WIT graduate with a head for sensational fashion design


In the early 1900’s Coco Chanel was a milliner before she started her couture career.  Fast forward to the 1990’s and Irish milliner Philip Treacy is taking the world of fashion by storm.

Around the same time, Corofin native, Caithriona King, was studying for a Diploma in Fine Art at Waterford Regional Technical College (now Waterford Institute of Technology).  Here she specialised in sculpture and photography, thus nurturing her passion for creativity, expression, uniqueness and individuality.

In 2000, upon graduation, Caithriona left the Cork Road campus and travelled to London to take up a place at the renowned Wombourne School of Millinery.

Speaking of her time in Waterford (1996 – 2000) Caithriona said it was a fantastic academic, artistic and social experience.  “The four years I spent at WRTC, as it was then, was an adventurous springboard to what I am doing now.  Not only is millinery something that challenges me every day, it’s also something that I love doing.”

“During my time in Waterford I was given the opportunity to explore my creative identity, through sculpture and photography, in my case.  However, it also enabled me to prepare for the next step in my artistic career.  This is what led me to millinery and to Wombourne.”

Upon return to Ireland Caithriona began customising headpieces for herself for weddings and by making hats for friends. And things have progressed gradually and indeed momentum continues to gather about her work.

In fact her work has received plaudits from across the country and further afield as Caithriona was recently crowned Milliner of the Year at The Fashion Innovation Awards. Up against big names in the industry such as Jennifer Wrynne and Carol Kennelly, taking this honour was no mean feat.

Caithriona believes that her designs may have surprised people by their size, structure and imaginative nature. “It was a great way of showing people this is what I can do, when I am given free rein. It is good in a way to move outside your comfort zone and make a collection of pieces which get people talking. It can be difficult enough to get your name out there and winning the award has given me a great platform going forward.”

Married with four young children, Caithriona effortlessly juggles farming, house-keeping, and child-rearing duties with her thriving business, which operates from a custom built studio beside her home.

Not content to rest on her laurels, Caithriona recently added a new aspect to her business, fascinator–making workshops to women’s groups and hen parties.

“The women love it too, they find it very relaxing and they have something to show for their work at the end of the day.”

For Further Information

For further details of the Galway milliners creations check out www.caithrionakingdesigns.com or call 087 6728 145.

If a career in visual art fascinates you, you can find out more by visiting www.wit.ie/wd152.

Related Courses

Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in  Visual Art

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