Mission statement: Sustainability, Planet, Female empowerment

Welcome to House of Kerry

 

Mission statement

House of Kerry, is an art and couture sustainable luxury brand by an award winning artist designer Christine O’Donoghue de Vries. Influenced by her farming background and the conservation of resources and inspired by the breathtaking landscape, culture and heritage, only the highest quality sustainable heritage fabrics are employed to translate into exquisite timeless pieces.

House of  Kerry since its inception has held its commitment to craftsmanship, social causes -in particular the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals e.g., sustainable agriculture and female empowerment (equality) through Christine’s innovative designs and collaborations. House of Kerry is committed to being a change-maker and promoting change in the world of fashion when it comes to sustainability. This was recognized by being awarded “Highly Commended Brand of the Year 2023” in the Drapers Sustainable Fashion Awards London.

To further the longevity of your well crafted House of Kerry pieces even more, we are now offering a repair service and on request an online consultation to explore the number of wears your made to order House of Kerry piece can be optimized.

House of Kerry advocates for a holistic approach to protecting the planet in the response to climate change. A world where all voices are listened to and included in government climate plans and a world where existing inequalities for women and marginalized groups are not further compounded by climate plans and policy*.

Choose the perfect gift from House of Kerry scarf collections or a bespoke dress or trench coat that will take you from desk to dinner. Enjoy!

Logo?

The House of Kerry logo of the evergreen is inspired by the trees outside the old farmhouse, pockets of woodland and shelter belts which were planted on the farm by our grandfather and greatgrandfather. They were planted primarily for shelter for the house, soil and animals in the fields.

Background

Christine, founder of House of Kerry received a joint honours Law and French degree from University College Cork and practiced as a Barrister for several years before returning back to Co. Kerry to pursue her creative passions. She was especially influenced by her grandmother who made everything from furniture to beautiful dresses by hand.

Christine has over 12 years experience in fine art prints and textile design created from her own watercolors, screenprints, collage and fine art photography. She works with traditional sometimes nostalgic scenery but with a contemporary twist and an international flair for design. She is registered with the Design and Crafts Council Ireland and Design Ireland.  Christine’s designs have been in “Drapers” of London Top Picks to exhibit in London’s Premium fashion shows 2022 and she was invited to show her “Joie de Vivre” sustainable collections at New York Fashion week 2023 as an emerging international talent. House of Kerry was a finalist at Drapers Sustainable Fashion Awards 2023 in London and was awarded “Highly Commended” status.

Nothing takes the stress out of shopping for an occasion than to have a bespoke fitted garment which you won’t find on the high street.  As well as having a choice of Christine’s in house prints you can also choose from a range of exciting couture heritage fabrics.  She is delighted to work with you to  customize  bespoke once off wearable art pieces made to your sizing.  Appointments can be made on request.   If you see an image you love on our website, please contact Christinedevries.hofk@gmail.com and she will be happy to discuss your requirements with you.

In true sustainable style she renovated the old farmhouse in her family for generations and now lives there with her husband and their young family. Christine is also an Origin Green farmer (sustainable certification) and wool producer working with her family closely with nature. She sees at first hand the detrimental effects climate change is having on the planet in the form of extreme weather conditions including drought which has led to fodder shortages. Her designs are primarily influenced  by the breath taking natural scenery of Co. Kerry outside the windows of the old farmhouse and Co. Kerry and reminders of things gone by. Customers love House of Kerry pieces, nostalgic but with a contemporary twist and international flair.

Awards/Press

Christine was awarded the Irish Fashion Designer of the Year Awards in 2018 and 2019. Her work has featured in British Vogue, Tatler, Spirit of Ireland Magazine, the Business Post, the Kerryman, Independent.ie, House of Coco, Motley magazine, Vogue Italia, Stellar magazine, Elle, Glamour and Fashion Week Online ( emerging international talent). Her work has also appeared on  the New European Bauhaus Design platform and Drapers (House of Kerry picked as one of the best brands to show at Scoop and Pure premium London fashion shows 2022). In 2023 Christine was invited to New York and her designs made a successful debut at New York Fashion Week. House of Kerry has been awarded “Highly Commended” Status in the Brand of the Year category in the “Drapers Sustainable Fashion Awards” London 2023 and a finalist in same awards for “Best Carbon Initiative” 2024.

British VogueTatler

Christine O'Donoghue de Vries in Killarney, Co. Kerry, IE on Houzz

Our Philosophy

Traceability and transparency

House of Kerry pieces are designed for the conscious consumer with no compromise to luxury and comfort. Influenced by a farming background, resources are carefully used and repurposed where ever possible. We ensure we are doing our utmost for the environment by using natural breathable high quality fabrics which are 100% biodegradable (although they are created to be cherished for a long time!) and providing traceability and transparency in our processes and the fabrics used. Our prints are all digitally printed for least environmental impact at our printing partners, a small family run business near Lake Como, Italy.  Digital printing means less CO2 emissions than other traditional methods of printing. It also uses less energy and creates less waste which is best for the planet. All inks used are EU certified non toxic for the environment. Scarves are handcrafted by a family run company in Italy with hand rolled edges. All packaging used is made from recycled materials and can be recycled.

Ethically made/fairness

Above all from its inception in 2016 House of Kerry is committed to working with ethical suppliers who pay fair wages to their employees and ensure that employees have good working conditions.  House of Kerry works mainly with small to medium family run artisan businesses.

Equality/Female Empowerment

Business reports the world over (e.g. PwC analysis report of February 2023, IBEC , Forbes March 2024, UN Women’s Org  February 2024) state that the gender pay gap is still an issue. Due to issues mainly surrounding childcare or lack of affordable and sustainable childcare, women fall behind on pay parity and consequently pension and health benefit rights suffer. Reports in respected business reports (Forbes, UN Women) also report that where women are given leadership roles, organizations run by them become even more diverse and lead to more sustainable choices being made. There is still a need to promote women and workplace issues.  Inspired by the UN Sustainability goals Christine often highlights women’s work in her collections:

-“We Share the Same Sky” collection -inspired by Christine’s grandaunt a nurse during WW2 London. This collection appeared in the New European Bauhaus website.

-using organic mulberry silk woven by women in India and Cambodia in a project to empower women through work. The woven silk (GOTS certified) was sourced through a European textiles family company an expert on organically/ethically certified fabric.

-“St Gobnait’s Journey” collection inspired by St. Gobnait Patron Saint of Beekeepers. Her legacy was that she defended the livestock in the town of Baile Bhuirne against soldiers and thieves by unleashing her bees against them and defeated them.

-New York Fashion Week 23: Christine was invited to show her collection “Joie de Vivre” in New York Fashion Week where the House of Kerry pieces she styled were inspired by strong women -St. Brigid(first public holiday for a national female saint in Ireland in 2023) and St. Gobnait.

 

-Mainly female artisans in Ireland make the House of Kerry clothing pieces.

Economic Empowerment for women 2024

This year’s UN theme for International Women’s Day is “Invest in women, Accelerate progress”. Empowering women = empowerment for all.
UN Women’s org report has identified 5 ways to accelerate women’s economic empowerment. Investing in women, benefits women and society as a whole. At the current rate of investment more than 340 million women and girls will still live in poverty by 2030. It has been identified that women’s voices must be given a platform at all stages of the decision making processes.
1. Resources: connecting women with resources and access to land, information, technology and natural resources to grow their businesses to allow them to thrive in the work environment.
2. Jobs: Identified that measures in the employment place -pay transparency, equal pay for work of equal value and access to care services can close the gender pay gaps.
3. Time: identified that existing social organisation of care demonstrates inequalities of status and power and the report states on average women spend around 3 times more in unpaid care work. The report suggests investing in care systems so women can reclaim time for education/work.
4. Security: Identified that conflict and crises can exacerbate already existing inequalities increasing women’s time in unpaid care work. Social norms must be challenged and women empowered in jobs and business.
5. To ensure women’s rights in the context of economic empowerment discriminatory laws and frameworks must be repealed. It has been identified that protection and support for women human right defenders and accountability for human rights abuses are needed.
(UN Women Org)

Protecting the Planet/Climate Justice: Government policies on Women and Marginalized Communities

House of Kerry advocates for a holistic approach to protecting the planet. A world where all voices are listened to and included in government climate plans and a world where existing inequalities for women and marginalized groups are not further compounded by climate plans and policy*.

(*inspired by Christine attending and listening to the findings of the “Feminist Climate Justice Report” April 2024 which launched at University College Cork and prepared by Dr Fiona Dukelow, Dr Catherine Forde and Edith Busteed.
This groundbreaking report which identifies existing inequalities and gaps and how current government climate policies are compounding existing inequalities will inform Irish environmental policy and climate plans at government, human rights groups and at community level for a long time to come. Changes are necessary at policy level so that everyone can both benefit and participate in a Just Transition).

Sustainable Agriculture

House of Kerry promotes sustainable agriculture. Christine is a certified Origin Green producer and wool producer. Over and above certification, the farm located on the shores of a lake has beautiful spaces for nature, over 7ha of natural woodland and bee hives set up by Christine. Nothing goes to waste and as well as soil sampling and regenerative farming practices an extensive grass grazing system is employed. House of Kerry sources its natural fabrics -Irish linen, wool, end of line couture wool and silk from Ireland/EU and UK where there are strict laws governing land and farming practices. Silk is limited quantities of organic silk from India in a working program to empower women through work, is GOTS certified and sourced from a specialist family company in the EU.

Community

House of Kerry endeavors to promote as much work as possible in the local economy and community and uses local suppliers and artisans for orders wherever it is possible to do so. As well as sponsoring a gift for the annual school fundraisers, Christine was invited to help the children with an art project at her local school and was delighted to sponsor the paint . House of Kerry has been involved in raising funds for the St. Vincent de Paul Kerry Education Fund which helps out third level students going to college, the Laura Lynn Children’s hospice which provides a service to families all over Ireland, for the local school fundraising projects as well as to Kerry Cancer Support Group which provides a free transport service to patients for their hospital treatment. More recently House of Kerry initiated a fundraiser for Ukraine in collaboration with other designers to help the humanitarian crisis there.