When a young Irish designer got a letter from The White House her dreams came true. But this was no accident and Claire O'Connor proves that with a gutsy approach and a bit of luck you can get anyone, even the First Lady, on board.
The Irish designer was in New York working on a fashion film with The Hayes Brothers when she came across an article in a US magazine about how it is every designers dream to be acknowledged by Michelle Obama. Well, it's a start! Although she knew it was a long shot, Claire set her mind to making it happen and pulled off the fashion coup of the season in Dublin, at least.
She made two dresses especially for the First Lady [above], based on her rocking style and tackled security guards to the ground at the US embassy (OK, I made that bit up but would have loved to see it). She dropped them off with a signed card and hoped for the best. Now, Mobama did not wear the dresses, YET, but Claire is still holding out hope that she will, one day, and be photographed all over the world! In the meantime she's got Michelle as a new pen-pal… kind of.
Last week an envelope arrived from The White House! Needless to say she couldn't believe it when the letter inside was from the First Lady herself, signed in her own hand thanking Claire for the 'beautiful dresses'. It think it's pretty amazing that she actually takes the time to sit down and do that, sweet, lovely lady! They just don't do manners like they used to…
Since then Claire has been kept busy with a new store called Project 51, opened in Dublin last week. The whole collection, including the Obama pieces, are available exclusively there and you can check her site out here claireoconnor.ie
So, who's next on Claire's guerrilla marketing hit list? "I am following a few leads… I'm going to New York again soon for work and it's one of the most open places in the world, you just never know who you might meet so I always have a few dresses on hand!", that's the spirit! We reckon you do something for Lady Gaga, she's already got a soft spot for Irish designers…
- Angela Scanlon