Derry fashion brand Amach launching new 'Riot' collection

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In the old Rosemount shirt factory there is still a collection of creatives creating clothes, telling their story through fashion. Amach is a fashion brand started by Liam McDaid, and the Journal sat down with him to chat about their new line and fashion.

If you haven’t heard about Amach before they describe themselves on their website like this: “Amach focuses on storytelling as a brand with strong cultural and social commentary throughout. Formulating memories of the past with current life experiences to create subversive and thought-provoking designs. High design, attention to detail and an emphasis on ethical fabrics and production are the pillars on which the brand is built.

"Amach is the vehicle and the voice of Liam McDaid to express what he thinks about politically and socially. for this reason, the design process begins with the story before taking on a life of its own.”

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The Journal asked Liam McDaid, its owner how he would describe his brand.

Liam McDaid sitting at Amach desk by Jack TIbbettsLiam McDaid sitting at Amach desk by Jack TIbbetts
Liam McDaid sitting at Amach desk by Jack TIbbetts

“It’s taken me almost five years to figure out what it is, it’s my take on cultural commentary, I take things that I like, people I admire or look up to. In a sense it is curated cultural commentary. It’s basically story striven, inspired by true events. The fashion itself is my vehicle to talk about things that matter to me culturally, socially, politically.”

Derry has a growing fashion industry, so what’s it like growing your own fashion brand?

"It's about marketing, the quality has to be there, if you can’t market yourself, especially in today's world… Marketing isn't my forte, totally honest, that's where I struggle. I’m the wrong generation for that, Instagram was hard enough to get my head around, when I was growing up the first social media I was exposed to was Facebook.

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“To be fair we have only actually started pushing the brand in the last six months. The designs are what I look after,” Liam says.

Amach Riot collection hanging up. By Jack Tibbetts.Amach Riot collection hanging up. By Jack Tibbetts.
Amach Riot collection hanging up. By Jack Tibbetts.

But social media content can also be a source of inspiration.

"There's a brilliant social media post, it's Tom Waits reading a Bukowski poem,” Liam says. “I loved it so much so I said I'm going to do something with that and I actually did.”

Derry and the North is a political hotspot, and is woven into the fabric in our society. Amach is no exception.

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Liam says: “I am a political person but that doesn’t mean I’m actively seeking out anything controversial. The new collection is called ‘riot’, it's not a glorification of anything that might have happened in the past. It's my story, the 90s is what I remember. I remember the eight years from 1990 to 1998 (Good Friday Agreement). I remember the checkpoints, I remember the riots, I remember the bomb scares. But I had a good time, a riot was exciting, we were only wains. We didn't know any better.

Photo shoot of Amach Riot line. By Joseph HamiltonPhoto shoot of Amach Riot line. By Joseph Hamilton
Photo shoot of Amach Riot line. By Joseph Hamilton

"This is my take on what I seen. It's my take, I didn't seek that out. A story came to my head when I was growing up. We were passing through a checkpoint one time. It felt benign and didn't scare me at the time, we approached a checkpoint, with my Da, we were going to get a poke. A soldier tapped his gun on the window. My Da put his window down and they took him out and searched the car. No reason or justification for it. When I thought about it years later, I've two wains myself, it's mental doing something like that. That and loads of different experiences is why I wanted to tell that story.

"The name of the collection Riot- it has dual meaning, the Raf Simons collection from 2001 is called ‘Riot Riot Riot’, my favourite collection of any designer ever. His is more about youth culture, Mines is about rioting.”

Amach was recently featured on a Catwalk as Liam explains: "It happened in Manchester, it was based around brands that try to be more sustainable, I try my best to be as sustainable as possible. We are doing our best to be as sustainable as possible. We make a lot to order so there isn't any waste. We showcased the new collection which went down really well, a lot people loved the you are now entering free Derry.”

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We asked Liam to comment on the other fashion brands in Derry.

“I be chatting to the ‘storefront lads’ fairly often, we did a show with them last year. We are so different. Han* is doing brilliant things, I have a lot of admiration for them all.”

Looking towards the future Liam said he is getting more comfortable with the stories I want to tell. When the Riot collection drops it’s not meant to offend people, it's just a story and I'd rather tell it. It’s a small team, my dream is too grow it. Joseph Hamilton, he does all the social media, really talented videographer. Hannah Duffy does screen printing, helps me with the production of the collections.I seek out both their advices on terms of design, what do they like.“My first and foremost thing is to secure everybody's job here. I want the brand to grow enough so I can pay people's wages, give them a good quality of life, and go a few holidays a year. Having a nice income, being creative that's what Amach really is to me.”

Amach also have a pop up store this Saturday in Atelier hair salon in Ebrington.

If you want to have a look at Amach’s new line you can find them here

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