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Meet the Irish tailors making strides in contemporary suiting

Innovative suit designs from exciting new talents

Beggars Run

“You want to be elegant and fun,” says Dubliner Edward Hussey, co-founder with Sligo man Cian McAuliffe of men’s wear tailoring label Beggars Run, a brand fast acquiring status in London. Business is based in Shoreditch and now in New York, where they opened a store in Nolita in November to further acclaim.

The duo, neither of whom has formal fashion training, bonded as students In UCD over a common passion for “clobber and music”, sharing similar aesthetics in fabric and silhouette. Both are sharp dressers and advocates of slow fashion, offering what they call nonconformist made-to-measure classics, and quietly building a name for themselves over the last 10 years.

“Many customers are travelling from Ireland for weddings, big occasions and all between,” says Hussey, adding that well-known actors, music bands and sportsmen come to them “for the bigger occasions and red-carpet treatment”. Fans include Succession screenwriter Jesse Armstrong, Irish Oscar-winning director Ben Cleary, US actor and director Zack Braff and electronic music group Metronomy.

Hussey used to trawl through the charity shops along the “golden mile” of Camden Street in Dublin, and remembers at 16 finding a brown pinstripe Christian Dior suit for €13. McAuliffe says he used clothing “to cover up my shyness” as a youngster, and as a student developed a prototype of a four-sided trouser with a Capel Street tailor, later borrowing from cousins and brothers to make suits with a tailor in India. Fifty were made, “and then I realised that 70-80 per cent of suits don’t fit off the peg”, he recalls, ruefully.


“When Eddie, then in Australia, came on board we slowly started to build up [the brand] together by word of mouth.”

The name came from a dice game the pair used to play in Dublin as students, which meant taking a risk in trying to do something different. Beggars Run offers a wide selection of suits, jackets, bomber jackets, coats and ties. Fabrics come from Austrian, English, Scottish and Irish mills – everything from Magee’s Donegal tweed to moleskins and Kynoch herringbones to denim, velvet, cotton and linen – in striped, checked, plain or patterned fabrics, and in a variety of colours and textures.

“We go to fabric shows in Milan and Paris and out of 100 fabrics we pick out five and end up having the same five choices,” Hussey says. Customers can try on the fabrics to see how they look and feel rather than select in the conventional way from swatches. All the styling is done by them – they choose photographers and models (including London-based Caoimhin O’Brien from Terenure in Dublin who features in some of these images) “because it is our vision and not someone else’s”, Hussey says.

It takes about eight weeks to complete an order, involving two or three fittings. “We can work remotely and learned how to do Zoom fittings during Covid. We can give a guide to partners to take the needed measurements which can often be fun,” Hussey explains.

McAuliffe has moved to New York with his wife – film-maker Rebecca Lloyd Evans – and their two young sons to mastermind operations there, spreading their belief that “a good, fitted suit gives form to the body and makes you stand out from the crowd”.

Prices from £360 for bomber jackets, £960 for suits, £390 for shoes.

Lauren McNicholl

Possibly the only Irish female tailor working in Spain, Ballymena native Lauren McNicholl’s career trajectory has taken her from studying textiles in Manchester Metropolitan University, to weaving mills in Lancashire and Yorkshire and from there to Savile Row and finally Madrid, where she has been based for the past four years with one of the country’s most acclaimed master tailors, Jose Alonso Romero, a man with more than 50 years’ experience in the trade.

“I love understanding the process, and after working with W T Johnson in Huddersfield [one of the world’s leading textile, dyeing and finishing companies], who supply fabric to Savile Row, I got to know the next part of the industry by studying in London’s Newnham College to learn basic tailoring,” she says. An internship in Savile Row followed, and she spent almost four years with various tailoring companies there before joining Oliver Brown in Chelsea. “He sent me back and forth to Madrid to learn Spanish tailoring style to complement their cutting styles.”

Spanish style combines English structure with softer Italian construction, “so it is something between the two,” she says, “the best of both worlds and suits the climate here in Spain”. She moved to Madrid four years ago to study full time with maestro Romero, and has been here since, making three-piece suits, trousers and sports jackets. The company is known for the famous unstructured Teba jacket originally designed for King Alfonso XIII in the 1930s. “Clients love sports jackets because they complement workwear, being slightly more casual but with eye-catching impact,” she says.

As well as regulars who want to add to their existing wardrobes, clients also come for something special for a wedding or other occasions. “We like to think of the purpose of the garment and how it can be used in multiple ways,” she says. In Spain morning wear is very popular for weddings, and she loves making morning coats – traditionally in black wool with one button that allows the waistcoat and trousers (usually striped) to be seen underneath. “I am so happy here and it is lovely to work hands-on with fabric. Good tailoring can change the way a person stands and make them feel so confident.”

Fionn O Dubhghaill

Fionn O Dubhghaill’s interest in tailoring and construction was whetted by an exhibition on Japanese fashion he saw in London while an NCAD fashion student. “I was blown away by the creativity of design and level of technical innovation,” he says. On graduation, having also completed a diploma in bespoke tailoring, he started his career in Gucci’s design offices in Rome, leaving after three years to further his knowledge and artisanal experience with a bespoke tailor in Rome, and eventually working with a master in Milan. He returned to Ireland two years ago and recently set up his own studio in Dublin.

He is remembered by others in Gucci for his outstanding technical ability and creativity. While there he worked on fashion shows, fitting VIP clients (including Elton John) and overseeing the quality of clothing during fashion shoots. He left needing “to have direct involvement with all stages of the process and create objects that have beauty in their own integrity”, he says, describing his style as one that is always evolving. “I like to cut my clothes with a sense of understated modernism while maintaining awareness of good fit and proportion.” Everything is made by hand using long-standing methods for support and structure, using vintage fabrics or those from small runs.

“There is nothing quite like the feeling of wearing something that has been made for your body and it tends to look beautiful too….. provided you go to the right tailor!”

By appointment in Dublin city centre. @fionnodubhghaill_studio on Instagram