Interview: David O’Malley.

Amber Doyle talks influences, style and ambitions with up and coming Irish designer David O’Malley.


A: Did you always want to be a designer?
D: Not always, I guess I never fully knew what I wanted to do to be honest. That was until I was approaching my final few year of school in Chanel College, Coolock. My art teacher at the time really supported me throughout my portfolio, and that then followed through with a portfolio course in Colaiste Ide, Finglas. My Interest was always art-related, but I never considered Design as a practice until the second year at NCAD, when I took a leap from Fashion design to Textile design.



A:What influenced your design for the NCAD fashion show? Have you a certain muse that you look to in order to inspire your work?D:As a textile designer I find I can exploit fabrics by manipulation techniques such as: embellishing, burning, fusing and even creating the fabric itself. My collection mainly focuses on head pieces and body adornment. The collection consists of six head pieces following a narrative based upon various sources which include: history, film, sexuality, paganism and the occult. With my collection, you can expect a range of tactile fabrics ranging from natural to synthetic, such as: heavy leathers, snakeskin and furs as well as unconventional materials of video tape, human hair and beetle wings. For my collection I wanted to make a collection of women’s outfits that could convey a message of power, almost like a warrior. I have a number of muses that help inspire my work which include friends, actors and film. Strong women such as Isabella Blow and Grace Jones heavily inspire my work, but old movie stars such as Joan Crawford and Bette Davis are also muses of mine.

A:Which National and International designers do you admire and why?
D:I have seen the latest work by Erevos Aether and was completely blown away by it. The new collection caters exclusively to women. This season, Erevos Aether focuses on narrative and character with emphases on headpieces and body adornment which really interests me as a designer. Other international designers being of interest include Gareth Pugh and Thierry Mugler.



A:Describe Your Collection.
D:I see my work as an array of timeless pieces that translate into an Avant Garde context at the moment, but as time goes on, and if I were to create a more wearable collection, I would definitely see myself really enjoying doing an A/W collection all year round. As a designer I respond well to materials. Heavy dark wools, leathers, furs being first option so I think that gives me a clear indication.

A:Which celebrity do you admire for their sense of style?
D:George Lamb, in terms of menswear the guy dresses ace. I wish I owned his wardrobe. I also have a huge fondness for Grace Jones and David Bowie

A:Where would you like to see yourself in five years time?
D:It’s scary I admit, just after leaving college into ‘the big bad world’ but everyone has to make plans. I always imagine that if you have a goal go for it and make it happen. Things for me always started out as thoughts or sketches and I worked hard and they became a reality for me. I don’t exactly know what I’ll be doing, but what I do know is that I will still be doing what I am passionate about.


A:Which fashion photographers do you admire?
D:I really enjoy Yasunari Kikuma. He’s a fashion photographer and his work is absolutely pronominal and dramatic. Most recently I have worked with Irish Photographer Alex Hutchinson. His work really has a grasp of the ‘look’ I try to portray in my work through dramatic use of lighting and skills behind the camera.

A:How would you describe your NCAD collection and did you enjoy the fashion show?
D:My collection was the opening of the NCAD fashion show. I wanted to evoke a feeling with my work that would capture the minds of the public. The emotions I wished to evoke were: fear, excitement and energy. My collection consisted of big heavy furs, leathers and showed a transition of subtle colour. The collection is quite dark with main focus on the headpieces. I really enjoyed the fashion show. It had very mixed emotions on the day: half of me was really excited and the other petrified since it was the first time I ever presented to the public, and understandably I wanted everything to go spot on. I feel like once I could do one I could do another hundred of them. It was a very enjoyable experience.

A:What has been your career defining moment so far?
D:Well it has only been a few weeks since the fashion show and nothing life changing has happened, but I have heard word from an Irish band, Young Wonder. The lead singer Rachel has a big interest in headpieces and outfits when performing. She will be wearing one of my outfits for the festival Longitude and I will also be working with the band for future music videos which is really exciting news.

A:How did it feel for your designs to be featured in the likes of Hot Press and The Irish Times online?
D:I felt ecstatic. I am so grateful to see such a response to my work. It really makes me keep pushing forward with more work, even another collection.

Personal Contact Details:

Online portfolio:

Words: Amber Doyle

Photographer:Alex Hutchinson
Model:Sibel Grace Ito @ Distinct Model Management.
MUA: Sj Wai

2 thoughts on “Interview: David O’Malley.

  1. Pingback: Claire Garvey, Fashion Designer. |

  2. Pingback: An Interview with David O’Malley | AMBER LEIGH DOYLE

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