London fashion brand Rainbow Winters is hoping to continue the success story of Irish fashion told on the world’s catwalks by the likes of Paul Costelloe, Orla Kiely and John Rocha.
Having trained as a set and costume designer at Central Saint Martins in London, Amy Winters – the woman behind the brand Rainbow Winters – first registered on the runway radar in 2010.
“After graduating I worked in the smart textiles industry on research and development projects developing innovative textiles,” she says. “Then in 2010 I set up Rainbow Winters.”
The company’s colourful name comes from the designer’s middle and family names.
“Rainbow was perfect for my brand because just like rainbows my work is centred around colour, nature and transformations,” she adds.
Amy, who has just shown her A/W 12-13 ’Structural Colour’ collection in Paris, believes fashion and theatre share many of the same qualities. And she’s determined to bring a sense of drama out in her creations.
Her latest collection is inspired by the depths of the ocean, taking on a surreal and shimmering effect.
“Theatre and fashion are about creating a specific atmosphere, a certain time, place and visual feeling,” Amy says. “And this collection is full of 70s influences with glistening hand-printed metallics merging with digital silk oceanic prints. Interactive fabrics change colour in response to sunlight and stretch jewellery transforms before your eyes.”
It’s all these elements that are most important in the young designer’s work.
“I draw inspiration from nature because I want to express an emotive angle on technology,” she says. “Technology can be very clinical, by mimicking nature the organic and technical fuse together.”
Now based in London, Winters is the daughter of an Irish father and Swiss mother – but it’s her Mayo relatives who truly inspire her.
“The Irish side of the family are mostly from Castledermot, Co Kildare and around the Erris Peninsula in Mayo. I’ve spent a lot of time in Mayo where everyone looks like my dad and a lot of them seem to be called Winters,” she says. “But it’s my cousin Maureen from Belmullet who has been really inspiring and my auntie Maisie, a retired Mother Superior, now 95 has an incredibly sharp mind. She was born in Castledermot in 1916 but now lives in London.”
Amy is hoping to follow in the successful footsteps of some fashion great s and she includes Lanvin as one of her favourite designers when it comes to producing beautiful clothes.
“There’s also Hussein Chalayan for innovation and Erdem for stunning prints,” she says, adding that her own collection is based around the “idea that garments visually transform” when worn.
“That is key to the main concept of my collections – change, response and process,”she says.
Amy’s career highlights to date have included exhibiting at the Science Museum London and the Science Gallery Dublin. And there’s more to come.
“One of my pieces, the sound-reactive Picasso Explosion dress, is set to feature in a TV advert campaign later this year directed by Jonas Akerlund,” Amy reveals, adding that if she hadn’t gone into fashion she would still have been drawn to the creative arts as a painter or a sculptor.
Of course every fashion designer must have a muse and when it comes to model behaviour there’s one who stands out from all the rest.
“The model I most admire is Giselle,” Amy says. “She always looks so incredibly healthy.”
Amy’s ultimate goal now is to design custom pieces for music videos and concerts.
“I would love to create something special which fuses fashion and technology,” she says.
Watch this space!
Amy Winter’s fashion favourites:
“ If I’m going out somewhere smart I love to wear my pink silk Picasso skirt from Rainbow Winters and a black silk shirt, heels and beautiful jewellery.”
“It’s always super relaxed, usually skinny jeans and t-shirts for chilling out in.”
“On holiday I love lighter more bohemian clothes, flowing dresses, a lot of pieces from my spring/summer 12 collection – they are perfect for holidays, changing pattern and colour in response to sunlight. A Grecian coral silk crepe dress with colour changing lotus flowers is my favourite, I feel amazing every time I wear it.”