The Cream of Fashion at Flax – Mill

The annual fashion show at Derrylane Flax – Mill outside Dungiven has become a trend – setting event in recent years with visitors from all corners of the world attending.

With the incorporation of the show into the mill’s Open Day in September, last year saw a totally booked out marquee in the mill gardens, the organisers had to turn a number of people away.

If one goes by “what’s on offer” for September 8th, 2018 Ireland’s “only really alternative cat-walk” (so called by German newspaper “Unsere Zeit”) is going to grow even more – by profile as well as by attending numbers.

The owner of County Derry’s only active linen-weaving mill, Marion Baur – her own designs make for the centre piece of the showing – is just back from Berlin. As every year she introduced the Flax – Mill – Open – Day and especially the fashion show to a capacity crowd of media – people at her outlet in the German capital.

“The interest in our event is huge; especially the European journalists are very keen on reporting. This is probably due to the increased interest in linen which we observed at the major fashion events like Paris, Frankfurt and Milan” she said.

If one looks at the special guest – designers who will have an input into this year’s show, the list reads like a “who is who” in top-fashion-design:

  • Chris Tyndall is showing the “Belfast Jacket”!

Known world-wide for his men’s accessories, the owner of Loft Trading has hit it big with the jacket which he manufactures from pure Irish Linen and from wool. Both fabrics have been made at the Flax – Mill. Marion Baur has been fascinated with the project right from the start: “Chris uses design – elements of historic work – wear worn in Belfast and has managed to turn them into one of the finest casual garments ever to come from these shores. We are quite honoured that he will put the jacket on show here in September.”

  • Maria Cárdenas

    Maria Cárdenas is supplying an outfit for the first time! The 3rd generation tailor from Colombia with a base in County Down who had her work shown all over the world uses Irish Linen as one of her favourite materials. In 2016 when the Colombian president came to Belfast as part of his state-visit she was asked by City Hall to make a present for him. She manufactured a white “Guayabera shirt” from Irish Linen. Pictures of the amazing garment (the inspiration was taken from the shirts worn by the negotiators in the Colombian peace – process) went around the globe.

Maria Cardenas: “I’m very pleased to take part in the Flax – Mill event and use their expertly woven linen.”

  • Fiona Smyth is creating a dress for the show!

The owner of the Tea & Madeleine label was born on the outskirts of Lisburn studied at the London College of Fashion and is now working in Limerick. Her creations, usually inspired by vintage patterns and prints, are highly rated all over the globe and her attitude suits Flax – Mill’s way of producing:

“By keeping the entire manufacturing cycle for the garments in Europe, I am able to rely on a community of local weavers, dyers and finishers who can guarantee us the highest level of quality….”

  • Georg Bünger, highly qualified tailor from Berlin spent time in Ireland earlier this year, doing work – experience at Wm Clarks in Upperlands. He fell in love with “Earthed” (Clark’s digitally printed linen) and made a one – off jacket from one of the fabrics. Whilst Georg can’t be at the Open Day, Duncan Neil, creative director at Clarks is supplying the jacket to be shown for the first time.

Marion Baur is extremely pleased with the input by such high-profile designers:

“It shows that our fabrics are well received in the design-world and it also speaks for our audience: A gathering of textile-workers, designers and lovers of good and ethically clean textiles like at our Open Day is unique on these shores and we like to open the event for designers who work with our cloth.”

The additional garments – Marion and her colleague Liz Corrigan are showing 10 creations from their own production – and influx of top-designers are “hard work” for this year’s models, Marion and her team are aware of this:

Fiona Baur

“We have bent backwards to bring the best, most natural and fit models onto the cat walk this time. Whilst my daughter Fiona and our extremely popular male model Tony Hiley from Lisburn are returning, newcomers Heather Cammock from Belfast and the young beauty Annie Press from Portaferry will be up to the job and, together with a couple of surprise guests, make the 2018 fashion show as memorable as previous ones.

The mill – owner urges people who are interested to attend to book even at this early stage: 

“The 8th of September is a good bit away but this is going to be a completely packed event. We try to accommodate every visitor at the Open Day but for the actual fashion show which is only happening once at 1 pm, people must let us know they want to take part. The list is very long at this stage and will soon be closed.”

Marion has often been asked about a larger venue for the ever growing show but declines:

“Our creations go all over the world as does the linen we make. The first showing has to be here at the mill where our energy, our sweat and the long hours were put in, anything else isn’t good enough.”

To book their place for the fashion show, people can ring the mill: (0044) 2877742655 or mail:

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