Interview: Natalie B Coleman - Irish Fashion Designer

Did you always want to be a designer and did you ever study a course on it?

I had Fashion Wheel when I was small, and I was slightly obsessed with dressing up. I always wanted to do something creative, but I did not know exactly which direction I wanted to move into, until I moved to London when I was 17. 

I studied Fashion in the Limerick School of Art and Design in Ireland and then Central St.Martins in London, on the MA course there.

Who/what influences your designs, do you have a specific muse for each collection?

Stories are my main inspirations and the people, moods that surround me. I like to tell a narrative through my collections and create in my head an imaginary girl who lives through the story of the clothes.
But I can be influenced by anything... Prison Cell Block H, country music, films, dance, bingo nights.... I am in love with the two Eddies from the 1970s Documentary 'Grey Gardens', they are always in the back of my mind.

What is your favourite piece of clothing to design and why?
I don't really have a favourite piece to design, it's more getting a rush when what you see in your head begins to become real, so it can be anything. I love my Autumn/Winter 11/12 collection, which I am just finishing and really excited about, It is called 'All The Jewellery I Never Got'.

What designers do you currently like and who do you think will be big for 2011?
I admire lots of designers all for different reasons, but right now I absolutely love Una Burke's gorgeous leather studded hand bags, so I think they will be really huge in 2011.

The illustrations of the t-shirts of your 'Damaged Goods' collection are fantastic, do you draw them yourself?
Yes, they were inspired by a story of Love gone wrong, a little whimsical and delicate but also with humor.

Do you think it's important for women the express their individuality through the clothes they wear, and how important is that you?

I think women do it naturally anyway. I really believe that a dress can change your day or the outcome of it. For me, I absolutely express my moods through clothes and although I have a distinct ''Natalie'' Style, I think I play with a lot of different influences.
 I believe most women do this as there are so many depths of layers to our lives, it is a very clever and useful way to tell people what we wish to or not about ourselves. It is interesting to play with roles.

What celebrities's style do you admire and could you see any particular celebrity wearing your pieces?
I like Yolandi Yisser from Die Antwoord and also Chan Marshall, I would love to dress either of them. I think Kate Moss would look great in the over sized Illustrated Silk Vests.

If you had to give advice to a beginner in the fashion industry, what would it be?
I would just say to keep taking in influences from everywhere and spend a lot of time in College in the Library, as with good research you never know where your ideas can lead to and also it's fashion - you've got to be having fun with it. 

What 5 trends should we be keeping any eye on for Summer 2011?
I don't really follow trends but my Orange and Pink Silk layered Skirt that is out for Spring/Summer '11 is really in right now, and also the Illustrated Triple Silk Georgette T shirts and Racer back Vests are great pieces that can be worn right through into next season. I think there is a leaning towards buying pieces that have something a little more special and original. I also really believe in more ethically produced clothing, I think you really need to have a conscience with Fashion whether as a designer or a buyer.

For more information on Natalie Coleman, visit her website here: