Growing up in Ireland, Bridie was captivated with local textiles from an early age. Her ancestors worked in the nearby linen mills and her early life on a remote farm meant sewing and knitting were an enjoyable, yet essential, part of rural life.
This first-hand experience of turning raw materials into something beautiful fostered a lifelong career designing and teaching textile studies.
In the twentieth century, Ireland was considered the capital of the linen industry and, after a steep decline, there is now a growing demand for high quality Irish linen again.
Local factories ship tons of linen fabrics abroad, yet none produce apparel on the island.
To bridge that gap, Bridie established her label – creating pieces which pay homage to her Irish heritage and culture, and which have been worn by celebrities like Emma Bunton and Johanna Konta.
At the Guildhall Fair, Bridie will be selling beautiful craft items made from linen left over from the clothes-making process.
“I have developed a clothing line which is sold both locally and online,” she said:
“Any surplus fabrics that I have are utilised in the creation of a range of craft items for the home, and these are the products that I will be presenting at the Christmas Craft Fair.
“Interacting with local customers is always essential in growing a business, so taking part in the Christmas Craft Fair provides a wonderful opportunity to meet new customers and to present a new range of products.”
For Bridie, who is a member of the Fashion and Textile Design Centre in Derry, it was hugely important to tap into the Irish linen market when starting her business.
“The business responds to a renewed focus on sustainable products using only Irish linen,” explained Bridie. “The many qualities of pure linen make it an ideal material in today’s market, as we all strive to address global warming.
“All of the materials that I use are sourced locally. Northern Ireland was one of the greatest producers of linen in the world, and thankfully those factories which remain are flourishing in a global market.
“For me, local sourcing and production are core values to my ethical brand.”
This event marks the start of a packed Council Christmas programme that includes Christmas lights switch-ons across the City and District, the Mayor’s Christmas events in Strabane and Derry and the Winterland Markets in the city centre.
The Derry switch on has been scheduled for Sunday November 24th while the Strabane lights will be turned on the day before on Saturday November 23rd.
The full opening hours for the Fair are Friday, November 22nd, 5pm – 8pm, Saturday, November 23rd, 10am – 6pm and Sunday, November 24th, from 10am – 7pm.
Visit derrystrabane.com/craftfair to view the full Guildhall Craft and Artisan Food Fair programme.
To find out more about Bridie Mullin’s Irish Linen, visit https://www.bridiemullin.com