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Newspaper for Crossmaglen, South Armagh, Newry and Down.

Cullyhanna designer features on prestigious ‘Irish women to watch’ list

An up-and-coming fashion designer who hails from Cullyhanna has featured on a prestigious list of 18 Irish women to watch in 2018.  Compiled by Irish lifestyle and fashion magazine, ‘Image’, the list includes power women from all walks of life including environmentalists, beauty experts and theatre directors. 

Now local designer, Siofra Caherty, has made it onto the impressive directory of 18 outstanding individuals who look set to do great things this year, due to her sustainable and eco-conscious approach to design from her Belfast based studio.

The former Our Lady’s Grammar School student founded her own technical bag making company, ‘Jump the Hedges’, over a year ago, after becoming increasingly frustrated at not being able to find a bag for her yoga mat that was water-resistant, eco-conscious and suitable for cycling.

Siofra’s streamline solutions to carrying a yoga mat are made from reclaimed lorry tarpaulin that has been industrially washed in rainwater and each Yoga Sleeve is stitched by the designer in her studio at the foot of Cave Mountain in Belfast.  Her zero waste and functional bag designs have already earned her the Future Maker of Ireland award in 2015 and 2016 and, with her profile steadily rising, 2018 looks like an exciting year with the launch of new products which focus on sustainability and zero waste living.

Speaking to The Examiner about her inclusion on the list of Ireland’s “women to watch in 2018”, Siofra, – who cut her design teeth with big names such as Adidas, Levi’s Portwest and Game of Thrones – said she was thrilled by the recognition and spoke about her design experience and long-term plans for Jump The Hedges.

“I have always been interested in design from a very young age and managed to get my first work experience with a fashion stylist in Dublin at 16, and I did a fashion internship during college in New York with designers ThreeAsFour,” revealed the local designer.

“Graduation led to a job as an outdoor clothing designer with Portwest in Mayo, before I left to work as a pattern maker with Levi’s in the US and teach at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco.”

Siofra then moved to Germany to work as an outdoor clothing designer for Adidas before taking the plunge into developing her own business while at the same time working as a wearable tech designer in Galway for BioMedical Research. After completing her design masters at the Belfast School of Art, she started Jump The Hedges in 2016, creating products from reclaimed material with every design utilising material, allowing as little waste as possible. 

The Cullyhanna designer plans to continue expanding her product offering with a range of bags which will not necessarily be yoga-focused.

“I have stockists in both Belfast and Dublin but will be finding stockists internationally this year. I am keen to continue developing sustainable and eco-conscious design practices within my work and to promote sustainable living,” says Siofra.

“Long term, I’m keen to build an international brand that is recognised for a sustainable and eco-conscious approach to design.”

Jump The Hedges bags are available online at www.jumpthehedges.com and at the FloCo Boutique at Flow Studio Belfast and at YogaDublin Yoga studio.