Virtue Shine

July 24, 2020

From Ghana to Galway: How Virtue Shine brought “wearable art” to Ireland

From Ghana to Galway: How Virtue Shine brought “wearable art” to Ireland

Virtue Shine

July 24, 2020
Virtue Shine was born in Accra (Ghana) and raised in  New York, before setting up sticks in Galway. A self-taught designer, crafter and maker, she is the creator of Emerald and Wax; a label that encompasses the spirit of her Ghanan upbringing, brought to life with the backdrop of Ireland’s west coast.
Here Virtue shares her story of inspiration and passion which lead her into the world of consciously-made, slow fashion.  

I have loved African prints ever since growing up as a child in my grandmother’s African fabric wholesale warehouse. However, I began creating with African print fabrics somewhat accidentally. It was in fact during my first pregnancy.

If you’ve ever experienced New York summers, then you know it can be relentlessly hot and humid. I couldn’t find any comfortable clothing to wear so I made my first wrap skirt from some African prints that I had available from a recent trip home to Ghana. It was in making that first wrap skirt that I truly caught the bug of making clothes myself.

When I moved to Galway nine years ago from New York, I was spending my days at home with four young children and found myself craving colours to excite my dulled senses. I started off by making cushions covers and infinity scarves, and soon I was expanding my range to wrap skirts and dresses. The colours, prints and patterns were very different to what people were used to in Ireland so they are good at catching people’s eye, and indeed their imagination.

I was invited to participate in a fashion show about 3 or 4 years ago, and that was the first time I started making dresses. It was only from there that Emerald and Wax started to grow slowly, and I’m delighted to see it continue growing every day since.

I feel that I’m telling stories with the prints that I’ve adored and it’s wonderful to see people slowly welcoming them into their closets and incorporating into their everyday style.

I’ve always said that African print fabrics are a stunning piece of art so I’m incredibly proud when I see people donning my “wearable art” around the country.

 

For more info see emeraldandwaxdesigns.com/
or @emeraldandwaxbyvirtueshine on Instagram