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We talk to Patrick Temple, CEO of Magee Weaving and Susie Page, Magee Textile Designer about what brought them to work in one of Ireland’s oldest weaving mills and where mill’s direction is for the future.

As one of the 5th generation behind Magee 1866 and as an engineer by training, Patrick has a real affinity with the Mill. Patrick shares with us what drew him to this specific area of Magee 1866 from a young age: 

‘’When I was a child, Dad and I would often call in with hand-weavers around rural Donegal, some of the weavers lived miles away and it was always a great expedition to find our way up narrow side roads in the mountainous valleys. I loved being allowed into the ‘weaver’s shed’ where the loom sat with its well-worn seat. I was always asking dozens of questions about how the loom worked and how all of those of yarns came together to form ‘Donegal Tweed’, a fabric that has been part of the local heritage in the northwest of Ireland for centuries. Donegal Tweed is a woollen fabric, distinctive in its flecks of colour and ‘salt and pepper’ or ‘herringbone’ patterns. Donegal Tweed is what our ancestor, John Magee, started buying back in the 1860s and that heritage remains very much part of who we are today. 

I was also in and out of the Mill all the time, running about the warping machines and looms…health and safety wasn’t quite so rigorous in the early 1990s! As you might have guessed, I was the child with a lot of Lego and Meccano sets, so the literal nuts and bolts of weaving naturally appealed. Although, I didn’t go straight into the Weaving after school as Dad always encouraged us to go off and do our own thing before getting involved, so I trained as an Engineer in Trinity College, Dublin. This led to work in London, Sydney and then Scotland where my main project involved developing wave energy as a sustainable and renewable resource. In my late twenties, I was then ready to come back to the Weaving Mill. I was immediately involved in all of the complex areas around production, working through the logistics and operations of turning tonnes of yarn into thousands of meters of fabric each season. I work with highly skilled teams from the textile designers to warpers, weavers, finishers and menders on the mill floor. I feel privileged to work with people who have been connected to weaving and Magee for generations. Today, we work to bring all of this knowledge into our fabric and work with our designers to bring a contemporary edge to this wealth of heritage.’’

This means that an emphasis on design and creativity is key to us today and for our future. Susie Page, one of our lead fabric designers, came to us from Scotland, which also has a rich heritage in textile design and manufacturing.

“I wanted to do something connected with fabric design, so I came to Donegal, which is really renowned for its tweed and craft history. Donegal is such a lovely place to live and work, but due to the variety of customers we work with, we also have the opportunity to travel throughout the world. We get inspiration from what we see in shops and exhibitions in key cities such as London and New York, but here in Donegal, we also get the peace we need for design inspiration. It’s good to have that balance.”



When designing fabric, our design team consider both our rich heritage taken from our beautiful archive, in balance with new trends that we see coming through within the fashion world.

“We’re always trying to do something new and innovative”, Susie says, “while covering our classics as well. Each season we include new creative patterns and colour combinations. When working with customers, we sometimes get new ideas from them as well; they might request a colour combination that we haven’t thought of, and in exchange we often surprise our customers with traditional patterns used in different ways, in new colour palettes, which is exciting for them, too.”

For our fabric designers, the process begins with creating mood boards and deciding on the qualities of fabrics they want to develop that season, and the stories they want to tell through that fabric. Whether it’s a traditional Irish linen or a rich Donegal Tweed.

They then design the yarn that will make up the fabric. Working closely with our spinners in developing our own colours, our designers will select the finer details down to for example the nepps of colour that come through in our Donegal Tweeds.

Our designers then create ‘blankets’, which showcase different colour combinations, woven together in one fabric. Sometimes unexpected colour combinations can inspire a new direction for their collection, but usually they have planned the exact end result they would like to achieve.

The finalised designs then go into production within our weaving mill, where the fabric is warped, woven and finished by our expert team, ready to be shipped off into the world. This fabric is used then by our own Magee 1866 clothing collections, as well as also being exported internationally to other clothing brands, tailors, and more.

And finally, an all-important word on sustainability. Patrick’s experience in work with renewable energy together with the family’s inherent interest and respect for the environment means that sustainability has always been relevant to the Mill. Today, it is really front of mind. For Patrick, it is essential to continue working with natural, biodegradable and renewable fibres like wool, cashmere, and flax. These fibres weave together to make fabric which stands the test of time. 

“Magee Weaving brings you a unique fabric which is deeply imbued with the knowledge of generations of weavers, brought to life by the vibrancy of our design and by its very nature, a sustainable choice.”

My early memories of Magee as a child were built around what Dad wore as he left for the office at exactly 0750 every morning – namely a navy suit with a brightly coloured tie. (While Dad has never worked directly in our design departments, he has always had a natural flare for colour and styling!) The upstairs wardrobe was full of soft earthy brown and green houndstooth jackets with the odd thornproof suit in a moss green with a fine red thread running through (great for dressing up in as a child!). My brother and I also acquired a bright green linen/silk bolt that we used for ‘tent’s and ‘hide-outs’ in the woods at home. Probably not the final end use desired by the Weaving designer at the time but perfect for us – 65m went a long way for these structures.

Our fabrics and garments have evolved over the years, but the core message of quality and producing a timeless product has always been at the heart of what we do. We focus on natural fibres – wool, alpaca, cashmere, linen and silk. Traditionally Magee 1866 concentrated on jacket and suits, I joined the business in 2012 and while I have no formal training in design, I have been steeped in our brand since a child and love and believe in the the idea of taking a clothing brand and building a lifestyle around it. This is what we are striving to do and use our amazing fabrics as much as possible in these collections.

The Magee 1866 fabrics would have been originally all handwoven and their function was not fashion but utility. In the 1960’s two leading Irish designers – Sybill Connelly and Irene Gilbert started to use our Donegal tweed in the women’s collection. We have always been renowned for our brightly coloured and intricately designed apparel fabrics. In 2018 we launched our first interiors collection.

While we do buy from other mills, particularly in suiting – the UK and Italy, this vertical approach from mill to finished garment allows us to develop truly unique fabrics for our product collections.

Each season we are working to subtly push the boundaries, combining the best of Donegal cloths with contemporary styling – AW19 the Duffle and Alexa coat, while still retaining our more classic pieces. A tricky balance! The Autumn Winter season is so strong for us, colours are rich with earthy tones and our natural cloths really come into their own.

Trends are evolving all the time and the casual direction the world is moving is very prevalent – I still believe there will always be room for a smartly tailored suit, so much so we have just launched an extensive made to measure service!

Spring Summer is a little more difficult, but we are looking to develop the Irish linen story across a number of products and use a more softer colour base across our lightweight wools. For us the ideal spring piece is something that can transcend seasons, particularly in Ireland where our weather is so unpredictable.

A sneak preview to SS20 and our Irish linen suit in an olive green Glencheck (also available in navy) is a wardrobe must – the great thing about this suit is how you can mix up the styling – the checked jacket with plain linen trousers and a t-shirt or the trousers with one of our Irish linen grandfather shirts (an exclusive made in Ireland product). Embracing the casual trends we are introducing a casual lux collection.

I have been working with our team to review how we can use our beautiful Donegal tweeds and linens in some timeless and the more quirky accessories, e.g. our Donegal tweed teddy bear (Made in the UK) and our throws – made in Donegal by us. This is an exciting area for development – watch this space!

This autumn, we’re celebrating women with a series of interviews, focusing on women in Ireland. We’re wrapping up with Magee 1866’s Rosy Temple, fifth-generation family member and manager of marketing and retail at Magee 1866.

Can you tell us about your decision to join the family business?

As a teenager growing up, the family business was part and parcel of everyday conversation but I didn’t at first consider it as a career. I was set on doing my own thing and spent most of my twenties in the UK; at the University of York and then working in London. I started work in the corporate art world, selling 19th century pictures at Christie’s Auction House. After three years there, I was itching to explore other types of business and jumped ship to work in a food and drink start up called Rebel Kitchen. The contrast was certainly refreshing, a small ‘go go’ team were responsibility came quick and change was fast. I was fortunate to have some excellent senior directors as willing mentors who gave me invaluable commercial experience on all things brand, together with marketing and management skills. After five years in London, thoughts began to turn both to Ireland and the family business. 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. Even though it is over 150 years old, I watched a business that was making changes. I saw that the collections kept sight of our heritage but also moved forward; my grandfather would never have envisaged us bringing a duffle coat to the fore! I joined in April 2018 and haven’t looked back since!

Any advice for young women finding their way professionally?

I think it is really worth taking time to truly explore what you want to do and understand what drives you. This can take time! There is a lot of social pressure to be ‘successful’ but I think that we need to carefully consider what makes us tick and what gives us a sense of purpose.

When at work, whatever your gender, I do think it is important to wear clothing which makes you feel your best. If there is an important meeting with external clients, give yourself confidence by wearing something strong and well-tailored. For me, I’d choose the Moyne suit. It is a beautiful fabric and cut. Putting it on, well, it makes you feel ready to take on whatever the day throws at you!

Best piece of advice you’ve received?

Most definitely from my Mum, she always advises ‘be true to yourself’. For me, this equates to following your own distinctive path and being confident in doing so.

Left to right: Rosy Temple, Marketing Manager, and Charlotte Temple, Director of Design

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

The whole area around sustainability is very important for me. It is a huge buzz word at the moment, it is encouraging that the discussion on the environment is very much in the mainstream media. Now though, we need to make sure to turn words to action. For us at Magee 1866, this means continuing to use natural fibres like wool which are re-newable and biodegradable and to promote slow-fashion. We are continuing to explore ways that will improve how we do business in a more environmentally friendly way. This is often not easy but a challenge that this is worth tackling head on.

Personal style philosophy?

As you might have guessed, I am a big believer in making considered purchases which stand the test of time. Each season, I will add a couple of investment pieces and this AW19, I have my eye on the Alexa coat which is made from fabric woven in our mill and full of character. It is the sort of coat that should be passed on to the next generation!

Your favourite local spot & why?

I’m a fan of the outdoors, from cycling to swimming and mountain running! Without a doubt, my top spot is Salthill Pier (Co. Donegal) which is a stone’s throw from home. Whatever the weather or time of year, you will find me jumping off the pier for a swim!

Your perfect day?

I live between Dublin and Donegal which is a lovely contrast of city and rural life. Donegal does probably win on being the location for a perfect day though! I’ll always kick-start with a swim, followed by a couple of hours out on the bike or on foot up in the local hills. I just love heading up into the Bluestacks and feel so lucky to have such invigorating scenery right on the doorstep. I have started growing vegetables, which is surprisingly time-consuming but totally worth it. So an ideal day would of course include some spuds from the veg patch for lunch! On winter days especially, I’ll light the fire, switch off my phone and take time to really enjoy some decent books on anything from fiction to philosophy. Of course, I’ll make sure to have a throw handy to stay cosy! To round off the day, an evening in a local pub with friends hits the spot.

Shop our collection of women’s jackets, with exquisite tailoring to give you a boost of confidence.

This autumn, we’re celebrating women with a series of interviews, focusing on women in Ireland. We got the chance to interview Easkey Britton, a Donegal native, five-time Irish National Surfing Champion, who also holds a Ph.D in Environment & Society.

Can you tell us what it was like venturing into surfing, researching, teaching?

Growing up in Rossnowlagh by the sea, I’ve been in love with water for as long as I can remember. The sea is the single greatest influencer in my life and for me surfing is this playful medium that allows me to indulge in that passion and which has also allowed me to build a career. The sea is a constantly changing environment that fuels my curiosity and I think this translates well into my academic interests. I earned a first class BSc in Environmental Science and a PhD in Environment and Society, specialising in human well-being and coastal resilience, both at Ulster University. Surfing during my studies also helped me keep a healthy work-life balance, and clear perspective on the importance of always doing what you love and not postponing that desire. I’ve found a way to weave my passion for the sea, surfing and helping to foster a more positive relationship between people and the sea in my current research post at NUIG.

Any advice for young women finding their way professionally?

I increasingly see a pressure to always be ‘on’. That constant drive to create change, or make a difference, often leads to burn-out.  For me, I noticed I was going through a pattern where I’d reach the mid-point of each year (around June) and my physical and emotional health would start to crash and burn, because I’d been in ‘doing’ mode constantly all year. To break the pattern I began to track the moments in my life when I felt most alive and full of energy, and what were those moments when I was left feeling drained or exhausted. Slowly, I’ve come to understand the importance of cycles. We all have them, men and women. Because we’re living beings we’re influenced by our environment and are affected by the cycles of night and day, the moon, the seasons… As women, we are gifted with an internal cycle – if we’d only been taught to better listen to our bodies. Our body tells us when it’s time to act and when it’s time to rest. I’m beginning to develop a greater awareness of my menstrual cycle in the last couple of years, and it has had a profound effect on my work-life balance and energy levels. It helps me understand my own inner ebb and flow, the high cost of always being ‘on’ in a society that rewards ‘being busy’, and the equally important need for stillness and reflection.

Best piece of advice you’ve received?

There is a saying in my family passed from my grandfather to my mother to me, ‘out of the hottest fire comes the finest tempered steel’. It reminds me as we face the greatest challenges of our lifetime that change can also strengthen and transform, that no matter how tough it seems right now, if we allow ourselves to move through challenge rather than resist it there is incredible potential for transformation. 

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

Exploring the links between nature, health and well-being and, especially how water and the sea can impact health and well-being both at an individual level and within communities is at the core of what I do – it’s the focus of my research on the EU funded SOPHIE (Seas, Oceans and Public Health in Europe) project.

Personal style philosophy?

Do no harm. Be conscious, natural and responsible. As much as possible use the power you have as a consumer, and as a citizen, to buy products that are local, made with natural materials in an ethical way causing as little harm as possible. And think about the end-life of a product, what waste will it create and how might we recycle or upcycle? Always ask questions, this creates more awareness.

Your favourite local spot & why?

There are so many in Donegal! It’s hard to beat Rossnowlagh beach, although I love heading to the pier at Mountcharles with my grandmother. Sometimes I’ll swim and then we just sit and drink in the incredible 180 degree views of the bay and mountains. It’s a stunning perspective. My grandmother calls the sea there a ‘tonic for the soul.’

Your perfect day?

One filled with waves, a surf or dip in the sea before breakfast is hard to beat. I’m energised for the day!

Shop our collection of Donegal tweed, made with renewable and biodegradable fibres like wool and cashmere.

Every gentleman needs one smart, well-fitting suit in his arsenal, something to break out for special occasions. As your wedding is the ultimate special occasion, it is the perfect time to invest in a suit for life. Here are our top tips!

1|the quality

Unlike brides, grooms have the benefit of being able to wear their wedding day attire well past the big day. We have been designing and tailoring beautiful suits for over a 150 years and have perfected the suit. Quality is key for us – starting with the fabric – luxury tweeds, Italian or British wools and Irish linen. We pay special attention to the trim details – linings, piping, contrast pocket details, collar meltons and horn buttons.

Edward and David, were married in August 2019 at Cloughjordan House in Co Tipperary, Ireland.
Photo by Louise Scott Photography

2|the fit

We think that one of the most important parts of getting a great-looking suit is ensuring your garment fits perfectly. Sleeves that finish just above the wrist bone, a jacket that stays smooth when buttoned across the front, trousers that just skim the top of the shoe without catching: these are all the details that you need to get right to ensure a smart and sophisticated look. For your wedding day, we recommend getting a made to measure suit, ensuring the perfect fit from the start, or if you do find the perfect suit off-the-peg, we have expert tailors who can tweak and make small adjustments if required.

3|the style

Choosing the style of your suit is where you can show off a bit of personal flair. Narrow lapels, and straight or narrow-leg trousers are both popular at the moment, but that doesn’t mean you can’t step out with something more bold. Think wide, peak lapels on the jacket for a vintage-inspired look!

Navy suits have ruled the day for a long time and are still a firm favourite – an all-time classic that can be worn again and again, but why not add a bit of personality with a checked fabric? This Autumn brown suits are also making a strong comeback, bringing a smart, retro vibe to the wedding scene. A contrast waistcoat can also add a fun pop of colour to a three-piece suit. Our speciality is the Donegal tweed suit – a truly timeless suit!

If stepping away from the classic three-piece suit our recommendations would be the traditional morning suit – double up with a day at Ascot or the 007 inspired dinner suit for a very smooth look!

Catharine and Andrew were married in April 2019 at The Stone House in Nevada, USA.

4|the details

The finishing touches to your outfit are key – a crisp white or blue cotton shirt, a silk knitted tie (the knit is great for a vintage look with a tweed suit) and a pocket square, which adds a nice touch. Our Made to Measure option also includes embroidery – e.g. the date of your wedding or your names.

5|after the event

You’ll get the most mileage out of a well-fitting three-piece suit; it can be broken down into separates and worn lots of different ways. Pair the trousers with a smart knit and coat for a day at the races; wear the jacket as a blazer over chinos for date night. Your wedding suit will be a wardrobe favourite for years to come with a little creative flair, bringing back great memories every time you do.

A Donegal tweed suit worn 3 ways

Looking for your perfect suit? Our Made to Measure service gives you the opportunity to design your own suit, perfectly fitted to your measurements.

We would like the thank both our beautiful couples who featured in this blog for letting us use their photos. We wish them every happiness in the years to come and thank you for choosing to wear Magee!

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

We’re excited to introduce the latest piece to our Home collection, made in collaboration with Merrythought bears in the UK. These bears are adorable heirloom pieces, made with Magee Weaving tweed, and come with a wonderful history.

“We wanted to work with Merrythought because they have similar values to Magee 1866,” says Charlotte Temple, fifth-generation family member and Director of Design. “They’re a family-owned business based in England. All their bears are handmade there in their factory, and made to last, which is important to us.”

Since 1907, Merrythought have been crafting artisan bears with their own unique designs. Their team of teddy bear makers use traditional methods to craft their bears from start to finish in their famous Ironbridge factory, using blends of mohair, alpaca, silks, cottons and other wool. Like Magee 1866, they’re a fourth-generation family run business and take pride in putting out a top-quality product.

For our Magee 1866 x Merrythought bears, our design team chose a selection of our best quality tweeds, designed and woven at our weaving mill in Donegal. Our Magee bears feature all the signature looks of a Merrythought classic, with fully jointed arms and legs, a satin ribbon, and velvet details.

See more of Glen the Bear as he travels around Ireland. Follow #wheresthebear to see his adventures on social media!

Photos of Merrythought via Caters News, by James Ward

There’s no doubt that the iconic Peaky Blinders series from BBC One, and especially Cillian Murphy’s performance of 20th-century ganglord, Tommy Shelby, has had a huge influence on men’s style everywhere. We can see its influence all over the streets of Ireland and the UK, from men’s haircuts to the rising popularity of the baker cap.

Magee 1866 has over 150 years of history, designing, weaving and tailoring, so of course, Peaky Blinders ticks all the boxes for us. We wouldn’t recommend rocking up to work on Monday in a full three-piece tweed suit with a baker’s cap on top (unless you really want to?) but with a bit of modern sense, you can achieve the Tommy Shelby look for any occasion.

1 | The Suit

For the role of Tommy Shelby, costume designer Stephanie Collie had several suits made by London-based tailor Keith Watson.

Having a suit that fits well is essential; it will give you that Tommy Shelby swagger without all the criminal activity. Fitted, tapered trousers will give any man more height, and give a modern look. The trousers mightn’t be entirely historically accurate in Peaky Blinders (apparently bell-bottoms were the look of choice) but the tailored trouser is definitely sharp looking, and we would recommend going the same way.

Among the Shelby clan, tweed rules the day, with grey herringbone and dark checks coming through. This look is reminiscent of another era, while still being entirely comfortable, modern and wearable. If you’re going all-out, definitely include the waistcoat (and a pocket watch!) but for an updated look, you can make it more casual by leaving the waistcoat at home. It’s good to have options.

Three piece grey tailored Donegal Tweed suit. €699.

2 | Outerwear

The Baker’s cap is potentially the most essential part of this look, dare we say it. It’s different to a flat cap, as it has a more structured design and a button on top. These caps were a popular choice in the early 20th century.

And then, of course, there’s the coat. Cillian Murphy’s character is seen in a long wool coat with a prominent lapel. His coat is slightly oversized (probably for gun-slinging purposes) but it makes an attractive silhouette, and is easy to wear over a suit.

Other essential details include black gloves, sturdy boots, and a pocket watch, at your discretion.

Left to right: Arranmore Double Breasted Donegal Tweed Coat. Doonalt Tailored Coat. assorted men’s caps.

3 | The Shirt

Especially in the first season, Tommy Shelby is seen pretty much exclusively in a penny-collar shirt, sans tie. Difficult enough to find today, the grandfather collar shirt is a suitable substitute, with the same rounded collar and button-up neck. Style it with a crisp white linen for the Tommy Shelby look, or a striped cotton flannel for added warmth.

Left: Irish-made linen grandfather shirt. Right: Striped Irish cotton grandfather shirt.

4 | The Dinner Suit

For a man whose idea of ‘business casual’ is a three-piece suit and pocketwatch, it’s no surprise that Cillian Murphy’s character goes all-out for formal wear. The black dinner suit has a timeless, cinematic elegance, and it’s making a comeback.

The dinner suit is usually worn as a two-piece – jacket and trousers – with a crisp white formal shirt and a black bowtie, just like Tommy Shelby above.

Left to right: Two piece dinner suit. Silk self-tie bow tie. Slim fit formal shirt.

Magee 1866 have been specialising in tailoring and luxury fabrics for over 150 years. We have always been renowned for our durable, hard-wearing suits – namely the original thorn-proof. This heavy, worsted woollen suit, made in the Convoy woollen mills in Donegal, simply didn’t wear out – the story goes that you could push a pencil through the cloth and then give the cloth a quick rub and one would never have known a pencil or said pencil hole had been there.

Fast forward to today and we are still producing sophisticated and beautifully tailored suits. Fabrics have developed over the years and have become much more lightweight and functional for today’s needs. The world is becoming a more casual place, but we strongly believe there will always be a place for a well-cut suit.

Here are a few of my favourite looks and outfits for the 9 – 5 week day wardrobe that work within the hectic lifestyle we all juggle today.

The Donegal tweed suit – drawing on our heritage we have adapted the original, rustic, (and a little bit rough) Donegal tweed and developed a fine, lambswool quality with the distinctive salt & pepper fleck. This season you can purchase this unique suit as a Mix & Match – i.e the jacket, trouser and waistcoat separately – this works really well if you are a. not a standard 6-inch drop (all our ‘nested suits’ are designed with a 6-inch drop – i.e. the difference between the jacket and trousers, e.g. a size 40R jacket will carry a 34R trouser) and b. you might not want the waistcoat but it does make for a lovely option on it’s own without a jacket, in case you are tempted! Here are four ways to wear your Donegal suit.

The classic pure new wool ‘business’ suit – new for this season, a luxury fine worsted wool featuring a subtle check with blue and on-trend brown. This luxurious fabric is designed and woven in England by Alfred Brown. Style with one of our luxury cotton white twill shirts and knit tie.

The Travel suit – this lightweight, stretch suit does exactly what is says on the tin – a durable, functional and yet very smart wool blend suit is a must for your work wardrobe. The fabric is designed to wear exceptionally well; travel – cars, trains and planes, it withstands long days in the office and it looks pretty good out of a suitcase. The added stretch makes this a really comfy suit. We do offer a waistcoat in this style but we also recommend the Kilgole knit waistcoat – a slightly more casual alternative to the classic suit waistcoat. This suit is available in black, navy or grey – and in two fits – classic & tailored.

Dress down options – while there will always be a place for a beautiful suit, we know there is an increasing need for a casual office look. Think comfortable chinos, (ours have 2% stretch = added comfort), a casual check shirt and cotton knitwear. If you need to dress it up a little, try one of our lightweight wool jackets – a great early fall/mid-season jacket.

The City Coat – all our coats are designed to wear over a suit jacket or standard blazer. This Autumn Winter the collection includes functional, shower-proof, lightweight Macs, cashmere blend classic wool car coats and my favourite – the Erne, a Donegal tweed raglan sleeve mid-length overcoat. (Available end September)

Finishing touches

We have a unique collection of luxury accessories – English bridle leather belts – made in the UK, tweed and leather bags – the tweed is designed and woven by us in Donegal, Ireland. We also have a beautiful collection of ties and pocket hankies.

The Magee Made to Measure service is also worth remembering if you are looking for a suit for the office that fits you perfectly and features design details that you have chosen from our extensive collection – e.g. buttons, linings, collar meltons, piping and perhaps you initials embroidered on the inside left or under the collar.

Find out more – Made to Measure – own stores and selected stockists in the UK and Ireland.

Planning for Autumn Winter 2020 started at the end of May, with an initial concept and style meeting. It is always a little hard thinking about a season a year away, before the current Fall season has even landed and while in the middle of finishing up for Spring Summer 2020!

I would describe our small luxury brand as ‘slow fashion’, a more sustainable approach to fashion, which we believe very strongly in. Our collections are designed to stand the test of time and while we are reactive and very receptive to trends we are not entirely driven by the latest ‘must-have’ fad. This is a relief when looking a year down the line as we know we have a great core range of products to work from and are not reinventing the wheel every season. We have classic blocks and styles that we run year on year, we tweak where required and develop some key new styles to enhance the collection.

Our fabric selection does change from season to season and we are looking to push the boundaries here, particularly in our women’s collection. Traditionally we would have played it quite safe with colourful, yet classic checks and herringbones. Now we are embracing what our own Weaving mill does best on the international market – bold, intricate and colourful fabrics. These stand-out pieces are really quite special and balanced with timeless designs – e.g. herringbones and plains.

While a large focus of the Magee 1866 collections is around our own fabrics – we work with a number of other mills namely in the UK, Italy and Portugal. These mills bring something different – a worsted suiting, a luxury silk print, cottons for trousers, shirting fabrics and an increasing number of technical fabrics for outerwear.

Liberty of London silk print and Italian silks.

Two days in Milan (where our own Weaving also showcase the next season) covers the majority of these mills. This time is spent going from mill to mill, viewing their collections and sampling. I love it – exhausting but exciting to see what other mills are working at and over the course of the show next Autumn’s collection really starts to take shape.

Luxury natural fibre yarns

There is an increasing drive across fashion for brands and consumers to adopt a more sustainable approach to fashion.

Trend inspiration for Autumn Winter 2020.

A snapshot of our own Weaving stand at Milan – showcasing what we do best – luxury and natural fabrics. Cashmeres, wools and alpacas.

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