I personally feel that design and fashion is an incredibly difficult industry to break into and also a tough environment to make a living, unless you are at the top of the food chain. It's our aspiration that Bonzie will become an artisan producer of quirky vintage inspired clothing and accessories both here and abroad and both Ger and I will continue to work in our dream job and develop the brand.We have just recently moved into our new studio in the heart of the Viking Triangle development here in Waterford City so it's been a really exciting year with lots of opportunities in the near future. We are both very positive individuals so the current economic climate has really forced us to explore every opportunity and way forward that we can possibly find.