Mariad Whisker

Mariad Whisker is a Belfast designer who works mainly with Irish linen

Mariad Whisker was born in Belfast to a family with strong connections to the production of Irish linen. All her great aunts worked in the Blackstaff linen mill. Whisker trained in Manchester before working as a knitwear designer for a variety of small Irish companies.

After working in London, she moved to Dublin in 1981, where she had her own shop for some time. In the early 1980s, Whisker used a lot of black and white designs. She worked mainly with Irish linen, and her clothes were unstructured, loose and long.

In the 1990s, Whisker had three labels, including her main collection, Firenze, and Dial M, a diffusion range.

In 1993, Whisker won The Late Late Show Designer of the Year award, but left for America a year later, citing high taxes, low salaries and lack of support for designers in Ireland as some of the reasons for her move.

After some years working in the US as a designer, she took a career break and moved to Los Angeles. Now living in Dublin, Mariad Whisker showed her new linen pieces in bright colours at Belfast Fashion week in 2003.