Irish Designer Sarah O’ Rourke from Ashbourne in Co. Meath has been crowned Milliner of the Year 2019 in The Cointreau Histyle Awards.

The Awards were held in The Clayton Silver Springs Hotel in Cork on November 23rd 2019. With 182,593 votes cast for the 2,215 nominees, 44 of those nominees became winners on the night.

Sarah is absolutely thrilled at the result, it is certainly another achievement to add to her growing CV.

Sarah is an Irish Milliner who has built her business Saraden Designs from the ground up since 2016. She has an extensive background having received a degree from IADT Dun Laoghaire in Visual Arts Practice Sculpture. Her work is often referred to as pieces of wearable art, which is a term she openly welcomes. Sarah firmly believes “there is a millinery design to suit everyone you just have to find the right creation to suit you”.

Sarah has a unique selling point: all the fabric used in her designs has been handmade by Sarah and is called Saraden Fabric. This is very much Sarah’s niche and is what sets her apart from other milliners. In 2019 Sarah became part of Fashion Revolutions Sustainable Fashion, and the fabric cut-offs from each design are reworked into other designs, meaning there is no waste. The line of production can also be traced, as it is all done in-house by Sarah herself.

Saraden Designs has had collections on the runways of London Fashion Week, Belfast Fashion Week, Fashion Revolution Ireland and has had pieces exhibited in Palma Mallorca, Dorset, Birmingham, London, The Netherlands, Dublin and Cork. She has also had support from her local AIB and Credit Union Branches and exhibited alongside them to promote local businesses.

On 10th November 2019 Sarah presented a 10-piece clothing and Millinery collection called Oceanic Nature on the runway of Leicester Fashion Week in the Mercure Leicester, The Grand Hotel.

Oceanic Nature is a combination of the ocean and nature. Sarah began to look at the words separately and examined the physics, chemistry and biology of marine systems before designing began to understand the movement of the sea and the elements below the water. Nature can be interpreted in many ways, the nature of the ocean, its creatures, the movements and the nature that surround us in everyday life.

The colours of the ocean and the colours of nature are very similar. Both use blues, greens, greys and these were the primary colours chosen to use in this collection. Saraden’s bespoke fabric were used to create each design and then sculpted into the desired designs. Each piece is an intricate piece of art and captures the elements of the theme.

Sarah created her bespoke dresses to complement the designs. They are simple yet elegant keeping the focus on her millinery designs. The setting for the imagery ties into the nature theme, the colours in the foreground and background complement each other. The structure of the scenery lends similar qualities to the interpretation of Oceanic Nature.

You can find more of Sarah’s work at www.saradendesigns.com