Lennon Courtney

Sonya Lennon, of Lennon Courtney, is a stylist, broadcaster, author, designer and retailer with over 25 years experience in the fashion industry. Sonya has recently added social entrepreneur to her remit as she launches global not-for-profit initiative Dress for Success in Ireland. A passionate supporter of Irish design, Sonya has created the Dais Project, a trilogy of fashion films to promote Irish fashion designers internationally. Sonya presented RTE’s 'Off The Rails' for seven seasons and recently in collaboration with her co-host Brendan Courtney has launched Frockadvisor, a social commerce platform for independent retailers. Sonya and Brendan also have developed design label ‘Lennon Courtney’, a range of elegant wardrobe staples for women.

www.lennoncourtney.com

Second Skin Collaborators:
Knitwear Manufacturer: DMS Knitwear Solutions; Colette Cully, Manuel Murphy, Furniture Designer: Andrew Burdock, Woodturner: Michael Fay

Lennon Courtney

Process

“The real value of producing in Ireland is in developing collaborative relationships which can grow for mutual benefit of both parties.”

Explain why you identified preferred manufacturing/ production collaborators?

For the shoulder pieces, I chose Andrew because of his contemporary aesthetic and ability to deliver using design and state of the art production techniques.

For the knitted piece, we had wanted to work with DMS Knitwear Solutions for some time. They are a very new company who bring full capability industrial knitting machines to Ireland. Working with DMS Knitwear Solutions allowed us to produce fine gauge viscose knit to counter the solidity of the wood.

Based on enquiries to international producers we were looking at a 50% increase in costs for the wood production and a 70% increase in cost for knit.

The real value of producing in Ireland is in developing collaborative relationships which can grow for the mutual benefit of both parties. It is a very different experience, picking up the phone to someone down the road, than it is being a faceless enquiry in a big facility. Additional benefits come around lead times.

Working with Andrew, we were able to avail of his expertise in sourcing materials. Prototyping was expensive and in accessing the viability of the product, we would need to consider production costs based on minimums in Ireland versus Asia. This is an unfortunate reality as currently costs would be prohibitive. In sourcing yarns we faced some difficulties, as DMS Knitwear Solutions is such a new company, there is no stock of yarn to work with. Mills are slow to release sample quantities and in the end, due to lead times, we sourced online. Production would be viable within the facility as DMS Knitwear Solutions are set up to handle volume. Costs would be higher than in other markets but this could be offset against transportation and quality control costs.

We do not produce fine yarn in this country and as this was integral to the design of the garment, this had to be sourced from Italy.

Official photography by Rich Gilligan, production photography by Evelyn McNamara, knitting machine photograph by Colette Cully