As many of our regular readers will know, Aisling works with many designers, crafters and artists. As one of our most talented clients who is blazing a trail in the Irish fashion industry, we had to feature the renowned fashion designer Ginan Abbas. A third generation dressmaker, she utilises the skills taught to her by her mother and grandmother. It’s obviously in the genes. Her passion for dressmaking began when she was given her first sewing machine, and she has now over 20 years experience in tailoring and designing stunning dresses, bridal wear, evening gowns and dance costumes. Along the way she has worked with John Rocca and Lennon Courtney (what a pedigree).
Originally from Baghdad in Iraq, Ginan has lived in Ireland for fifteen years now. Having completed courses in screen printing in London, she has used the skills that she learned to execute her stunning designs. She is inspired by nature which features heavily in her work.
An example of this was recently featured on TV3 AM’s Today show with Maura and Daithi. (One of her exquisite dresses can be seen in the picture here – the intricate patterns of the butterfly have to be seen to be believed). What we love about this lady’s work is that it can be worn by anyone. “I want all women to feel beautiful, no matter what their age or size” she says. In the current age this is music to our ears. When the main stream media has us written off (both sexes) at 40, .and over the hill at 30 (female) the pressure is on to look good. The huge growth of the Advanced Style fashion movement (#advancedstyle on Instagram) founded in New York has demonstrated that us older ladies still want style. We don’t just hang up our high heels at 40 (well, maybe the 6 inch ones). Scrolling through Instagram reveals fascinating and extremely well styled ladies in their 70’s, 80’s, and even heading for 100! #goyou. In fact any day you are feeling down ladies, head over and look them because they are inspirational. The latest name to be added to the growing list of disenchanted women include the Lucinda Chambers (ex of British Vogue) who even criticised some of the “crap” magazine cover shoots that she had produced for the magazine (saying the blame lay in part with Vogue’s allegiances to major advertisers). Thank God, we are all waking up to the bullying (frankly) by the fashion industry “you must be 6 feet tall, a size 0 and not over the age of 20 daahhhhling or you simply don’t exist.”
The most unique and wonderful part of Ginan’s work is that the clothing that she creates isn’t designed just to be beautiful for its own sake, but to make the woman wearing it feel beautiful too. ‘There is so much pressure on women to conform to the perfect body shape’ she states. “It doesn’t exist, forget it. All fashion photographs are airbrushed. We are slaves to an image that’s not real”. She doesn’t just talk the talk, her fabulous custom made wedding dresses are all a generous size 12 and upwards. As a designer, she likes to help women celebrate their own shape, ” I believe in making clothes to fit the woman, as opposed to making the woman fit the clothes.”
Ginan has 2 lines, the made to measure and the diffusion lines. The made to measure are mostly made from silk and exquisite raw materials with hand sewn embroidery and beads where appropriate. The diffusion lines are still beautiful but will obviously not be 100% silk. She makes dresses for special occasions and smart casual workwear. ‘I create unique and unusual pieces that will stand out from the norm, which suits the strong woman, I have a lot of professional women clients and female entrepreneurs.” She continues “It allows them to express themselves in the workplace in a clever way.”
As we mentioned, in addition to stunning occasion and evening wear, Ginan also creates magnificent bridal wear. As always, her starting point is the bride and making sure that she looks beautiful while also feeling confident. Her talented bead-working skills are something to behold.
Ginan has also recreated beautiful medieval style lacework for some of her designs. She has even applied her talents to creating costumes for theatre companies and TV dramas.
She has travelled all over the world from China to India to Dubai to ensure that she finds the highest quality material for all of her gowns. Some of her designs were inspired simply by the the beauty of the fabric that she has seen on her travels. If you are of a certain age (like the founder of this company!), you need to check this lady’s work out before everyone finds out about one of Irish design’s best kept secrets.
You are welcome ladies!