Edel Macbride designs at the Guildhall Craft Fair

SINCE starting the first ever business at Londonderry's Craft Village back in 1989, Edel MacBride has become one of Ireland's foremost knitwear designers.

A familiar face on television shows, her stunning collections have won a string of awards and a legion of loyal customers. From sublime baby clothes to stylish accessories, glamorous bespoke eveningwear to simple but elegant cardigans and jackets, the Donegal based designer will be showcasing some wonderful Christmas gift ideas at the Guildhall Craft Fair this weekend.

A fashion graduate from the Limerick College of Art & Design, Edel, who had been talent spotted by leading Irish designer Paul Costelloe, was persuaded by Paddy Doherty to take the first unit at his new Craft Village back in September 1989. Mary Robinson, Bronagh Gallagher and Angeline Ball were early customers and during her time in Londonderry Edel made her first appearance at the Guildhall Craft Fair.

Eventually a growing business (and family) and the need for more space compelled her to relocate to County Donegal. Her shop and studio are now in a converted country house just outside her home village of Convoy.

Edel still sources most of her yarn from Donegal Yarns in Kilcar, the last traditional spinners of yarn in Ireland, where she once worked herself. She buys the more sophisticated yarn for her glamorous eveningwear from Florence.

“I love yarn”, Edel says, “and I love using Irish yarn too. I am very lucky in that I am passionate about what I do and the people who buy my clothes seem to share that passion. It’s about creativity and being different, a simple elegance that doesn’t follow trends, yet is still fashionable. Craft has gone through a difficult time when its reputation for quality suffered but now people are appreciating the skill and creativity of the craftsperson again”.

Edel’s stall at the Craft Fair will be easy to spot with mannequins in show-stopping outfits, handmade hats and scarves, cuddly baby clothes and elegant ladies dinner jackets and cardigans too. “I am really looking forward to this great fair”, Edel says, “meeting old friends and making new contacts too”.

n For more information visit www.edelmacbride.com