A Derry design for life

Fashion designer Karen Coyle. 2001JM70
Fashion designer Karen Coyle. 2001JM70

A Derry woman is hoping to break into the world of couture and take the fashion world by storm with her fresh and exciting homegrown design brand.

Karen Coyle, from Galliagh, moved back to the city six months ago after graduating from the prestigious Fashion course at the University of Salford in Manchester.

Since then her designs have featured on numerous catwalks across the North West and are set to make an impression at a number of high fashion shows in Belfast in the coming months. The name for Karen’s brand, De Lanco, was inspired by a fond childhood memory.

“I don’t know why, but when I was younger my dad used to call me Delaney,” says Karen. “So the name for the brand is a colloboration between Delaney and Coyle.”

Karen’s high fashion designs have been showstoppers at recent events and the feedback has been glowing, but in the cut and thrust of the fashion industry, the glamour side of things is only a tiny part of the job, as she explains.

“There really is so much work involved, and people don’t always see that. When I was at college in Manchester there were days where we started at nine in the morning and finished at midnight and with spending money on high quality fabrics and trying to get your work noticed, it was really really tough at points. There were weeks when I had £7 left to buy groceries with, so it’s far from the glamorous world that people think it is.”

With her studies now completed, Karen’s hoping to follow in the footstep of her own design heroes and emulate couture names like Balmain and Gareth Pugh and describes her own clothes as being on the more spirited end of the fashion scale.

“My work isn’t specifically Spring Summer or Autumn Winter, it’s specifically for people who want to connect with it. My own personal idea of high fashion is that designs are products of personal discovery through topics you are interested in at a certain time through controversial or lighthearted. My work is composed of structural silhouettes with intricate detailing made from quality fabrics. The identity of De Lanco is about accentuating the female form, experimenting with texture, angles, panneling and unusual and quirky detail.”

Karen’s excited about the prospect of being home for Derry’s year as City of Culture and is hoping to capitalise on the year to further the De Lanco name.

“I really hope that with more people here this year it will be a chance to let people know that Derry has some new and exciting brands that are beginning to emerge and 2013 will be a good chance to showcase that.”

The Galliagh Park designer says she’ll definitely travel further afield if the work isn’t available here.

“My dream is to have De Lanco recognised as a brand all over the world, That would be amazing,” says Karen.

“If things don’t pick up here at home I’ll look at moving to Dubai or Milan and give things a try there. But first, the plan is to put my designs on show closer to home and let people know of the rich talent there is in Derry when it comes to the fashion and textile industry.”

For more information on Karen’s brand, visit. http://www.facebook.com/pages/De-Lanco/175989412538492?ref=ts&fref=ts