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19th Jul 2019

Upcycling and bold shoulders: Designer Aisling Kavanagh on Ladies’ Day fashion

In only two weeks time we’ll be at the Galway Races.

Excitement is certainly building for the festival, and especially Ladies’ Day which takes place on August 1st.

As Her‘s Fashion Editor, I’ve been exploring everything from what your options are when it rains, to getting some insider tips from last year’s winner, all to help you to stand out as a serious Best Dressed contender.

I spoke to Aisling Kavanagh, fashion design graduate and designer of bespoke, hand-embellished hairbands about what trends she thinks will be big at Ballybrit, as well as some tips and tricks to get you ahead of the game.

Since graduating from college, Aisling has been working on her business full-time. Her bespoke headbands are hand sewn and embellished over a three- to four-week period, so it’s safe to say she puts a lot of time and effort into her pieces.

With clients such as Aideen Murphy and Niamh O’Sullivan praising her work, she’s definitely a young Irish designer to look out for.

If you take a look down Aisling’s Instagram page, you can see she has a great sense of style. She believes that women will be keen to test out pops of colour at Ladies’ Day this year, as well as striking silhouettes.


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“Everyone is very open to exploring different trends and willing to try pops of colour that they would not normally wear. They are also conscious of taking the opportunity to show their individual sense of style and expressing their personality and what suits them.

“One trend on the catwalks for SS19 was large puff sleeves and bold shoulders, and I feel this may be filtered down to race day fashion. As we are more conscious of our environment, I feel people are thinking more about upcycling an outfit by changing the look to suit the occasion.”

Aisling is right on the mark there, when I spoke to the Her Best Dressed judges, Gillian Fitzpatrick, Rosanna Davidson and Síle Seoige, at the launch of the races, they all said that they’re looking for something they haven’t seen before – even if it comes from your granny’s attic!


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When it comes to individuality on race day Aisling believes that women are keen to have a unique look now more than ever.

“It has definitely evolved,” she says. “Women are more expressive showing their individuality and unique sense of style. It’s amazing to see ladies who have been inspired by the creative industry such as designers, bloggers, influencers and people they admire, and, of course, supporting Irish design at the same time.”

When it comes down to it, Aisling says to just be yourself, be relaxed and enjoy the day. You don’t have to wear anything you normally wouldn’t because we all know, if you’re uncomfortable you won’t be confident in your look.

“Hats, fascinators, hairbands – they are not for everyone. I would say wear what suits you, if you aren’t comfortable in any of these don’t worry, you can always put an emphasis on the bag or the shoes or the accessories.”