Horseware Ireland’s blankets are well-known in the horse world, but have you tried any of their clothing? I recently spoke with Siobhan Molloy, Horseware Ireland’s Clothing Manager in Ireland, to find out more about Horseware’s line of apparel and accessories.
The Horseware clothing line started in the year 2000 after an amazing response to their blankets encouraged the company to expand into clothing. From an initial clothing line that featured only a few jackets, the line has now grown into three separate collections: Horseware, Newmarket, and Horseware Platinum. The Horseware Collection features competition attire and casual clothing for women, children and men. The Newmarket Collection features signature style with fashionable clothing and accessories. The Platinum Collection highlights high fashion trends with premier fabrics and details.
The Newmarket Collection was the second line of the Horseware clothing designs and originally featured the signature sunflower pattern of its namesake Newmarket horse blankets. A French designer, who is the only designer that isn’t based out of Ireland, fashions the Newmarket collection around the young and vibrant styles of the polo world.
The Horseware Clothing design team features a diverse team comprised of many different nationalities including Italian, Swedish, and French, in addition to the ubiquitous Irish. Many of the designers are also life-long equestrians. The design process is a team effort, with each piece undergoing peer review to ensure that it reaches its full potential. Siobhan said that Horseware’s goal is to make their clothing like a second skin for the riders. They want each rider to feel like a free spirit in their clothing and not have their movements restricted by the clothing’s limitations, or have their clothing feel uncomfortable.
At first glance, equestrian clothing design may seem simple. However, the process from the design sketches to the final product that you see in the catalog has many steps. First, there is a lot of research that goes into creating each piece, from the cut of the fabric to the colors. The World Global Style Network, where teams of fashion experts around the world create reports forecasting style trends is a key element of this initial process. The Horseware designers spend a large amount of their time analyzing these reports to figure out the best designs for their articles of clothing and accessories for each season. Regional variances are also important for the design team as each region has different preferences for fabrics and features. For example, the North American market prefers technical fabric, while the European prefers cotton and natural fibers for clothing. Each article of clothing then undergoes real-life testing by riders in each region to ensure that it meets rider’s needs and that it can stand up to the equestrian lifestyle.
Once this testing phase is complete, the designers maintain an active role with the production and delivery phases to ensure that the pieces continue to meet their standards. The designers are also involved with the photo shoots so that each image captures the inspiration behind each collection. Customer feedback is also important to the designers as they are always looking for more ways to meet the needs of riders and their interests.
Horseware’s Spring/Summer 2014 line features different themes and feels. The Horseware Collection incorporates light, layering pieces perfect for country casual style, while the Newmarket Collection features trendier fashions, and the Platinum Collection offers couture style pieces.
The Spring/Summer Platinum Collection is featuring new products that are made of some new fabrics. One of the fabrics is Tencel®, a super-fabric that is regenerated cellulose fiber made from dissolvingbleached wood pulp. It is a fabric that has been seen in the fashion world, but not the equestrian world until now. This super-fabric is biodegradable, is able to hold more water off of the skin, and is more washable, yet still has a luxurious feel. The other new fabric is mesh-raised cotton, which allows for more breathability.
Although each region has different preferences for different styles and the materials their clothing is made of, according to Siobhan, one item that is sure to please riders all around the world in the Spring/Summer line is the Cleona Riding Jacket. This showerproof, yet still breathable jacket is perfect for summer riding. The jacket also offers a two-way zipper and zippered pockets.
Horseware Ireland continues to work on developing innovative clothing for riders. They have even looked at using some of the same fabrics that your horse wears on his Horseware blankets. The company is ultimately striving to make the most comfortable clothes possible, since comfort is key with Horseware’s clothing.
Horseware is also going to keep expanding their Competition line in Spring Summer 2015 with a new competition jacket. They plan to keep broadening their competition line, but at a slower pace to ensure that each piece is perfect before releasing the items.
As the current Clothing Manager at Horseware Ireland, Siobhan has been working at Horseware for almost three years. She has always wanted to work in fashion, and enjoys working in the Equestrian Fashion industry because it brings a whole new set of challenges. Her job may sound glamorous, but it does keep her very busy. She can typically be found reviewing four seasons of clothing at one time, while travelling all over the world to keep up on current and future fashion trends. She also completes tasks such as looking into the production and development of items, seeing what improvements can be made on items, choosing which fabrics they should use five seasons into the future, seeing items from concepts to sales, assisting with photo shoots, reviewing feedback about items, as well as making sure all items are suitable to be released with the Horseware Ireland name.
Her favorite part of her job is that it is fun. She enjoys working with her team of “five creative and innovative women”. She says, “A good team is important here to enable us to do best designs and be as creative as we possibly can be.”