This autumn, we’re celebrating women with a series of interviews from women in Ireland. First up: our own Charlotte Temple, Director of Design and fifth-generation family member behind Magee 1866.

Can you tell us what it was like venturing into fashion & design with Magee 1866 from your military background?

I left the army and went to London to work as a Personal Trainer, this was not a long term career for me and I spent many hours in London exploring the wealth of stores. This is where I fell in love with fashion and design. I started in our family business aged 24, very young and very naïve, however my experiences before, while nothing to do with fashion, where hugely people orientated and I also had absorbed a lot of conversations around our business since a child so coming into our family clothing business was not totally alien to me.

Everyone within Magee was hugely supportive of me becoming part of the team, but it took me a while to find my feet and I spent time in different parts of the business, starting in wholesale (I am hopeless at sales!) and ending up in design. I love the creative aspects of my role – through both product design imagery and brand development. My aim after about a year in Magee was to create a lifestyle brand. We specialised in suits and jackets then for primarily an older generation. While we have some way to go, we are starting to capture the essence of an Irish family lifestyle brand. Our focus is luxury fabrics and design, steeped in our heritage with contemporary styling.

If I had one regret it was not working in another large brand for a couple of years before going into our company. This would have enabled me to gain some specific fashion experience which I now have but it took a little longer to grasp.

Any advice for young women finding their way professionally?

Focus on what you want to do and work hard to achieve it. We spend so much time at work and It is so important to enjoy what you are doing, there will be of course difficult moments but overall you need to be happy in your role – you will achieve more.

Wearing the Alexa coat, now available for pre-order.

Best piece of advice you’ve received?

Be focused on the end goal and work hard.

What’s top of mind for you at the moment?

The effect we are all having on the environment is without doubt having an impact on me, and fashion is a huge pollutant – second after oil! From a company stance we are a slow fashion brand. We focus on natural fibres and our clothes are designed to last – not to end up in a landfill in a month post purchase.

Personal style philosophy?

I take a pretty simplistic view of fashion and adore clothes that are timeless. Comfort is also a key factor. What I buy now, I want it to last. Fabric is really important to me – be it a luxurious cashmere knit jumper or tweed coat. Staple colours are black, navy, olive green, camel and white. Orange is my pop colour right now. Silk and cashmere scarves are my go to accessory. I am not a fan of overdesigned products and feel overall – less is more.

Your favourite local spot & why?

Murvagh beach – when I lived in Donegal after returning from London, I ran there every day in all weathers, wind, rain, snow, sun – the perfect antidote to a long day in the office.

Your perfect day?

I love the mountains and spend a lot of time in France. My perfect day would be a ski tour in the Alps, with my husband and our guide. We love getting into the middle of nowhere for a few hours – bright blue skies, dramatic scenery, good snow and silence – with no one else around us! Then meet our three small children for a late lunch in Cave de Creux, my favourite restaurant – great music, team, atmosphere and food – the truffle risotto is amazing! Ski home with the boys – and then a big fire at home with a glass of red wine, reminiscing about our day.

Favourite piece or pieces this season from the AW collection?

I have two favourite pieces this season – one of our Lily jackets in a classic black and white salt & pepper Donegal tweed with a hint of lurex to add a contemporary twist and the new teddy bears! I am so excited about these little bears showcasing our original Donegal tweed in a fun way!

Left: Grey Lily jacket. Right: Blue Donegal Tweed Bear, coming soon

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