Headbands are the trend of 2019! And the Queen of headbands is undoubtedly Aisling Kavanagh!
Aisling came to our attention when we noticed some of Ireland’s top influencers sporting incredibly beautiful headbands. All of Aisling’s headbands are hand-embellished and take hours to create. We just know that Blair Waldorf would be Aisling’s No.1 fan!
We chatted to Aisling to find out why she loves creating headbands and what she thinks the key trends are for the debs this year…
How did you get into design?
I just recently graduated from Grafton Academy of Fashion Design where I learned the value of good design principles, the importance of the right cut, and the quality of the finish.
I’ve worked with fantastic designers and mentors such as Umit Kutluk, Paul Costelloe and Jill de Burca. I was also very lucky to have my tutor Colin Atkinson, from Grafton Academy, who taught me the skill, knowledge and encouraged me to express myself creatively within design. From these wonderful people I learned about the primacy of the customer, how the fashion industry works, and the importance of relationships within the industry.
What made you focus on designing headbands?
For me I’ve been making hair accessories for as long as I can remember; when I was little making little floral wreath crowns and bows for my hair. So it was a natural progression.
I like to work with beautiful things to enhance their inner and outer beauty, and to make the customer feel special.
What’s your creative process like?
I just work from home in a small room in the house that is like Aladdin’s cave with ribbons, beading and fabrics galore. I start every morning at around 8:30. Sometimes I sketch it out first, what way I want the hairband to look, and other times I just immerse myself in making the hairbands. It takes about 5/6 hours depending on the amount of embellishment.
The couture range of hairbands, take roughly 10-12 hours to make and the time just runs away with me, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. You need a lot of patience sewing but I’m so lucky to be doing something that I love and I’m passionate about as it gives me satisfaction when the piece is complete.
When it comes to customising, what are the factors you consider?
I make customized pieces for many of my customers. Brides, wedding guests and race goers. It’s high season so I’m working around the clock!
The process begins with the customer – they would normally send me an image of their outfit, looking at the colours, their accessories, shoes, bag etc. and we work from there, creating a bespoke hairband that they can keep forever. It also makes it special for them as they get to be part of the process and it’s so rewarding to see they love it so much.
How has social media helped build your brand?
Social media is such an incredible platform for small businesses like myself, to get the name out there. I have customers coming from the UK, the States and Australia, and I just never imagined that could be possible and it’s all down to social media and word of mouth.
Through social media I’ve gotten incredible opportunities to showcase my designs. I recently made haute couture pieces for a showcase over in London with the Irish designer Umit Kutluk where I used his couture fabrics and embellishment to make ornate headpieces and they took about 10/12 hours to make. It was such a pinch me moment to see my designs on the models at the show and I got a lot of positive feedback and exciting things for the future.
Who are your inspirations in the fashion/design industry?
I find loads of different things inspire me. The people I meet, the places I go, and the things I do. I’m always reading up fashion blogs, magazines, scrolling through Instagram to get inspiration. I also love to be surrounded by creatives like myself where we can bounce ideas off each other, and encourage one another.
What advice would you give to anyone hoping to get into design?
Design is such a broad industry, so try find your niche within it. It’s also a tough industry to get into that requires a lot of hard work, dedication and consistency. If you’re up for the challengeas, cliche as it sounds, just go for it. Become knowledgable in the field you want to get into. I find internships are key – you get to see what it’s like to work in a fast paced fashion environment, you see how the real industry works, and you learn skills that you can take with you for the future.
As I said before social media is such an incredible platform to get your name out there – use that to your advantage. Put up beautiful images of your designs, be consistent and always think of the next best thing. Hopefully you will then start to see results and get the recognition you deserve.
What trends do you think are big this Debs season?
I feel that everyone is very open to exploring different trends and willing to try pops of colour that they would not normally wear. This season’s colour is coral. They are also conscious of taking the opportunity to show their individual sense of style and what suits them. The trend on the catwalks of SS19 was large puff sleeves, bold shoulders and embellishment so I feel that could possibly filter down to Debs season. As we are more conscious of our environment I feel people are thinking more about upcycling an outfit by changing the look to suit the occasion. How fun would it be to get your mom’s old debs dress and get creative by changing the shape and style; adding different beading and embellishment, expressing your personality. At least then there’s a story behind the dress.
How can readers purchase one of your headbands?
At the moment people can purchase my designs through my instagram @aislingkavanagh_
If you’re looking for something super special for your debs that you’ll always have, check out Aisling’s incredible headbands.
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What do you think of the headband trend?