Add a touch of luxury to your day with our working from home essentials.
Handmade in Ireland from a natural wax blend and essential oils, our candles are available in a range of luscious scents like the invigorating Sweet Grapefruit & Lemon Zest or calming Lavender & Heather.
Growing up with the family business, taking two very different paths, and finding themselves drawn back home to workalongside their father and brother at the helm of Magee 1866, we caught up with Charlotte and Rosy Temple on sustainability, slow fashion and siblings.
As the fourth and fifth-generations behind Magee, since being founded by John Magee over 150 years ago, the business is literally in the family’s DNA with Charlotte as Design Director, Rosy as CEO of Magee Clothing & Retail, brother Patrick as CEO of Magee Weaving and their father Lynn Temple as Chairman.
Everyone brings their individual talents to the table “Dad had never put any pressure on either myself or my two siblings to join Magee 1866, we all went off in different directions and in time all then felt the atavistic pull to come back! For me it took working in different environments to truly appreciate how fortunate I was to have a family business and one with an exciting future.” says Rosy.
Although their mother Elizabeth has never worked in the business, “she is a solid sounding board for us all and has been for years” noted Charlotte. Both sisters praise the family home as a haven, with Elizabeth’s Salthill Gardens – a walled-in acre of secret paths and little follies, vegetables, trees, shrubs and flowers – the backdrop to many photoshoots, and a source of inspiration over the years.
Charlotte and Rosy have very different personalities but share a similar appreciation for the outdoors. “We have grown up in in the wilds of Donegal with the Atlantic Ocean and the Bluestack mountains on our doorstep – many happy hours spent swimming, sailing, running, riding, cycling and rowing to name just a few of our activities. Our home is surrounded by woodland providing endless adventures for us as children. Mum and Dad always encouraged a deep respect for where we grew up – surrounded by the sea and a magical landscape and to tread with care. We now really appreciate how lucky we are and how much we need to do to protect our natural environment. Sustainability is very much part of our family values and what we do at Magee 1866.”
“We have always been about ‘slow fashion’, the finest of natural fibre yarns like wool and linen, which are biodegradable and renewable, are used to produce our sustainable fabrics and garments.” explains Rosy. “We want to create styles that will endure for years, pieces that will always have a home in your wardrobe.” adds Charlotte. “We’re particularly proud of our newly launched 1866 CLASSICS collection. This collection has been refined over the years and is made up of staples that are inspired by our heritage, designed for everyday and with longevity in mind.”
On Charlotte’s visions for the future – “when I first started at Magee, we specialised in good quality men’s suits and jackets. Today, while we have some way to go, we are starting to capture the essence of an Irish family lifestyle brand across our home, men and women collections. The focus is luxury fabrics (many which are still woven by us in Donegal) and design, steeped in our heritage with contemporary styling.”
Acknowledging the unprecedented year have found ourselves in, Rosy states that “It has been an incredibly challenging and difficult few months with the situation surrounding COVID-19 and not to mention the uncertainties of Brexit. While we are still very much in the middle of both these external and uncontrollable factors, we have a very clear vision for our future and look forward to the next 150 years!”
What’s your favourite Magee piece in your wardrobe?
What new arrivals are you most looking forward to this season?
Rosy: The Donegal tweed salt & pepper Georgie gilet.
Charlotte: The Clooney coat – in a soft grey and white cashmere houndstooth.
What’s a piece of advice that you’ve carried with you and who is it from?
Rosy: Mum has always told each of us since we were little to ‘be true to yourself’ and ‘to follow your own path’. Sometimes this might mean going against the grain, I’ve had a fairly un-conventional career from working at Christie’s Auction House to a food start up to cycling solo in Patagonia but it’s always worth daring to explore and to return all the better for the experience gained. And as siblings now working together, we all respect our very ‘individual’ characters!
Charlotte: Rosy has always been black and white and takes emotion out of a situation. I have a lot to learn in this area, I am very like Dad in that I can get pretty passionate about getting my point of view across. I am trying to take a ‘calm’ leaf out of Rosy’s book with mixed results!
What excites you about the future? / What are you passionate about?
Rosy: I’m so glad to see that amidst the real challenges of Covid-19, sustainability is becoming an urgent conversation. I am hopeful that conversations will translate to much needed action around improving how we treat the planet. At Magee, we are set on building on our heritage of slow fashion and to make sure we leave a brand fit for the next generation.
Charlotte: For the last few months we have been firefighting with COVID-19 but I am lucky now to be fully immersed in the creative and direction of the brand, which is a welcome distraction. I am really excited about our collections evolving into something that we as a family love to wear and use and cannot wait to share this.
Cheeky last question – What’s it really like working with your siblings?
Charlotte: We try to keep emotion to a minimum with business but it creeps in on occasion! However siblings are always there – day or night to talk through both the good and bad, this is very reassuring and invaluable for me, especially on the more challenging issues we might face.
Introducing 1866 CLASSICS, a curated collection of quintessential Magee 1866 styles.
This core collection highlights our star pieces, pieces we have perfected and really can’t improve on. Each piece has been designed and made with longevity in mind.
A smart navy wool suit, crisp white cotton twill shirt, a Donegal tweed cap, a handwoven tweed jacket and long Donegal tweed coats for men; preppy hacking style tweed jackets, Donegal tweed coats and luxurious scarves and pashminas for women. Timeless design that’s impactful season after season.
As a fifth-generation family business, with over 150 years’ experience in designing, weaving and tailoring, we have refined this collection over the years. Inspired by our heritage, these staples are designed for everyday – classic shapes, premium quality, functional and uncompromising in aesthetics. These are styles that will endure for years, pieces that will always have a home in your wardrobe.
We have always been about ‘slow fashion’, it’s in our DNA. The finest of natural fibre yarns like wool and linen, which are biodegradable and renewable, are used to produce our sustainable fabrics and garments.
The collection will evolve, colours and even some new styles may be included, but at its core, this is a collection of pieces that are to be worn, treasured and in fashion next season and beyond.
Growing up with the business since the 1950’s, we sat down with Lynn Temple, Chairman of Magee 1866 and fourth generation family member and asked him 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 1950s, 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!
A little boy’s magical 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 70s and 80s, we very much upped our game to further develop tailoring around the ‘business suit’. The Weaving Mill shifted gears in the late 60s and 70s 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.
Now, we see the market changing again to incorporate far more lifestyle and casual garments. We believe beautiful tailoring will always have a place in the market (and is still a core element for our business) but the world has become a more casual place. For us it is 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. Weaving in Donegal, on the North-West coast of Ireland certainly has its challenges and not least with the current situation surrounding COVID-19 and the uncertainties that we face on a global stage. However as a family, designing and weaving our own cloth is an integral part of who we are and what we stand for. 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. We are developing more casual, relaxed garments with an empathise on natural fabrics. Each piece we design and make has longevity in mind.
It has been an incredibly challenging few months for us with the unprecedented situation surrounding COVID-19 and not to mention the uncertainties with Brexit. However we have been here for over 150 years and are looking to a positive future. My three children are all in the business – Charlotte as Design Director, Patrick as CEO of Magee Weaving, and Rosy as CEO of Magee Clothing & Retail and they are joined by a loyal, energetic and skilled team in Donegal. Despite the uncharted waters we are currently navigating this gives me great heart for our future as an Irish lifestyle brand with a unique slant in that we have our own weaving mill and these luxurious fabrics are incorporated into our clothing and accessory collections. “
Casual Luxe by Magee 1866 is a response to the needs and lifestyle changes of modern-day life. This capsule collection, influenced by weekends on the West Coast of Ireland, is made up of high-quality jersey basics and designed to be worn on their own or layered.
With a colour palette taken directly from the Magee 1866 brand, these pieces are adaptable for lots of weekend activities; from walking on the beach to long, lazy brunches with friends. Key finishing touches include fabrics woven by us in Donegal in our unique 1866 branding, making it a truly original collection.
These on-trend pieces are a seamless blend of luxury and casual, low maintenance and comfort, sophistication and simplicity. Our sustainable message is continued through the use of organic cottons and locally sourced linens. This is a collection to enjoy life’s simple pleasures and each piece is designed with longevity in mind.
One of our favourite pieces in the collection is the Navy Malin 1866 Full Zip Sweat featuring a relaxed fit and contemporary Donegal Tweed herringbone ‘1866’ applique. Mix and match with other pieces in the collection and style with casual chinos for the ultimate weekend look.
The use of houndstooth’s baby brother ‘puppytooth’ is a nod to our weaving heritage. The navy and grey micro pattern of the Puppytooth Malin Full Zip Sweat and Seahill Crew Neck Jumper, adds a twist to classic styles. Both pieces are designed to be layered over a t-shirt from the collection or a casual linen shirt for off-duty comfort without compromising on style.
We’re all looking a bit closer to home for our getaways this year, and we might be bias, but Donegal really does have it all. Voted ‘Coolest Place on the Planet’ by National Geographic in 2017, whether you’re looking for adventurous outdoor pursuits, a bit of luxury or breathtaking scenery, there is something here for you.
Here are some of our family’s top tips for things to see and do on a three-day staycation in Donegal.
Base yourself at the Lough Eske Castle Hotel, this 5-star award winning hotel and spa is nestled at the foot of the Blue Stack Mountains just five miles from Donegal Town. From Cedars Restaurant you can take in sweeping views of the castle gardens and surrounding woodland while enjoying simple, exquisitely fresh ingredients prepared to perfection.
After you get settled at the hotel, take the short, 10-minute drive into Donegal Town – a lively spot all year round. The epic Donegal Castle, built in 1474 sits on the banks of the River Eske and was the stronghold of the O’Donnell clan, one of the most powerful Gaelic families in Ireland. Pop over the bridge and you’ll find the start of the Donegal Bank Trail, a pleasant scenic stroll along the river that takes you out to Donegal Bay and back.
The Diamond is the main hub of Donegal Town, surrounded by café’s and restaurants and our Magee of Donegal shop, which stands on the site of the original drapers shop, founded in 1866. Here we specialise in Magee men’s and women’s wear and accessories – designed and made in Ireland. Other brands include – Barbour, Dubarry, Seasalt and luxury Irish made gifts including Newbridge Silver. Call ahead to arrange a weaving demonstration in our heritage room or take a break at the Weaver’s Loft café where we focus on a seasonal menu and home baking.
Time to explore the Wild Atlantic Way. Just up the coast is Mountcharles Pier, stop for a coffee at the small café there, and have a splash in the ocean if you feel up for it. After enjoying the views across the bay, head toSalthill Gardens, built within old stone walls, this contemporary garden is bursting with flowers, shrubs and vegetables. Wander the paths, peer through rod iron garden gates, and feel as if you’ve stepped into the pages of The Secret Garden. (Open 1 May to 30 September 2020).
Continuing along the coast you will find Killybegs, Ireland’s largest fishing port. Just in time for lunch, The Seafood Shackwill not disappoint. Famous for their seafood chowder (winner of Ireland’s Best Chowder at the 9th All Ireland Chowder Cook Off in Kinsale in 2019) the rest of their offering is delicious too, freshly prepared local seafood all to be enjoyed al fresco accompanied by views of the sea and busy fishing boats.
Onward to Sliabh Liag, the highest sea cliffs in Europe. Stretching to over 600m above sea level, the views are unmissable. Drive to the top of the cliffs, or park and enjoy the hike.
Take the loop back through the winding Glengesh Pass to the heritage town of Ardara, a must for fans of traditional Irish music and also a town steeped in the wool trade. A busy market town, in the late 19th century our founder John Magee would visit the market in Ardara to buy and sell handwoven tweeds. On your return, treat yourself to a delicious dinner at the Lakeside Restaurant at Harvey’s Point Hotel on Lough Eske. Their seven-course tasting dinner is the perfect way to enjoy the best of Irish produce.
Head north to Glenveagh National Park, the second largest national park in Ireland covering 170 square kilometres of hillside above Glenveagh Castle on the shore of Lough Veagh. The park hosts a variety of walking trails to suit everyone from the novice to experienced hiker. The fresh air and stunning views are guaranteed to blow away all your cobwebs. If hiking isn’t your thing, cycling and fishing are also on offer as well as a relaxed stroll through the castle’s walled Victorian gardens.
We hope you enjoy your trip through our home county and the landscapes that have inspired our talented weavers and designers for more than 150 years.
The colour pink can be romantic and beautiful but also bright and vivacious. Its adaptability is just one of the reasons we love to incorporate pink into our cloths and collections.
This season we celebrate the full spectrum of the colour – from the hot and brave pinks with riotous colour bursts reminiscent of the joyful Holi Festival of Colour (and the addictive Candy Crush game), to the relaxed and delicate blush tones that evoke a tranquil vibe powerfully rooted in the authenticity and assurance of nature.
The Subtle Pink Twist
The Grace coat has returned with a luxury multicoloured twist. The exaggerated cotton, wool and silk blend sharkskin weave, features dusky pinks, aqua and sea blues and off-white chunky yarns, interwoven with contemporary gold and silver lurex for a little bit of dazzle!
The Hot Pink
Our hot pink Lily Donegal Tweed jacket provides a luxurious burst of colour to any outfit. The lightweight tweed, designed and woven at our mill by our skilled weavers, is dappled with flecks of teal and purple. The jacket’s princess seams, peak lapel and a cut-away front give it a flattering, feminine appearance without sacrificing on comfort.
Soft pastel colours of violet, ochre and aqua are contrasted against a soft pink base in a wonderfully ornate Liberty Kew garden’s floral print on our Tracy tailored fit shirt. Designed and drawn in the Liberty of London Fabrics studio in a fine line style, this print offers a dreamy and delicate interpretation of Kew Gardens’ tropical flora. Liberty of London Tana Lawn Cotton’s distinctive hand-feel and translucent softness make it a versatile favourite.
Picks for Him
A summery blend of cotton, silk and linen perfectly showcase the dusky pink check in this classic fit Liffey jacket. Designed and woven in Ireland, this opulent fabric blend is light and airy. Styled with a crisp white Irish linen shirt and chinos, this jacket is an ideal way to introduce some colour into your summer wardrobe.
If you’re still a little shy of colour, a great way to dip your toe in, is with knitwear. Styled under jackets or over shirts, a pop of pink, like our Carn Cotton ¼ Zip Jumper, elevates an outfit while keeping you comfortable and warm.
Pink in our Home and Accessory Collections
Another reason we love pink is because it reminds us of home. This time of year, the roses in Salthill’s garden (Mum’s) are in full bloom and provide endless inspiration for our accessory collection.
Pale pink checks and herringbones in the softest blends of wool, cashmere and alpaca, woven in Donegal by us bring a touch of luxury to your interiors.
Green is the colour that best describes Ireland – the green Shamrock is an internationally renowned symbol for our beautiful country and we are known for our rolling green fields of varying shades.
Summer in Ireland captures our ‘green label’ at its best. Our fields and hedgerows, leafy green trees and mossy banks. Take a moment to close your eyes and image the smell of freshly cut grass and listen to the soft sound of rustling leaves in a summer breeze.
Here in Donegal, we are especially fortunate to be surrounded by such a rich and unique landscape. Yes, North-West Ireland does have its summer showers! However without an ‘Irish summer’ we would not have this lush environment of ever-changing colours and seasons. These natural colours have been part of the inspiration for our luxury Donegal fabrics for over the past 150 years.
We continue to be motivated by our surroundings and it’s no surprise that because of this, the colour green features regularly in our collections.
With a base of soft mossy green, delicately crossed with dark olive, soft coral and bubble-gum pink, The Georgie Nehru neck waistcoat and Lily Country Check Tweed Jacket bring a pretty, feminine slant on a traditional micro-windowpane design. This soft lambswool cloth is designed and woven by us in Donegal. Perfect summer tweeds!
The cloth for our 100% Pure New Wool Carey skirt was designed and woven at our mill in Donegal, teaming sage and olive greens with highlights of denim, sky blue, golden oat and magenta in a traditional check. It is easy to see how this versatile piece has become a firm favourite in the Magee 1866 Women’s Collection. Style with our Linsfort coat – a great outfit for autumn racing.
Just as in nature, in weaving, green is the perfect base with which to compliment bright or bold colours like the mauve, gold and claret red featured in our Green Herringbone Donegal Tweed Flat Cap. But green can also stand firmly alone, our Green Salt & Pepper Handwoven Donegal Tweed Classic Fit Jacket epitomises the heritage of and landscape surrounding our mill in Donegal. This green salt & pepper tweed is handwoven by us in Donegal. A Magee 1866 handwoven blazer is a must for your wardrobe! Style with chinos and a linen shirt for a timeless look.
You can always bring the outdoors in by adding a little green to your interiors. A soft green evokes a sense of calm. With a luxurious blend of lambswool and cashmere and a duck down filling, you can imagine snuggling up on the sofa on our Green Herringbone cushion, under a lambswool throw watching the summer showers pass. Our throws are made in Ireland.
Oatmeal – perhaps not a traditional name for a colour but preferable to beige! I have recently started to love to wear this colour – a quiet, natural tone which can be beautiful on its own or great with sky blues and khaki greens. It comes in a variety of tones but generally pale with hints or yellow, cream, grey with soft green undertones. It is a perfect summer colour – best found in linens, wools and silks.
Oatmeal is a colour very much inspired by nature.
The Eske Cape (lambswool) – a creamy oat works amazingly with blue – this season we have combined these natural colours to create a classic oat crossed with a contemporary sky blue stripe. These beautiful capes are designed, woven and made by us in Donegal. We love this Alicia patch pocket linen blazer featuring a golden oat and blue nautical stripe.
Colour is at the heart of what we do at Magee 1866, in the 1960’s our mill started to focus on more colourful fabrics, moving away from the functional, hardwearing tweeds which sometimes lacked colour into more design lead cloths, inspired by our surrounding land and seascape. The ‘true Donegal tweed’ is a salt and pepper which is speckled with bright colours – gorse yellows, sea blues, sky greys, mossy greens, fuchsia pinks and leafy reds and oranges.
Blue is one of my favourite colours and a seasonal classic – summer or winter and a colour that works across men’s, women’s and home accessories. We take much of our inspiration from nature and in Donegal we are surrounded by blues – the sea, the sky (albeit often grey!), flowers and our landscape. The mountains near Donegal town are aptly named the Bluestack mountains.
We use blue across many pieces from the more formal to casual. It is an easy colour to wear and has such an amazing colour palette from classic navies to mid-denim to pale blues. I love this herringbone mid-blue Emma coat – with a soft creamy white contrast.
Blue is a beautiful colour to incorporate into your home, on its own in varying shades or mixed with oats, greys or creams.