Designers To Watch Out For: Maria-Christina McPadden

I had the pleasure of meeting Maria-Christina McPadden while I was visiting Ireland. An innovative and up and coming designer, Maria-Christina has worked with Louise Kennedy in Dublin, Viktor and Rolf in Amsterdam, Mary Katrantzou in London and Yigal Azrouel, New York, giving her designs a creative and international touch. Check out her website to see more of her amazing work:

First off tell me a bit about yourself:

I’m a 27-year-old fashion designer specializing in knitwear design and I'm half Irish, half Ecuadorian!

How did you get your start in the fashion industry?

I was always very interested in art; I went to Limerick School of Art and Design and there I realized I enjoyed the combination of both art and design and the idea of working with textiles.

Where did you study?

I did my first year in L.S.A.D Limerick and then decided to go up North to Belfast to the University of Ulster, where they offered a combined knitwear and fashion design course. I am currently doing a Masters degree in Italy called CKD, the degree focuses on knitwear through the Accademia Costume & Moda, which is aimed at young designers and professionals.

What is your favourite piece in your own closet right now?

Hmmm…I'd have to say that it’s a second hand Aran knit sweater that I bought from the Wells for Zoà charity shop my friend helps out at...I'd say I've had it for at least 3 years and live in it.

Do you have a favorite piece you've designed/made? (If so why?)

I was working on a small knitwear collection last year based on my grandmother; I embroidered one of her sketches onto it so perhaps that. There is a lot of hand beading on the piece so I really enjoyed making the garment.

Who are some of your favourite fashion designers (and why)?

I would have to say the top three are:

1. Haider Ackermann, for his use of fabric and the way his garments are draped. His designs have an incredible sense of elegance and flow.

2. John Galliano for his eccentricity and theatrical energy that can be seen throughout his work.

3. Delpozo, while still being wearable they combine couture techniques with a modern sensibility to create unique voluminous pieces.

What inspires you?

Literally could be anything. I usually start from one concept or idea from art, nature or a story, or person. I keep sketchbooks for each new project…sort of like a giant brainstorm and pick out pages or ideas I would like to develop. The research part of designing is one of my favourite parts!

Are you working for a designer right now? (Where are you working?)

Nope I am currently in a small town in Italy, Correggio surrounded by knitwear factories! :) I previously worked at Louise Kennedy in Dublin. They were a really lovely place to work for and the office in Dublin has quite a small team so I really learned a lot there!

Would you like to eventually have your own line?

I'm sure yes in the future but...I'm not sure if it is something I would want right now! I would however work for a brand as you can learn a lot! 

All photographs courtesy of Maria-Christina McPadden