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Sinèad Gorey: A brand with the London squat rave scene at its roots

A fusion of glamorous rave-wear and technical sportswear

  • Interview: Tayler Willson
  • 8 April 2020

To have your debut collection supported and launched alongside the British Fashion Council must mean you're doing something right, and that's certainly the case with Sinèad Gorey. Following her successful SS20 presentation, she's back for AW20, bringing us more eye-catching fusions of glamorous rave-wear and technical sportswear.

Ahead of the release, we caught up with Sinéad to find out a little more about her, the brand and the inspiration behind her collections, as well as learning about how COVID-19 is affecting independent fashion brands.

Tell us a little about you, your background and how you found yourself in the world of fashion...

I'm Sinéad, I'm 23 and from South-East London. I did Art Foundation at Camberwell Art school and moved on to studying BA Womenswear at London College of Fashion. I never wanted to study fashion until around year 12, up until then I wanted to be a podium dancer at Amnesia in Ibiza. My parents go every year for closing parties and that was my dream job…

Your brand is a fusion of rave wear and techy sportswear. What is it about the two you like both individually and on their own?

The London squat rave scene is at the root of my brand; it’s where I get a lot of my references and concepts. A lot of brands look to rave culture, however not many do it authentically and I’ve never seen any influenced by London squat raves; it was and still is a dark scene. Most of these parties were not exactly safe spaces either, and definitely not all that love and unity shit. I have so much first-hand experience too. From the age of seventeen I was helping put on raves, so there is an endless portfolio of photos and footage I can look to. Ultimately with each collection I am designing for a cult of rave girls; developing each season alongside what I’m being influenced by at that time. Sportswear is the classic rave uniform, however I’ve tried to develop that silhouette to something new.

Your first presentation was an illegal rave?

When I was first thinking about starting a brand, I wanted to launch it alongside a message of what I wanted to portray as a designer. I knew this had to be putting on my own rave with a load of girls dressed in my first collection. Working with some pretty dodgy people they got an empty office block on Great Portland street and we went for it. Ended up as a little bit of a disaster… but a learning curve for sure.

Are there any designers/brands you admire that influenced your decision or thinking behind the brand?

Menswear brands inspired me more than womenswear whilst studying; I love the sportswear silhouette and was obsessed with techy fabrics that had exciting properties. The iconic rave designer Daniel Poole is someone who I discovered when studying and was lucky enough to work with on a project last year. How his brand began is something I admire and I think he was super innovative in the nineties, collaborating with brands like Sony and PlayStation. I can appreciate designers that don’t take their work too seriously. After all, its just fashion.

Your clothes have been worn by some exciting artists right?

I have had pieces worn by some pretty cool people; first ever custom I made at uni was for Jorja Smith in a collaboration with my friend Mia who also has her own brand now. Since then I have been commissioned customs for Tiffany Calver when she went on tour with Drake, had looks worn by Iamddb, Green Tea Peng, Miraa May and Zara Larsson.

Read this next: Make rave more climate friendly

Tell us about the AW20 collection...

This collection has been inspired by optical illusions different substances can create on the brain. Vivid optical illusion prints and silhouettes were used to enhance and distort views of the female body. Interesting pattern-cutting techniques are applied to the garments, inspired by psychedelic rave décor and string art. The raver muse who I design for has matured and became sexually empowered; the collection features more evening wear pieces alongside interesting knits.

Has COVID-19 affected your brand?

Custom looks and styling requests for festival season have all been cancelled, but it'a also affected my first large production run. The launch of an exclusive Spring Summer 2020 collection with my first stockist has been put on hold until further notice, which after months of hard work on both sides is unfortunate. However it gives me time to reflect and research where I want to take my brand when this is all over.

As an independent designer, what advice can you give to others on how best to be in these uncertain times?

Stay positive! The fashion industry needed a serious wake up call anyway.

You can find out more about Sinead Gorey on her website www.sineadgorey.co.uk and keep up-to-date with latest news and releases on Instagram.

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