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Magee 1866 are proud to champion sustainability as a fundamental part of our ethos which has evolved over the last 150 years. Our Magee Weaving Mill pre-dominantly uses natural fibres like wool and linen, which are biodegradable, renewable and the high-quality fabric is then manufactured locally. Quality is our principle product value and is evident from our fabric to finished garment. Magee Clothing’s design philosophy promotes the sustainable concept of ‘slow fashion’ through timeless and classic collections. Sustainable fabric and high quality, long lasting products define our brand DNA. We are currently in the process of understanding which of the various environmental and sustainability certificates best align with this company ethos. 

Donegal bay

It is a 5th generation family business and the Temple family behind Magee 1866 are committed to manufacturing in the most sustainable and environmentally friendly way possible. The Temple family have planted over 150 acres of forestry to off-set carbon emissions, grow their own organic vegetables & breed a small herd of their own organic grass-fed cattle. 

Raw Materials

We focus on weaving and producing garments using ‘Noble Natural Fibres’:

  • Wool: biodegradable & renewable. It is sourced by our trusted spinning partners within the E.U. Countries of origin include: Ireland, Norway, Peru, Australia, New Zealand. We are working on specific projects with complete traceability of wool to the farm source. A collection using Irish Wool will launch in AW 2020.  
  • Linen: biodegradable & renewable. Our Irish Linen is grown in Northern France, spun in Poland and designed, woven & finished in Donegal. Linen also uses considerably less water than cotton and grows on poor land. 
  • We also work with alpaca, cashmere, mohair and silk. All are biodegradable & renewable. 
  • We do on occasion use a small % of man-made fibres in our fabrics in order to enhance performance (e.g. stretch, added design).

Manufacturing 

  • All fabric is tested by third parties ICQ and Intertech to industry standards. 
  • Warping, weaving, and finishing of fabric is done in house, allowing for complete control and high standards ensured at all times. 
  • Within Magee Weaving, synthetic dyes are used to cater for a large colour palette. Reactive and acid dyes used on our fibres comply with EU standards.  Please note that natural dye alternatives require heavy metals to adhere to the fibre, which can be as harmful to the environment. We conclude that natural dyes are not necessarily a better alternative. 
  • Mild detergents are used, similar to those of domestic washing machine concentrations. 
  • Cardboard waste is re-cycled. We are researching recycled fibre merchants. 

Spring summer 2020, a focus on natural linens, wool and cashmere.

Energy

  • Magee 1866 purchases electricity from a Green energy provider (i.e. Hydro or wind), currently coming from the mainstream grid. 
  • Oil is used to generate heat in the absence of any other alternatives in our geographical region e.g. there is no natural gas pipe line Co. Donegal. Alternatives to fossil fuels are being urgently sought, costed and plans drawn to invest in solar power within the next 3 years. 
  • Local water is used in our production of cloth. Due to the fact that Donegal has a high volume and frequency of rainfall, (1600mm p.a.), this resource is not under pressure from a shortage.

With Mother’s Day (UK & Ireland) on Sunday we thought it would be a lovely opportunity to note how much our Mum means to us as a family. While Mum has never worked in our family business she is a solid sounding board for us all and has been for years – from business decisions, fielding heated family debates, (we try to keep emotion to a minimum with business but it creeps in on occasion!) to ideas on the seasonal collection of both fabrics and garments.

While not managing her expanding family with the three of us and grandchildren, (not to mention managing Dad!) Mum devotes much of her time to her garden – a walled-in acre of secret paths and little follies, vegetables, trees, shrubs and flowers.

It has been the backdrop to many of our summer photoshoots and it also provides inspiration behind specific design themes. As a child I have so many happy memories of playing for hours in this garden, catching bugs, hide & seek, creating obstacle courses with flower pots and canes and even attempts at my own horticultural creations – with mixed results. Today this garden is a playground for my own children when we visit the ‘Donegal grandparents’ and a calm space for me.

Salthill Gardens

I never quite appreciated how much our mothers do for us, that is until I had my own children – life is now a juggling act and multitasking is to the extreme – but very rewarding!

Thank you Mum for everything – for the early years – life lessons and watching us grow and develop, the trying teenage years – for your calmness and patience and for now – for your listening ear and grand-mum duties!

Mums’ favourite pieces this Spring Summer 2020 – The Emma coat, in a soft cashmere/wool blend pink and white herringbone Donegal tweed and a bright pink, blue and white patchwork scarf, designed and made in our mill in Donegal.

Explore our gift guide for Mother’s Day – there is something for all the wonderful mums out there!

If you’re looking for an excuse to travel Ireland’s beautiful coast and landscapes, St. Patrick’s Day offers the perfect opportunity. With a bank holiday on Tuesday, it might be time to give yourself a four-day weekend and explore the best of Ireland’s scenic and cultural offerings.

The Giant’s Causeway

Incredibly picturesque and rich in Irish mythology and legend, there’s a reason you’ll see the Giant’s Causeway on nearly every travel list. Interlocking basalt columns give the shoreline a striking graphic look, the result of an ancient volcanic eruption. Children will love jumping from column to column at low tide, and there are plenty of photo opportunities. Be sure to read about the legends surrounding the area or, better yet, get a tour guide! Find out more.

Other attractions in the area include the Carrick-a Rede rope bridge which takes you over the ocean, from mainland to the tiny island of Carrickarede. A coastal drive along the Antrim’s cliff-lined coast is always recommended, too.

The Guinness Storehouse

Is there anything more Irish than a pint of the black stuff on St. Patrick’s Day?! Head down to Dublin for St. Patrick’s Day weekend, where the celebrations will be in full swing. The Guinness Storehouse is the perfect place to kick off the weekend, learning about the history and craft Ireland’s best-loved and iconic stout beer. Your experience culminates with a drink in the famous Gravity Bar, with panoramic views of Dublin City. Find out more.

Slieve League Cliffs in Donegal

If you’d prefer to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with something a bit more wild, head up the coast to Europe’s highest sea cliffs in Donegal. There are several walking routes with stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean and plenty of fresh sea air. Find out more.

Following your walk pop into the Rusty Mackerel Pub in Carrick for some lunch and a well earned drink. And of course we always recommend a visit to Donegal Town, and our original Magee shop on the Diamond!

Galway City

As the European Capital of Culture for 2020, now is the perfect time to visit medieval Galway City. Bursting with colour and music, Galway will be full of exciting cultural events for St. Patrick’s Day weekend. Take a stroll through winding medieval streets or walk along the famous Salthill Prom, before checking out the full ream of theatre, dance, music, arts and more that Galway offers every weekend! Find out more.

The Dingle Peninsula

Head down to Kerry for 47 kilometres of scenic driving. You’ll pass beaches, views of the famous Skelling Michael, and Stone Age ringforts which all offer great opportunities for getting out of the car and exploring a bit. Dingle Town, itself has plenty of charm, with cosy pubs and unique shops to check out of an afternoon. Be sure to have a seafood dinner while in Dingle, as it’s a harbour town and has some of the freshest daily catches you’ll find! Find out more.

From dark origins during the Roman empire (think martyred saints and animal sacrifices), Valentine’s Day evolved over centuries to become the loved-up holiday we know today. Chaucer and Shakespeare romanticised Saint Valentine’s Day in poetry. In the 18th century, the first Valentine’s Day cards (handmade!) were sent. These cards were discreetly slipped under doorways or tied to the door-knocker of a beloved one. Then, in the early 1800’s, mass-produced Valentine’s Day cards began circulating.

Today, we celebrate Valentine’s Day with cards, flowers and chocolate, gifts, and a date! It’s also quite common to celebrate the day by getting together with friends and loved ones. We’ve put together some gift ideas to show someone in your life, whether it’s your partner or a close friend, that you love them!

Left: The Birra technical fleece
Centre: Handmade teddy in pink Donegal Tweed
Right: Pink Herringbone pashmina

For more gifting inspiration, check out our gift guide here. And don’t forget to check out our Valentine’s Day city escape on social media, which we’ll be gifting to one lucky couple! The offer includes a night in the Merrion Hotel in Dublin, and one of our Made to Measure suits from Magee 1866 on South Anne Street in Dublin.

From everyone at Magee 1866, including chairman Lynn Temple above, happy Valentine’s Day!

Our latest collection is inspired by coastal escapes, both here in Ireland and abroad.

In the northwest of Ireland, summer months offer plenty of opportunities for long walks on the beach and weekend days spent sailing along the wild Atlantic coastline. However beautiful Ireland is, we are not always guaranteed with predictable sunny summer weather! A week in France or Spain in bright sunshine is often a welcome escape.

The new Spring Summer 2020 men’s collection is inspired by the idea of a beach in Europe, enjoying the spring and summer season to its fullest along the coast, heading abroad to weddings, and spending quiet weekends at home.

The Finn suit – made in Irish linen, designed and woven by Magee Weaving,
coordinated with an Irish linen grandfather style shirt, the Corlea.

Relaxed palettes of slate blue, duck egg, sage green and earthy brown across the collection are invigorated by bold accents of medallion yellow, azure, gold and peach. Texture is key for this season, with natural luxury fabrics like washed linen and slubbed silk forming the basis for the collection. Linen is a favourite for spring and summer, as its truly sustainable, requiring less water and land to create.

has a mixed reaction due to its tendency to crease but is a truly sustainable product (uses less water to grow, less land required to grow flax and it can be processed without chemicals) and we should embrace it! Irish linen is world renowned and this collection features this beautiful fabric in shirts, jackets, trousers and suits.

Magee 1866 have been designing and weaving fabric at their mill in County Donegal for over 150 years, and this season’s clothing collection brings these fabrics to life with smart, long-lasting and timeless design. 

All-new zip Malin sweatshirt with appliqué tweed ‘1866’

Hero pieces for men include casual colour-blocked knits with a Donegal fleck, and linen drawstring trousers, which can be paired with a linen jacket for the ultimate summer wedding suit. All-new pieces include 1866-branded sweatshirts and T-shirts, with genuine Donegal Tweed detailing. We have also stayed true to our 150 years of heritage with luxury lightweight wool blazers, tweed suits and a Cavan gilet in handwoven Donegal Tweed.

Our men’s designer, Fenella, names the handwoven Cavan gilet as one of her favourite pieces for the season: “This indulgent merlot-coloured herringbone is packed full of lavender, olive, rust, cobalt & mustard flecks. This season, we’ve introduced this special cloth into our popular Cavan Gilet design – a smart, functional & simple piece of versatile outerwear, which perfectly showcases the beauty in our own Weaving fabrics.”

Wool is the backbone of our weaving mill in Donegal, and an all-year round product certainly for the Irish and UK summers. SS20 highlights include our handwoven jackets and gilets, and women’s lightweight wool jackets.

For women, this season’s collection puts an emphasis on sustainable luxury wool, cashmere and cotton fibres.  It gives a knowing nod to the reappearance of 1970’s styling with exaggerated silhouettes, bold plain linens, and hints of glamourous glittering lurex. 

The Emma coat in cashmere & wool, woven in Donegal.

Hero pieces include the Emma coat in an exaggerated dusky pink and cream herringbone, made of luxuriously soft wool cashmere. The timeless Grace coat, with close-fitting princess seams and a flared waist, returns in eye-catching azure blue. The cropped Sadie jacket in navy and white silk is dappled with colours of orange, lemon, lime and pink.

The Grace coat in a contemporary blue salt & pepper tweed, designed and woven by us in Donegal. Styled with A Liberty print silk Darcy top and Sandy cropped chinos.

Each piece is designed and made with longevity in mind. Our main office and Weaving mill is based in Donegal, a beautiful part of the world, with rugged land and seascapes. We are all now increasingly aware of the damage we are doing to our natural surroundings, particularly in the clothing trade (the second biggest pollutant in the world after oil!). We all know we need to act fast for the future of our planet.

As a company, Magee 1866 have always focused on natural fibres, high quality fabrics and product, all made to stand the test of time. This ethos was part of our DNA long before the global drive to be more sustainable, through company practices and the natural qualities of our collection pieces. We are continually reviewing how we can improve our approach.

Magee 1866’s Spring/Summer2020 collection puts a focus on luxury fabrics designed and woven in Donegal.

Whether you’re coming home for the holidays or taking advantage of the time off with a bit of traveling, County Donegal is a beautiful place to visit in the winter months. Think brilliant sunrises over frosty hills, fresh wild air along the coastline, and a uniquely festive atmosphere that makes for perfect cosy nights with friends and family. Here are our top tips for enjoying a winter weekend in Donegal!

Enjoy a festive afternoon in Donegal Town

Around the holidays, Donegal Town is full of the holiday spirit with decorations, caroling groups in the Diamond, shopping, and lots of opportunities to sit down for a cuppa and a mince pie. There’s always the Weaver’s Loft Restaurant above the Magee 1866 store, where you’ll find home-baked scones, pies and treats as well as a full lunch menu with daily specials. Round off the day with a stroll down by the scenic Donegal harbour.

Photo via Facebook @DonegalOnline

Go for a long walk on the beach or a hike

Is there anything more invigorating than a winter beach walk? Donegal has plenty to offer in the way of beach strolls. Heading north, you have the option of Rossnowlagh, Murvagh Beach, and Mountcharles Pier. If you’re feeling really brave, join the locals for a polar plunge on Christmas Day. And then of course you can head west toward Sliabh Liag for stunning views as you walk along Ireland’s highest sea cliffs. If you’re up for an adventure, take to the wild of the Bluestack Mountains on our doorstep.

Have a Sunday lunch with friends & family

Donegal has some lovely destination spots for a meal or afternoon tea with loved ones. From Harvey’s Point on the shores of Lough Eske, to the Lough Eske Castle Hotel, to the House Gastro Pub in Donegal Town, there are plenty of places to whet the appetite and spend some quality time together over great food.

Enjoy a pint and some music

Donegal is full of cosy pubs, and you can usually find some music to enjoy, too. McCafferty’s in Donegal Town is always a great choice for a pint or two, with music and a lively atmosphere. Down the road in Ardara, Nancy’s Seafood Bar is a lovely warm spot for a quiet pint and some food.

‘Tis the season for gift-giving and gift-opening, and we’ve been really good this year. Here are the gifts we’re hoping to find under the tree!

“My wish list includes one of our throws, designed and made by our weaving mill in Donegal. They are perfect for snuggling down with on the sofa and watching a Christmas film. If it’s just me – The Holiday or Love Actually are my favourites, and if with my children and husband – The Snowman followed by the Snowman and Snowdog!

I would also love a notebook – I have a terrible memory and need lists for everything. I know we live in a digital age and there are all sorts of apps for lists and organisation but I prefer writing things down with a pencil and paper. These beautiful Donegal Tweed bound notebooks are made in Ireland.”

“I do a lot of travelling for work, visiting fabric fairs and factories,! so if Santa wanted to bring me one of our lovely Donegal Tweed passport covers, it would be the perfect accessory to dress up my rather dog-eared passport! As an only child and grandchild, Christmas with my small family is generally a quiet one but we always look forward to Boxing Day when we go for a walk along the seafront in my hometown in the Southeast of England. We watch the either brave or slightly mad locals embracing a charity Boxing Day swim, followed by a walk along the promenade to walk off the Christmas Day dinner. One of our Merino Wool waffle knit sweaters and the gorgeous new red and grey Alexa coat will be sure to keep me warm.”

“For Christmas, I’d love a teddy bear in Donegal Tweed to give to my nephew. It’s something he can hang onto throughout childhood, and pass on when he’s older — a real family heirloom. For myself, I usually spend a lot of the Christmas holidays outside. You can find me having a dip in the sea at dawn (highly recommended!) or taking long walks through the countryside with family. A warm scarf and the Demi jacket are the perfect things to keep me warm through the winter.”

“With two small sons at home, the holidays involve a lot of running around outside, visiting family (and Santa!), and a lot of silliness. This year, I’m hoping for a really smart, versatile piece of outerwear – a coat that will keep me warm while I’m chasing the wee boys around, but also something that will look smart if I manage a rare night out! Having a young family is a bit of a juggling act, so a good-quality piece of outerwear like the Moross Duffle coat that I can take everywhere with me that’s made to last, is top of the list. “

When it comes to braving winter weather, your favourite coat – the one you’ll be reaching for, year after year – needs to check some essential boxes: beautiful quality that wears well with age, it needs to be warm, and the silhouette should withstand the test of time, from the workday commute to weekend adventures.

For us, there’s no better answer than a Donegal Tweed coat. Donegal Tweed is designed to keep you warm, and at our weaving mill, we have spent years experimenting and designing to create tweeds that are luxuriously warm, timeless and made with natural fibres. For a behind-the-scenes look at our weaving mill, look no further…

This Autumn Winter 2019, we have launched some new shapes and styles of coats for men and women, in Donegal Tweeds designed and woven at our mill in Donegal.

The Alexa coat

All new this season, the Alexa is designed to make a statement. Mid-length, with raglan shoulders and deep hand-warmer pockets, this coat is meant to be worn over anything, to anything, whether it’s work or play.

The fabric is an over-sized red and white check, inspired by the Irish Brigid’s Cross. It’s designed and woven at our weaving mill; take a look at its journey through our weaving mill, from warping to mending and final examinations above.

This is one of my favourite Magee women’s coats, we have a similar men’s raglan sleeve coat – the Corrib which we have run in our collections for years and people often asked me can you do a women’s version! Here it is – the Alexa is a timeless coat that can be worn year after year. I just love this oversized fabric design, which showcases what our mill do best – intricate designs in beautiful natural fibres.Charlotte Temple – Creative Director

The Emma Coat

It’s no secret that the Emma coat is one of our favourites. It’s easily styled for day or night, and can be worn over trousers and a blouse, or a dress with heels. Worn unbuttoned, the coat has a bit of movement to it that we love.

This season, the Emma coat comes in two Donegal Tweed colourways: a classic black and white herringbone, and a herringbone in mulberry and camel.

The Linsford coat

For occasions and outfits that call for a polished look, the Linsford is the perfect option. Princess seams help the Linsford sit close to the body, giving a fitted silhouette. The Nehru collar can be worn standing up, or folded down to reveal a pop of velvet in the lining.

The Moross Duffle coat

The Moross duffle coat is all new to the Magee 1866 collection this season, effortlessly fusing contemporary styling with our heritage salt-and-pepper Donegal Tweed.

Our designers have given the ever-popular duffle coat an upgrade, with a quilted brushed cotton lining, real horn toggle fasteners, and of course our own Donegal Tweed, designed and woven in Donegal.

The Corrib coat

There’s no doubt that men’s style this decade has taken a lot of inspiration from BBC’s Peaky Blinders, and the Corrib coat is the perfect answer to it. A long silhouette and raglan sleeves make it the perfect winter overcoat, from workdays to casual weekends.

The Fintra Peacoat

There are few looks as timeless as the peacoat. It’s been a staple look for men since the 1800s, bringing a nautical element to the winter wardrobe along with a sharp, tailored silhouette. Our Fintra peacoat comes in a navy herringbone Donegal Tweed, designed and woven at our mill.

To wrap up this year’s heritage celebration, we sat down with Lynn Temple, Chairman of Magee 1866 and fourth-generation family member. Growing up with the business since the 1950’s, we asked Lynn to share some of his favourite memories from childhood and the intervening years, as well as his thoughts on the future of the brand.

“In the 1950’s, the company was powered by three generators of different sizes. There was always one big one running at any time, driving what looked like a Victorian mill with a huge central drive from the ceiling and belts running off it, which then drove the sewing machines. My great delight as a little boy was to start and stop the generators. I would run in and switch on a generator that wasn’t running, and switch it off again. One day, I got confused and switched off the main generator. The whole factory ground to a halt. I was in serious trouble. The production manager ate me – it was horrendous. They lost about an hour and a half production before they got the whole thing working again!

In those days, with direct current, fire was always a risk. At Magee in Donegal, we always had our own petrol-driven fire engine. We used to go to the River Eske beside the factory, where the suction pump at the end of the fire engine was put into the river. The hose was at the other end and we used to practice every week. That practice always attracted a whole lot of the town’s teenagers who used to sit at the wall on the other side of the river, and shout to see if we could hit them with the spray of the hose. We had great fun decoying them at the end of the wall with the engine at half-power, and then when they were all lined up, we’d open the throttle and we could knock them off the wall like skittles. As a ten year old I thought it was absolutely the best part of Magee!

Just William type memories aside (!), Magee in the 1950s was a very traditional place and focused principally on hand-weaving and hand-knitting.  As continental competition grew in the 70’s and 80’s, we very much upped our game to further develop tailoring around the ‘business suit’. The Weaving Mill shifted gears in the late 60’s and 70’s as it became a more fashion orientated business. Magee’s Donegal Tweed was picked up by designers such as Sybil Connolly and Irene Gilbert, which brought some serious panache and established global exports of our luxury fabric.

Cavan Gilet in Donegal Tweed; Handwoven Donegal Tweed Jacket

Now, we see the market changing again to incorporate far more lifestyle and casual fit garments. Beautiful tailoring will always have a place in the market but ‘Casual Fridays’ in the workplace are certainly here to stay! For us it is always important to never lose sight of our roots but crucial to also keep looking forward. This means that we continue to focus on using our own fabric throughout our collections while also making sure we don’t ever get stuck in the past with old 70’s suits! The other huge shift that I see, is the growing awareness of sustainability which we are firm believers in. It wasn’t a common topic in the 1950’s (!) but it is good to see this emphasis on ‘slow fashion’, which fits the bill for us.

Preview of Spring/Summer 2020 collection

Looking to the future, one of the points that gives me huge encouragement as a 68-year-old, even as the European market goes through huge uncertainty with Brexit, is the team we have here at Magee 1866. We are fortunate to have three of our own family: Charlotte as Design Director, Patrick as CEO of Magee Weaving, and Rosy on Sales Management, combined with an energetic and young team based here in Donegal. Alongside this youth, there are of course people who have worked here for over 40 years and with family connections stretching back multiple generations. We are very fortunate to have such a critical mass of knowledge, skill and enthusiasm here in Donegal. This gives me great heart and that we will certainly be around for the next 150 years and more! ‘’

Sustainability is very much part of our family values and what we do at Magee 1866.  We recognise that it is a not a straightforward concept with easy solutions. Yet, as a family we are  on board to drive a philosophy which respects our environment and how we do business in it.

We have grown up in in the wilds of Donegal with the Atlantic on our doorstep for swimming and the Bluestacks Mountains just up the road for exploring. Mum and Dad have always encouraged a deep respect for this magic landscape at home and to tread with care. This culture of care for the landscape around us means putting time and effort into make sustainable choices from planting belts of mixed forestry to eating organically, growing vegetables and cycling in and out to work. This sustainable set of lifestyle values as a family translates to what we do at work. We don’t leave them at home!

Lynn Temple, Chairman of Magee 1866, and Rosy Temple, Marketing & Retail Manager, in Mountcharles, Co Donegal

When it comes to work, for over 150 years sustainability has been inherent in our DNA. We focus on using natural fibres like wool which is renewable and biodegradable by default. Natrual fibres create fabric and clothing which is of a high quality, a far cry from the ‘throw away’ culture of fast fashion. Today, we look to harness this sustainable core and to bring its essence through our collections. When you invest in a coat like the Emma (below), you are buying a piece which is made of wool, it is made to last and to be enjoyed season after season. As a 5th generation family business, we are not here today and gone tomorrow and neither is our clothing.

The Emma coat in a black and white herringbone-patterned Donegal Tweed

It is so encouraging to see that sustainability is now part of a more mainstream conversation around the world. I am currently in Tokyo with work and also to commiserate with Irish fans over our world cup loss…! Yesterday, I took part in the ‘Tweed Run Tokyo’.

The event was to highlight the versatility of the fabric, its sustainable virtues and to celebrate this with an emissions free pedal about the vast city. What an experience and a vibrant ensemble of bold style and panache!

Models in Tokyo, featuring our Alexa coat (centre) styled with Fishermen Out of Ireland jumper and Bernie Murphy trouser

I talked to the team from the beautiful United Arrows clothing store. They shared with me the Japanese concept of Mottainai which is a Japanese term to convey a ‘sense of regret concerning waste’ and a request to ‘not waste anything worthy’ from food to object. It was fascinating to hear of this old proverb, now being applied to today’s emphasis on moving away from a throw-away culture.

On my return from this provoking event, I bought a single banana…which was completely wrapped in plastic. As a world of consumers, living sustainably is undeniably complex but we hope that the spirit of Mottaninai will start to prevail!  At Magee 1866, we hope that you will join us on the journey to create and wear clothing which pays heed to the sensitivities of the environment.

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