Material Wealth: Jennifer Slattery's new range of shirts and scarves

Photo of Material Wealth: Jennifer Slattery's new range of shirts and scarves

Jennifer Slattery does not claim to be a fashion designer, yet her new shirt designs for women and her unisex Irish scarves suggest otherwise. The designer, who is better known for her beautiful linen tableware, has just launched three shirt styles and a limited collection of scarves, that are all designed and made in Ireland.

Photo of Material Wealth: Jennifer Slattery's new range of shirts and scarves

It doesn’t take a huge leap of the imagination to understand why this textile designer has decided to produce these items of clothing. She has simply started with the materials - with the fabrics that she knows intrinsically and of which she has developed a deep understanding since she founded the Jennifer Slattery brand in 2011.

Photo of Material Wealth: Jennifer Slattery's new range of shirts and scarves

The shirts come in three styles - there’s a feminine embroidered Irish linen and wool design which features bell sleeves and comes in two colours, one of which is embroidered with Jennifer’s Floral Lines pattern. There is also her white, 100 percent linen, shirt which features an abstract Mark Making design on the collar. Both shirts look equally well worn with jeans and trainers, with a skirt and loafers for work or with heels and tailored trousers for evening.

The fabrics in these three shirts was produced by Emblem Weavers in Co. Wexford - a company that is both expert and innovative in terms of the linen fabrics it produces and with whom Jennifer Slattery has worked for the past seven years. The garments are cut and sewn by Jennifer’s manufacturing partners in Dublin’s Portobello, meaning that every aspect of them, from design to fabric to end product, is developed in Ireland.

It’s about using the fabrics with which I am familiar and working with the people and companies that I already work with to produce a beautiful yet practical item of clothing

“I don’t have a fashion background, so in this instance I have worked with a pattern cutter and a tailor to produce the shirts in my collection,” says Jennifer. “We worked through sampling. I knew what I wanted and the shirts have a basic design - the emphasis here is on the fabric and on the embroidery. It’s about using the fabrics with which I am familiar and working with the people and companies that I already work with to produce a beautiful yet practical item of clothing.”

Photo of Material Wealth: Jennifer Slattery's new range of shirts and scarves

The shirts are manufactured in Portobello by a company that Jennifer has worked with for years and then they are embroidered individually in Jennifer’s studio near the Museum of Decorative Arts & History at Collins Barracks in Dublin.

“These shirts are a real wardrobe workhorses and depending on how you wear them they can look great with jeans or also tucked into a skirt or smart trousers. It’s my desire to create things that are practical but also something that has a little bit of detail and an element of quirkiness. They feel really nice on and are machine washable,” says the designer.

Photo of Material Wealth: Jennifer Slattery's new range of shirts and scarves

The shirt designs in charcoal and grey are made from a blend of 50 percent wool and 50 percent linen which is pleasingly warm at this time of year. Jennifer’s Mark Making white shirt then is made with 100 percent linen. “It was really important that the fabrics and the shirts were practical - so they are machine washable. It was also important that the white linen shirt was not see-through so the weight of the fabric was also important,” she says. The shirts come in sizes small, medium and large.

Photo of Material Wealth: Jennifer Slattery's new range of shirts and scarves

Jennifer has also designed a range of beautiful baby blankets which are made by family business McNutt of Co. Donegal and which can be monogrammed by Jennifer in her studio. Her working relationship with McNutt has also led to a new design collaboration with William McNutt, production manager at the McNutt brand and the two have worked together to develop a range of scarves which are now sold through Jennifer’s own website and through various stockists nationwide.

Photo of Material Wealth: Jennifer Slattery's new range of shirts and scarves

“I usually go up to McNutt once a year and work with their Master Weaver sampling and getting to grips with the machines and seeing what can be done," says Jennifer. "It’s wonderful to be on the McNutt factory floor and to figure out what can be done.”

Photo of Material Wealth: Jennifer Slattery's new range of shirts and scarves

“This is my first time working in a truly collaborative fashion with William at McNutt so, while he gave me a good bit of space design-wise, it was also terrific to have his design input and his commercial knowledge,” says Jennifer. “These scarves are limited edition pieces for both men and women which makes them really special but we have kept the price point affordable too."

Photo of Material Wealth: Jennifer Slattery's new range of shirts and scarves

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