Danielle Romeril’s four-word Twitter biography reads simply, ‘fashion designer, poor speller’ but the thousand plus word email exchanged between Clash and the Irish designer would suggest only one of these is true.
A graduate of the Limerick School of Art and Design and later London’s Royal College of Art, Danielle Romeril the label was born in 2012, though her initial design inclinations were executed at the mercy of a whole other intention.
“You heard about that?” she laughs, presumably. “I was a very stubborn, headstrong teenager and if I wanted to go out and get into a particular pub or club it was going to happen. School was fine, but it was the place I had to be between 9am and 4pm, I felt my life happened outside those walls and that inside it I was just ticking the boxes.”
The result of such characteristics meant that with the help of her mum and friend (and now jewellery designer) Merle O’Grady – plus the guidance of a pattern-cutting book – Danielle produced what she describes as “my first proper garment.”
“I had sort of sussed that while I, at age 15, loved my denim jacket, women in Uni or in their early 20s wore proper coats in winter. So I needed a proper coat – but still something cool that was going to get me into those over 21s places I wanted to go to.”
The method worked, she got in. Moreover it (eventually) led to her AW14 inclusion in NEWGEN, the BFC run Topshop sponsored scheme offering young designers financial and industry support.
Next to names like Marques ’ Almeida, Simone Rocha and Ryan Lo, Danielle’s was the evident newbie of the bunch, picked up not off the back of Fashion East like so many of her contemporaries (itself no bad thing of course), but following three collections of her own doing.
“It was and is a pretty big deal, something I had always wanted to achieve but sort of never thought would happen. After many rounds of applications and a massively overwhelming interview with an 18+ panel, one day you just receive a little email in your inbox and that’s it. You’re in the club!”
“The club,” she continues, “that has produced so many monstrous talents in the last decade plus.”
As well as the club’s spokeswoman (by way of her BFC Ambassador for Emerging Talent and Chair of NEWGEN selection committee titles), Sarah Mower confirming they were “really really excited to have her”, Romeril’s NEWGEN turn at London Fashion Week proved fruitful further afield, with the label picking up two new “amazing” international stockists.
“I am not sure those buyers would have even looked at the label without the NEWGEN seal of approval,” she confirms of the experience, “I guess people just pay you more attention and are more receptive to your work and ideas.”
To Clash’s eye it would seem said ideas become cleaner and clearer in their aesthetic with each season. While AW14 – showcased above – is all black, white and green, transparent and straight, SS13 was more pattern-led, as well as embracive of laser cut leathers and studs.
“I guess I hadn’t thought of it like that,” is the response, “it certainly isn’t a conscious thing. Who knows what’s coming next season?! I like to surprise as a designer, but my work is not premeditated in any particular way.”
For AW14 her work followed the nostalgic route, with lenticular printed plastics – stuff of teenage holidays – guiding the way. The outcome however is inherently modern, the waterproof plastics suggestive almost of the future.
The accompanying video mind – the co-creation of director and writer Jamie Delaney – reeks of the past and all the rose tinted reality that brings; intended as a “non ‘fashion’ fashion film”, the result is an exact visualisation of this, the clothes (while remarkable in themselves), enhancing the narrative that plays out.
“Both Jamie and I are Irish but work mainly in London, so we thought it would be nice to bring something Irish to the mix: a point of difference. Jamie didn’t want to work with models, he wanted the attitude and relaxedness that street casting brings so that’s what we did.”
All this just ten days ahead of fashion week, the pair worked instinctively from concept to shoot (in her boyfriend’s childhood home) to screening. “I only work with people whose personalities match their work, they have to be as great in person as their work is on paper,” she lets on of the process’s success.
And the Danielle Romeril girl, how would she identify her? “She’s vibrant, youthful and likes to have fun. She dresses for herself – not her boyfriend. She’s quietly confident but at parties she’s dancing.”
Words: Zoe Whitfield
Look book photography: Andrew Nuding
In Dublin? Tropical Popical hosts a Danielle Romeril sample sale today and tomorrow. Details here.