Kilkenny Irish Craft and Design Week ambassadors Sonya Lennon and Brendan Courtney with Greg O’Gorman, marketing director at Kilkenny Shop; Peter McDermott, AXA representative; Colm De Ris, potter and budding future designers, Clara and Conrad Latham

CELEBRATE Irish designs with the Kilkenny Shop during its Irish Craft and Design Week, which is jam-packed full of events to showcase the best in Irish craft and design.

Now in its third year, Kilkenny Irish Craft and Design Week, supported by AXA, starts in Kilkenny stores, including its three Dublin stores (in Nassau St, Swords and Stillorgan) from October 6 to 12.
The nationwide campaign aims to bring Irish craft and design to life, showcasing the best of Irish wares with live in-store craft demonstrations and workshops through Kilkenny’s Designer Spotlight, which offer customers the chance to meet some of their favourite Irish designers and craftspeople.
Speaking to The Gazette, Greg O’Gorman, marketing director at Kilkenny Shop, said the show has been well received and it’s great to see key stakeholders, the suppliers and the customers come together.
He said: “It was born out of a brainstorm [session] with some other executives and we tried it back in 2012.
“We were really just dipping our toe – there wasn’t a huge investment behind it, but the reaction we got from consumers was that they enjoyed seeing the designers in operation, meeting them and getting insight into how they actually produce their product.
“We got the same level of feedback from suppliers – they enjoyed getting honest feedback and actually got ideas that they might not have thought of themselves.

Invaluable
“It is invaluable in putting two key stakeholders in our organisation together,” said O’Gorman.
Showcasing Irish design and crafts is an important factor for Kilkenny Shop, he said.
“It was obvious during the recession that consumers did begin to support Irish-made products a lot more. Supermarket chains began advertising that they support local and buy local, and that is why we brought Irish Craft and Design Week to the table.
“It is hugely important for Irish designers to be given the recognition and support they haven’t been previously given, and it puts the spotlight on them for one week of the calendar year.
“It allows people to learn a little more and maybe be an educational process on what these designers are doing on a regular basis, who they are, and really just gives them the opportunity to be appreciated for their work, because Irish designers are among the top designers in the world.
“It is important that people are aware that this is not about Kilkenny – it is about the designers. We are just championing the cause and the message is all about Irish designers,” said O’Gorman.
For further information, times and schedules, see www.kilkennyshop.com, follow The Kilkenny Shop on Facebook, as well as Twitter for live updates throughout the week, under the tag, love Irish design #KICDW.
To help mark the week’s celebration of Irish design, this week, Gazette Style is taking a look at Kilkenny Store’s top 10 autumn/winter 2014 collection pieces.