Style isle – Your weekly guide to fashion with Lorna Weightman

Putting Ireland on the fashion map Amanda Byram is here to help

Ireland houses some of the most amazing designers, stylists, and fashion industry experts who have built up successful careers through ambition, entrepreneurship, and creativity. Although we do not have a fashion week per se, the Dublin Festival of Fashion is attempting to address the need for a platform for this talent. I have been involved with the festival since it started three years ago, and I have seen it grow in popularity, with fashionistas from around the country travelling to the capital to check out the programme of events, including talks from experts and plenty of fashion shows. But this year it will be extra special, with presenter Amanda Byram as the face of the festival. I met Amanda last week in Dublin to talk about what makes the festival special, why she is so excited to be part of it, and what she loves about fashion.

In the plush surroundings of the Westin Hotel, Amanda and I got down to business to talk fashion and from the get-go one thing is quite apparent, the lady knows style and she is passionate about being involved with the festival.

“The reason I am most excited is that it is in its third year and I have been back and forward [from Ireland] over the last few years, and I think that finally, I’ve seen a huge development within Ireland and Irish style and especially in Dublin,” she said. “The reason that I am so excited about it is that I used to be a model in Dublin and we used to spend our days in ‘town’. Now we don’t have ‘town’ anywhere else in the world. There’s no such thing as ‘town’ in LA. No one else gets it! So Dublin city centre, for me, is where I grew up and it’s where I used to go shopping! So to be able to be a catalyst to get the word out there is huge for me. There is nothing like coming into town and going for a pint afterwards!”

After a few minutes I can see why she is fronting this campaign. Her style is effortless, she is a relaxed kind of girl who enjoys what she does. She points out to me that style is about attitude for her, and I wholeheartedly agree. Her advice is to “keep it simple and pick things that you like for you and be confident”. She admires her friend, Fearne Cotton, for this reason, “I love her attitude”. That said, Amanda likes to pick bits and pieces from different styles to inspire her overall look. She tells me how she loves Monica Bellucci who embraces every curve she has, and she adores Jessica Alba too. But how does she describe her own style? “I have often said that weather back home cramps my style. I dress for California; I do love a boho chic look. That’s kind of my thing. I can’t do that here because it’s too cold, so I’m learning very slowly how to dress well for the winter. My style is just comfortable,” she explains (she’s wearing a Philip Lim dress and Chloe Green shoes when we meet ). But she does have some fashion pet hates. “Head to toe in the same designer and matching things, oh, and big tacky jewellery. Jewellery has to be simple, I like wearing just one piece.” Keeping her look simple seems to be her overall mantra.

Being a famous face comes with some pressure to always maintain the perfect look, and I ask Amanda what have been some of her favourite outfits. “At the Harry Potter premiere last year I wore BDYAMR. It was a black plunge neckline, leather top, and the bottom of the dress went down into see through chiffon. I said to the guys, ‘I’m not wearing that, no way’, and they told me you can wear it and you will go out there and you will own it! I just remember thinking I felt so empowered in that moment.”

To be frank, I am quite inspired by Amanda and her take on fashion, she is relaxed but knows what she likes and she feels strongly on how women should dress for themselves and no one else. The ultimate message is to look in the mirror and tell yourself you look good. Whether you are off to the gym, or a night on the town, attitude is everything! So give it a go.

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