November Post: Edel MacBride

Edel MacBride is a gifted Irish knitwear designer who combines creative knits with her cultural heritage to create beautifully crafted clothing.

I have known and worked with many of the greats in design around the world and I can honestly say Edel MacBride is a designer with no sense of inflated fashion ego. She is a natural giver of knowledge and an innovator, wanting to elevate traditional knitting techniques and handcraft to a new level for the modern era. People like her are rare and to be cherished. She is an amazing family woman, an amazing designer who is adaptable to new ideas and an amazing friend.

Edel comes from a family of knitters and began knitting Aran pieces for her siblings from a young age. Growing up in the North of Ireland, it is easy to see how Edel was influenced by the Aran hand-knitting cottage industry surrounding her. In fact, it is her grandmother’s dress making business that she credits with her formative years of learning. Edel went on to study fashion at the Limerick School of Art and Design and it was here that her talent was spotted by designer Paul Costelloe for whom she worked with. After working with Paul Costelloe and then Donegal Yarns she set up her own knitwear business. During this period, Edel began to grow her business skills and undertook the difficult task of working at Neiman Marcus in Boston while studying an entrepreneurship programme at Boston College. Upon returning, she now manages her label and has forged strong relationships throughout the knitwear industry as a freelance designer.

 

New knit designs by Edel MacBride, modelled by Faye Dinsmore. Photographer: Ian McDevitt and stylist: Anna West.

I love Edel’s work as it is genuine handmade Irish craft something that is not seen as much nowadays. In my opinion Edel makes the best Aran sweater. What impresses me the most is that she is open to fashion related ideas. Her work is always relevant, creating modern exciting pieces while valuing traditional technique. Her use of colour and her eye for style makes her collection truly unique.

Her talent has won her many awards and television appearances, including RTE Nationwide, BBC Clothes show and being a show mentor on RTE 1 series Craftmaster. Her work has also been sold to or worn by Hillary Clinton, both Irish Lady Presidents and actresses Sarah Jessica Parker, Jane Seymour, Olivia Newton John.

 

Vogue Paris November 2018 cover featuring a mohair hand knit jumper by Edel for Michael Kors.

Aside from designing and managing her own products Edel started the brand ‘Knitfield’, which runs workshops, craft tours and sells original content patterns and designs for knit and crochet. The idea of ‘Knitfield‘ is to focus on developing contemporary product and workshops to share skills and inspire others. I think this is a brilliant idea and is clearly a success as she has hosted international textile tours across Norway and the USA (2014 – 2018). Furthermore, she continues to develop connections through her knitting summer school work with Milwaukee Summer School (2014-2018).

 

 

 

Edel MacBride brings a love of textile, craft and a deep connection to cultural tradition. Edel has a showcase shop at the Craft Village in Derry city, managed by her daughter Emma, full of handknits and wool.