Want to Join #WearingIrish in March? Here’s Everything You Need to Know.

Celebrating Internatonal Women’s Day at Lunch Hosted by the Irish Consul General to New York, March 2o16

Since I created #WearingIrish in March 2016, I’ve received dozens of questions. I’ve responded to enthusiasts and skeptics. Below I answer the most frequently asked questions. I’m unfiltered. Some of it may surprise you.

Here’s a link with tips for designers of Irish brands who want to get involved.

1. What is #WearingIrish? — I launched #WearingIrish in 2016 to promote Irish fashion by inviting friends of Ireland to wear fashion or accessories by Irish designers during the month of March and to post their photos on social media using hashtag #wearingirish.

2. I love the idea. What inspired you to create #WearingIrish? — Like many people, every March I attend events to celebrate all that is great about Ireland and being Irish. Ireland is the only country in the world that can claim a month. I’m also a fan of good design. It is clear to me that Irish fashion does not get the visibility that it deserves. And as a marketer, I am fascinated by the possibilities that social media provides for ordinary citizens to show their support for brands and causes. Connecting all three interests — fashion, marketing, and Irish heritage — I saw an opportunity for people to come together on social media to support Irish designers, especially when all eyes are on Ireland in March.

3. What’s your vision for #WearingIrish? — My ambition is that we can create a movement around #WearingIrish, that men and women around the world will choose to buy at least one item of Irish fashion to wear every March. Ultimately, it’s about building Ireland’s reputation for fashion in the same way that Ireland’s food industry has blossomed.

4. Sounds great but I don’t have anything to wear. I don’t know Irish designers. How can I get started? — I got you covered. Pardon the pun! Here’s a directory of brands with links to where to buy them: Margaret Molloy’s Top #WearingIrish Picks

5. Any ideas for MEN who want to join #WearingIrish? — The directory has a list of great options for men, too.

6. I don’t live in Ireland or plan to visit before March. Is it possible to buy online? Yes. Many of the brands I list ship globally. Some ship for free.

7. To participate do I have to wear Irish head-to-toe? — There are no rules. Dress head-to-toe in Irish fashion or pick one item or accessory to celebrate. Go casual, workwear, party, occasion, traditional or contemporary. The idea is that you are wearing Irish without compromising your personal style.

8. What about Irish jewelry or accessories? — There is an amazing variety of jewelry and accessories by Irish designers available. Check out the directory.

9. I’m in. How often do you post your #WearingIrish pictures to social media? How often would you like me to post? — In March I post a different outfit every day, sometimes two if I have an evening engagement. Of course, I know that is extreme. I’d love for you to post as often or as a little as you like. One social media post in March would be fantastic. The more the better.

Necklace by Manley

10. When it comes to social media, what’s the most important thing you would like me to do to support #WearingIrish? — When you post your photo(s) on social media don’t forget to use the hashtag #wearingirish. And while it’s fun to look at other people’s photos, please remember to like or share these posts too.

11. I’m not a fashionista and certainly not a model. It feels odd for me to pose and post pictures of myself?

#WearingIrish isn’t about fashion models it’s about role models. It’s about real people showing their support for Irish fashion in everyday situations.

12. I’ve always thought of designer fashions as expensive. What can I do if I want to join but don’t want to splurge? — One of the appealing aspects of Irish fashion is that there are options for every budget — from couture to smart-workwear to fast-fashion–there’s something for every budget. Take a look at the directory.

13. I haven’t paid attention to Irish fashion. Sweaters and tweeds are fine for some people but not my thing. Is there such a thing as modern Irish fashion? — There is truly something for every taste from the traditional textiles and heraldic jewelry to cutting-edge modern dresses, contemporary jewelry, sumptuous scarves and bags for men and women. What’s more, some of the more traditional fabrics and jewelry designs now have a modern twist. If you haven’t looked in a while, you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

My dress by FeeG

14. I’m hosting an event for my company or organization in March and I plan to wear Irish. Can I incorporate #WearingIrish? Any tips? — Fantastic. Consider communicating to your guests in advance that you plan to take #WearingIrish group photos to post on social media — in that way your guests can come prepared.

15. Is the idea to post selfies? — Post any photos you like. Selfies can be great. Or ask a friend to take your picture. Group pictures are outstanding too. Post the photos that you like and chances are your friends will enjoy them too.

16. What’s the best background for me to use for my photos for #WearingIrish? — I personally like outdoors pictures. It’s wonderful to see different backdrops from places around the globe. That said, whatever background you love is great. Tips: Make sure your followers can see the Irish items in the picture. For best results, aim for good lighting.

17. I’m active on Instagram but not Twitter or Facebook. How can I include #WearingIrish? — Please feel free to share your #WearingIrish pictures on any or all the platforms. The important thing is to include the hashtag #WearingIrish in order to track our collective reach and engagement.

18. I’m on Facebook/Twitter/Instagram, but I don’t feel comfortable posting pictures. How can I help? — If you can’t join by posting pictures, please consider spreading the word about #WearingIrish by amplifying others’ posts on social media. A tweet, a retweet, a like, a comment are all great contributions. Please follow me now and search for #WearingIrish as often as you can in March.

19. When do I get started? — You can begin posting your photos using #WearingIrish in March, but you can start now to spread the work, and, of course, shopping for the pieces to wear.

20. Who is paying you to run this campaign? — This is purely a personal effort to support Irish fashion design. It’s not a paid campaign and I’m not sponsored. I do this as a passion project.

21. What’s your day job? — My regular job is Chief Marketing Officer of Siegel+Gale, a global branding firm.

Dress by Lennon Courtney for Dunnes Stores. Necklace by Melissa Curry.

22. This is your second year doing #wearingirish? What did you learn last year? Any surprises? — My first lesson from the 2016 pilot was that there is an abundance of untapped goodwill towards the idea of supporting Irish designers. My second takeaway was that the awareness of Irish fashion brands is very low. And my third discovery was that the quality and variety of Irish fashion products is world class.

23. I followed #WearingIrish last year. What’s new for 2017? — After a successful 2016 pilot, I’m expecting lots of buzz and many more participants from across the globe. I hope to see lots of group pictures as well as individual shots.
After March, I plan to profile #WearingIrish “sartorial ambassadors,” individuals and organizations that embrace the spirit of the movement. Want to be featured? Watch this blog and my social media channels for updates.

24. When you talk about #WearingIrish do you mean products that are made in Ireland? — The spirit of the #WearingIrish movement is to create awareness for the creativity of Irish designers, including Irish designers practicing their craft anywhere in the world. I also realize that the economics of the fashion industry today mean that, in some cases the products may be manufactured outside of Ireland. I interpret #WearingIrish fairly broadly.

25. I know a fashion designer that is not listed in your directory. How do you decide which brands to include? — This directory is a listing on my personal top picks. I’m excited to discover new designers and I welcome all nominations. It’s a personal campaign. In the case of menswear, I’ve listed brands that my male friends wear. Send me the designer’s details and I’ll take a look.

26. Who is paying you to run this campaign? — This is purely a personal effort to support Irish fashion design. It’s not a paid campaign and I’m not sponsored. I do this as a passion project.

27. Should I be concerned that people will consider me frivolous or vain if I post pictures of myself on social media #wearingirish. As a business executive how do you reconcile this activity with your professional life? — I view supporting #WearingIrish as another expression of creativity, and creativity is a much-sought-after skill at every level in every profession. In the process of participating you’ll also learn a tremendous amount about the power and limitations of social media. This insight is highly transferable to all workplaces.

28. Want to hear my idea for #wearingirish? — Yes, please. Email me: margaret.m.molloy@gmail.com Tweet me @MargaretMolloy or on Instagram @MargaretMMolloy

What did I miss? Feel free to add your questions amd comments below. Follow me on Twitter @MargaretMolloy and Instagram @MargaretMMolloy and follow #WearingIrish