Paul Galvin: “I think in a general sense the world could talk less and listen more.”
There’s nothing quite like being Irish on St Patrick’s Day. As people around the world honour our national day of celebration, we’re back home having the craic or drowning our shamrocks in the local. But, despite the stereotypes, there’s a lot more to being Irish than drinking Guinness. Paul Galvin tells RSVP why we should take great pride in our culture and heritage.
Your collection with Dunnes Stores has a uniquely Irish theme, what does being Irish mean to you?
There has been an Irish theme to the collections but not intentionally. This is just how the ideas come to me and I develop the concepts for collections accordingly. The first collection began with a word, “vanguard”. Being in the Irish market it made sense to me to incorporate the lyrics of the national anthem into the Vanguard collection, but Vanguard could easily be re-designed and the story re-told for sale in any marketplace if I needed to do so. My market at the moment is uniquely Irish. The PUSH collection came about reading the story of Michael Walker, an Olympic cyclist in 1912 who served as a bicycle courier in 1916. Born Mad was developed after reading a quote from Beckett’s Waiting For Godot. Being Irish has no definitive meaning to me and there is no definitive way of creating collections other than wanting to tell an interesting story.
Irish fashion is obviously something close to your heart, what does it mean to be able to express yourself using an Irish retailer and using a lot of Irish history as inspiration?
Dunnes Stores’ unique heritage and its firm place at the centre of Irish cultural life makes it the perfect place for me to tell these stories. I admire the longevity of the business and the adaptability it has shown over the years – both important qualities.
Do you speak Irish? Is the language worth investing in for the future?
I speak Irish fluently. It’s only worth investing in if it’s something you want to do on a personal level. From a Government and State point of view of course it is worth investing in. Without preserving and promoting it to some degree we lose a fundamental part of our identity.
What has been Ireland’s greatest legacy to the world?
Our literary culture I think.
If you could change anything about our island, what would it be?
I’m not looking to change anything about Ireland, but I think in a general sense the world could talk less and listen more.
Check out Paul’s Spring collection with Dunnes Stores “Mister” – on shelves now.