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Irish Designer Week: Carol Shaw Designs

Carol Shaw always dabbled in arts and crafts but when she took an intensive jewellery design course with the Yellow Brick Road, she knew instantly that she wanted to work in the world of bridal accessories.

“There is nothing more satisfying than knowing that you play some small part in a bride’s big day,” she says.

Carol regularly changes her designs but when she was asked by TV3 stylist, Cathy O’Connor, to supply pieces for a bridesmaid’s feature on Ireland AM, she wanted to feature designs that she had never made before and ones that would be suitable for both brides as well as their bridesmaids.  She came up with the "Eva" collection and for the first time her bracelets were made with elastic nylon thread so one size fits all.

Hollywood

Carol describes her designs as “classic, stylish and elegant.” She gets her inspiration from her brides and 1950s Old Hollywood glamour.

“I don’t have a particular type of woman who buys my designs.  My collection has a broad appeal so I get everyone from the young bride to the more mature lady,” says Carol. “My bespoke service is also great for the mother of the bride and groom, they can be sure that they won’t bump into someone else wearing the same piece.” 

When deciding on bridal jewellery, Carol recommends choosing the dress first and then looking at how the overall look can be completed with a fabulous hairstyle and accessories.

“When it comes to accessories and jewellery, less is more in my opinion.  If you have an elaborate head piece then all you need are a pair of earrings and a bracelet, she says. “Get as much professional advice as you can, I am always happy to chat to brides-to-be and I offer a free consultation which allows brides to see my full collection.”

Carol says it is important to buy Irish and support small Irish businesses because maintaining Irish jobs is key to keeping a strong economy. She commends the Craft Council for the work they do in promoting Irish designers and believes that the government could support more of their initiatives. 

“We have amazing talent in this country and we need to keep it here,” she says.  “It would be great if Irish people tried to consider buying Irish first and foremost. However, when everyone is looking for value for money, it is hard to compete with suppliers buying in bulk from countries like China.”

All her bridal jewellery is made using Swarovski crystals and pearls from Austria. She thinks if Tipperary or Dublin crystal could produce quality crystal beads at competitive prices then she would buy from them. She also tries to shop in Dublin bead shops as much as possible to keep it local.

Email Carol Shaw Designs at [email protected]

WOL

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