The city of Dublin may not be known as a fashion capital, but designer John Rocha has made the Irish capital his home.
Far away from the bright lights of Paris or Milan, Rocha ‘s inspiration comes from beautiful Irish scenery such as Connemara and the Wicklow Mountains. Rocha’s style is known for experimenting with fabric and technique, and is influenced by the Irish countryside. Speaking to The Guardian, Rocha said: “I am far more influenced by texture than of colour, and it is the landscape of Ireland that has influenced me as a designer.”
Born in Hong Kong of Chinese and Portugues descent, Rocha moved to Ireland after graduating from the Croydon School of Art in London. Rocha began through his label Chinatown, and went on to design for Dublin high street luxury stores A Wear and Brown Thomas. Outside of clothing, Rocha has also designed crystal stemware and vases for Waterford Crystal, an internationally recognised crystal company.
Today Rocha owns five labels: ‘John Rocha’, ‘John Rocha Jeans’, ‘Rocha John Rocha’, and ‘John Rocha Jewellery’. Alongside these labels, Rocha runs a label of diffusion clothing, homeware and accessories for UK chain store Debenhams. Rocha’s company as a whole sells clothing to over 50 countries around the world.
Among Rochas awards are Designer of the Year at the 1993 British Fashion Awards, as well being given the ‘Special Award’ at the 2008 Ernst and Young Irish Entrepreneur of the Year Awards. Also, in 2010, Rocha was one of six contemporary Irish fashion designers used as stamps by An Post (Irish postal service). His daughter Simone is also a fashion designer, making waves across the Irish Sea in London.