To show and promote Irish Design and Irish Linen in 2016, contributing to the renaissance of a niche Irish product with a heritage and provenance that is almost unique. Despite the damage caused by many years of outsourcing and deskilling locally, and a shift to offshore production, there remains a small base of local skills and expertise in Irish Linen and there is now a drive to re- establish Irish Linen as a highly sought after commodity.
Irish Linen is a fabric for our times: a plant and material that are sustainable, with proven qualities beneficial to health and wellbeing, and a vast range of uses. It is part of the weave of history in Ireland – particularly in Ulster – and carries with it a true sense of place. This work will promote its discovery and appreciation by a new generation.
Maria Cárdenas is a third generation tailor, originally from Colombia, now based in County Down. She works in Irish Linen and other natural fabrics to create designs in well-defined shapes and with a subtle, wearable, crafted style. Maria has participated in design events in Milan, London, Croatia, France, Belfast and Dublin, as well as the US. She was part of the British Fashion Showcase in the Embassy in Dublin prior to the Queen’s visit in 2011 and is an associate member of the Irish Linen Guild. Belfast City Hall commissioned Maria to make and present a white Irish Linen Guayabera to President Santos of Colombia during his State visit in November 2016. In 2017, she was included in a group of high-achieving Latin American women in UK publication, Express News, marking International Women’s Day. Maria uses her preferred medium of Irish linen to make the traditional Guayabera – a white linen shirt worn for important occasions in Colombia and the Caribbean.