Friday’s Child - Bernie Murphy

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This week’s Friday’s Child is Bernie Murphy, Project Co-ordinator at the Fashion and Textile Design Centre and part-time lecturer at North West Regional College, Derry.

How would you describe yourself?



A ‘social butterfly’, love meeting new people, networking, seeing new things, places and ways of doing things...

Happiest childhood memory?

Our family trip (mammy, daddy, my sisters, Nuala, Ursula, Una and brother Stephen) to Dublin to see my maternal grandparents each summer for our holidays. Visiting the national museums and gallery, the big shops then (Dunnes and Clery’s) and not forgetting the zoo too! Back then you had to travel through each town enroute which took much longer than travelling nowadays. My brother Stephen would always ask, ‘How much longer? Are we nearly there yet?’ Daddy used to give us each a colour to count how many cars of that colour we would meet on the road and the competition distracted us on our journey.

What was your first job?

My first job was waitressing at the Inishowen Gateway Hotel, Buncrana, formerly known as the White Strand Motor Inn. It was hard work but we had great fun! The real advantage to working there was you got in free to the disco downstairs on a Friday and Sunday night.

Favourite book?

I have a few... ‘Shocking!: The Art and Fashion of Elsa Schiaparelli’ by Dilys E. Blum -a broad look at the work of Italian born fashion designer Schiaparelli, living and working in Paris. I had the opportunity to see her work at the Musée de la Mode et du Textiles, Paris some time ago. The Paris Wife’ by Paula McLain captures a wonderful period of time in Paris in the 1920s, the love affair between Ernest Hemingway and his wife Hadley – and the lives of Gertrude Stein, Ezra Pound, F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald. A great read.

Favourite film?

I love light hearted/romantic films... Recently I went to see ‘The Intern’ with my mother and daughter, it shows that the young fast movers don’t know it all and that sometimes good old fashioned know-how and etiquette still have a place in business and society today!

Favourite television programme?

When I watch TV it’s usually period dramas as I love looking at the costume design. Most recent was ‘Downtown Abbey’ and ‘Velvet’ on Netflix.

Favourite expression?

What goes around comes around!

Favourite method of relaxation?

I enjoy walking especially on the shores of Lough Swilly near my home with Caleb (our Boxer dog). Invigorating, even in the rain, hail or snow! Listening to the sounds of nature and meeting new people. Another is escaping to my studio to design and create prototypes for my own capsule collections.

Favourite holiday destination?

My personal favourite has to be Tuscany, Italy. You have the best of both worlds, the quiet of the beautiful countryside and/or visit the historic cities. As well as that, there’s poor mobile phone and Internet reception so you lose contact with the real world and do have a relaxing holiday in the sun!

Who would you most like to meet?

Fashion Designer - Coco Chanel. She was quoted saying, “Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street, fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening.” I just wonder what she would think of some of the fashion world in the 21st century!

What has been the most embarrassing thing to happen to you?

When I was a lot younger, I ran up behind a woman who I thought was a very good friend that I hadn’t seen in a while and put my hands over her eyes and said, ‘Guess who?’ Her reply wasn’t the welcoming friendly one I was expecting! I still blush all these years later...

What is your greatest fear?

Public speaking but dealing with it is my new year resolution. Any tips for me?

What has been the high point of your life to date?

The graduations of my daughter Bria and son Frank-Aran from university. In my professional life I’d say winning Most Innovation Product at The Craft Awards 2015 as part of the Craft Development Programme funded by Derry City Council and getting selected for Irish Fashion Innovation Awards 2015.

What is your most treasured possession?

The printed photographs of memories I shared with my friends and family. And of course I’m not forgetting my sewing machine!

If you won the lotto what would you do with it?

Go on a holiday of a lifetime and decide how I’m going to share it out when I get back!

If you could be granted one wish in life, what would you ask for?

Health and happiness. Is that two?

If you could write your own epitaph what would it be?

“I lived... I loved... I laughed/cried... and I thoroughly enjoyed the journey!”