• Art & Design

Seeking Judy / Dundalk fashion brand leading the way on sustainability

Following its relaunch as a streetwear brand, 'Seeking Judy' designer and Dundalk woman Megan McGuigan is taking the leap into fashion sustainability.

Megan McGuigan of Seeking Judy
Megan McGuigan of Seeking Judy, with a t-shirt from her range of clothes. Photo Credit: Instagram/Seeking Judy.

The Dundalk clothing brand Seeking Judy relaunched last November to a great reception from customers, many of whom have been loyal devotees of the brand since it began in 2012. In recent months it has earned its place as one of Irelands most loved streetwear brands, and now it is leading the way in sustainable fashion – focusing on the reworking, tie-dying and thrifting of clothes, as well as the use of more sustainable fabrics.

Seeking Judy’s current collections are a streetwear style, with a mixture of screen-printed garments, repurposed old clothes and made to order custom pieces, which contributes towards ‘less waste’ whilst also ‘enabling production to continue in house’ in their Irish studio.

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Megan McGuigan, the designer behind Seeking Judy, has taken the pandemic in her stride, using the opportunity to take the steps towards a more sustainable future. The brand is set to replace their plastic packaging with a more environmentally friendly option, followed by the gradual introduction of organic fabrics.

“Fashion sustainability is very important to me in my personal life,” the Dundalk-based fashion designer tells LouthNow.ie. “When things start opening again I think, I hope, people will slow down now – in every aspect, including their fashion buying habits,” the Dundalk fashion designer tells us.

McGuigan originally set up the brand in 2012, when she was in transition year in Dundalk Grammar School. After school, she completed a portfolio course in Drogheda Institute of Further Education (DIFE), before gaining entry to the National College of Art and Design (NCAD). While in NCAD, McGuigan took a break from the brand to focus on her studies and develop her style.

After a three year hiatus, Seeking Judy returned transformed, moving from a casual screen printed brand to an edgy streetwear one and the young designer credits this change to her time spent studying fashion design in NCAD and the skills she gained abroad on her Erasmus year in Barcelona.

“My Erasmus is where it all changed for me,” she told us. “I got very interested in analog photography and did a skate series documenting skateboarders outside the MACBA museum. That’s where I got interested in street style.”

The Dundalk designer has come along way from when her brand first began, when she sold her iPod to buy a camera and shot her friends in her designs. However, eight years later, McGuigan is still the one behind the camera at her photoshoots. “When the brand first started out I couldn’t afford a photographer. Then, I guess, it became something I really enjoyed,” McGuigan said.

“I’ve realised photography is something I don’t particularly like to make money out of, but I really enjoy and love the whole process of photoshoots”.

The direction Seeking Judy is taking will come as no surprise to the brand’s customers, as McGuigan has always been vocal about her plans to become more sustainable.

“I’ve always promoted sustainable fashion,” she tells us. “You see people go out wearing clothes once then throw them away and buy more. It’s horrible to be quite honest. I hope with the lack of nights out people’s fashion buying habits will change.”

McGuigan is also no stranger to using her work to tackle issues. Her final degree collection and thesis in NCAD were focused on how art was used in redevelopment schemes, and how this artwork affected the community and the people in it. Now, following her graduation, McGuigan’s focus on sustainable fashion is a direction she hopes other brands will follow.

Something that can deter many from sustainable fashion is the price tag associated with it. However, this higher cost, compared to the prices of cheaper fashion brands, ensures fair wages for workers, more environmentally friendly fabrics and ultimately, the reduction of carbon emissions.

McGuigan is taking the leap with the hope that the higher price wont discourage her customers. “You just have to hope that your customer’s values are the same as your own,” she said. “Morally, I know it’s the right thing to do. As a brand I don’t think there is ever an end goal with sustainability. You need to be constantly working on ways to improve and always adjusting to the times.”

You can find a ‘Reworked’ section on the Seeking Judy website here, with clothes for sale that have been remade from hand dyed T-shirts.

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