Cleo’s fashion journey began when she was just eight, meticulously cutting and hand stitching clothes for her tiny dolls. An early interest in drawing and painting led her to a diploma in pattern cutting at Sallynoggin College of Further Education after she finished school. During her time at college she started designing and making clothes by hand, selling her wares at weekly markets in Dublin. She then moved to London for a BA in Womenswear Design & Technology at London College of Fashion, where she interned at Alexander McQueen and Matthew Williamson during her studies.
After LCF, Cleo spent a year at Roland Mouret, before being appointed print designer at Mary Katranzou. Under Katranzou, Cleo was part of a team of designers who worked on unique prints for MK’s catwalk collections. She eventually ended up back at Roland Mouret as an assistant designer, working directly with Roland himself. She spent two years on design and development for the brand, becoming an all-rounder in the design field, across research, design techniques, print design, embroidery and knit. Here, Cleo became accustomed to making sure all creative processes worked technically and with precision - something she has carried through to her brand.
After eight years working and learning directly from the top end of the fashion industry, Cleo began to focus again on her original dream of starting her own label. Realising she had the broad range of skills to start something on her own - pattern cutting, designing and sewing - she moved back to Ireland, where she could base herself at her family home, Durhamstown Castle in Co. Meath, and set up a studio in her father’s old furniture showroom.
Before leaving London, Cleo came up with the brand’s concept. Walking the city’s streets on the way to work, she thought about the beautiful luxury clothing she had come to own, and how she felt when she wore them. The perfect cut, fit and structure that could lift her mood, boost her confidence. She wanted to bring that depth of feeling to her brand, at a more accessible price. Knowing her brand would be about offering investment pieces and reasonable prices, she came up with the idea of creating garments that could transform into a second look. For Cleo, this wasn’t just a gimmick, but a concept that could elevate the brand through each item of clothing: modern tailoring that could transform like this would need to be technically flawless, as well as aesthetically beautiful.
Now, Cleo designs and hand-crafts every element of her collections in her studio at Durhamstown Castle. She develops the clothes with a 3D method, using her Mum as her fit model and muse and constantly referring to the female form through fittings. Cleo will reshape the design of the garment until it’s just right, resulting in quality tailoring with a unique structure in every piece.