Greetings from ireland
Ever since its inception in 2015, NOW Gallery’s Fashion Commission has become very physical proof that a designer has truly made it. With alumni that include Phoebe English, Charles Jeffrey, Molly Goddard and Matty Bovan, it allows some of London’s biggest young designers to flex their artistic muscles, creating immersive installations for NOW Gallery’s space on the Greenwich Peninsula.
Dublin’s own Robyn Lynch helms this year’s commission, which she has titled Greetings from Ireland. Speaking to us ahead of the opening, Lynch spoke about how the commission is a full-circle moment for her. “I was an intern with Phoebe English in 2015 when they did their very first fashion commission. So I was here, in this room, beading thousands of beads on the floor and running around upstairs like a kid. So it’s a really nice experience to be back in this space.”
Greetings from Ireland is a maximised continuation of the themes and humour of Lynch’s eponymous menswear line. Teaming up with the Irish artist Rory Mullen, the installation is a huge inflatable structure which houses garments, images and videos documenting Lynch’s brand throughout the years. Purposefully reminiscent of the bouncing castles that take over back gardens on birthdays and holy communions, the pattern on the outside is appropriated from a t-shirt that Lynch’s mother once brought with her from holidays in Spain.
For visitors who grew up in Ireland, the instillation (along with much of Lynch’s sartorial work) is festooned with hyper-niche references to Irish culture and iconography. For Lynch, this grew from simply seeing a gap in the market. “I felt like there wasn’t anyone in the menswear market who was representing Ireland and referencing its subcultures.” It’s a formula that has worked incredibly well for Lynch, one of her most iconic pieces being a jumper that transposes the Dublin GAA jersey onto knitwear.
Despite being a major name in the London Fashion Week schedule for several seasons now, she sees the commission as a way of introducing herself to those who may not traditionally take any notice of London fashion. “The overarching theme of the installation was to communicate the brand and take the opportunity with the amazing footfall to try to introduce the brand to as many people as we can. When you’re based in Hackney, you can forget about the wider audience of people around places like Greenwich. It’s a nice way to get a new audience.”
Robyn Lynch’s Greetings from Ireland is open at NOW Gallery, Greenwich Peninsula from 8 December 2023 – 25 February 2024.