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Aran roots of Simone Rocha's London debut

rocha.jpgDeirdre McQuillan

Simone Rocha's debut at London Fashion Week was a sure-fire winner. One of the 21 MA graduates of Central Saint Martins, Rocha, said her collection was inspired by Perry Ogden's collection of images of pony kids at Smithfield Market's horse fair and the Aran Islands. Her monochrome collection of dresses and separates with linear panels of opaque and see-through fabrics had a contemporary, hard-edged elegance that marks her out as a talent to watch.

"It's all about romance, with a bit of grit," she said afterwards. A seasoned presence at her father John's shows in London and Paris since the age of 12, the 23-year-old designer has inherited his love of handcraft, interest in fine art, music and design not to speak of a strong entrepreneurial streak.

Warmth from the edge of the world....

The look is American--by way of the world. Drawing on nearly 20 years' experience as a hunter-gatherer of fine yet laid-back menswear--and an obsession with timeless styles, JACK STRAW named after a Grateful Dead tune) co-owner John Richards slips down alleyways in Paris, Milan, Antwerp and the Aran Islands to find washed (read: fashionably rumpled) cotton and hemp blazers in sandy lavender, fine gingham shirts to throw on beneath them, and slim-fitting, ankle-length pants. Good news for Seattle's all-American-yet-global girls: Richards will make space for a small women's collection next spring.

Seattle Metropolitan's Best of the City, July 2009.

Inis Meain Knitting Company has been creating high quality knitwear in luxury fibres for the best stores around the world since 1976.

Inis Meain Knitting Co.
-Aran Islands, Galway Bay Ireland.

Inis Main is one of the Aran Islands lying 15 miles off the west coast of Ireland. It is just 3 miles across and supports 200 inhabitants. This is the island where all of the knitwear that bears the Inis Meain name, and symbol of the upturned currach is made.

The currach is the islanders' fishing boat which the fishermen must carry up from the shore after every voyage. For centuries, the fishermen's garments have been knitted by the women of the island. This is the tradition that inspires the knitwear designed and made in Inis Meain. The Aran Islands are renowned not only for their unique history of knitting but also for their natural style and way of life. Old traditions in farming, fishing, sport and music are sustained and celebrated.

Taking inspiration from island life, Inis Meain Knitting Company creates clothing with a new twist on the elegant and stylish Irish country look, in luxurious materials. Colours, inspired by land and sea, relfect the seasons. Donegal yarns, tweeds, plaids and stitch details such as herringbone, fairisle and moss all reflect Inis Meain's authentic original Irish style.

Being the least visited of the Aran Islands, Inis Meain offers the most peaceful and genuine experience of this unique cultural landscape. There is just one pub on the island where locals and visitors gather. This tranquility and simple way of living are what make Inis Meain Knitting Company provides a means for the sustainability and development of the unique island traditions and way of life by providing employment for islanders in their own environment, and by designing clothing reflecting the natural style of Inis Meain.