Sara O’Neill is an artist and designer whose work has been featured in countless glossy magazines, on red carpets, major billboard and television campaigns, book and album covers and exhibited worldwide, over the past 17 years. She is a regular contributor to the UK media and was shortlisted as 'Designer of the Year' in the prestigious Irish Fashion Innovation Award in 2016, 2017 and 2018.
Born and raised on the north coast, she returned after 15 years in Belfast, where she studied fashion and textile design at the University of Ulster and built up a stellar reputation in the Irish fashion, advertising and art industries, working as a stylist and an illustrator. During those years she was heavily involved in the Belfast punk scene, and much of the ethos of the scene has stayed with her and influences her work and business.
Returning to the coast in 2014 brought back many of the stories her granny told her as a child, and combined with a changing society, and a new appreciation for the landscape she grew up in she realised how important these stories are to the identity of all who call this island home… the link between us, our history and the land.
‘The stories are such a massive part of our identity that never died. You can take away language, you can take land but you can’t take away these stories. I don’t have grandkids to pass these stories onto, as my granny passed them onto me, so I thought I’d do the next best thing and illustrate them. Create wearable art so people can drape and swathe the stories around them, carry them with them on their journey and add their own stories to the fabric. It gives me such joy to know I’m doing my bit to pass on these stories that we all share.’
Another aspect of her work that she is particularly proud of is her partnerships with Women’s Aid NI & The Oh Yeah Centre. Last year Éadach raised £10k for both charities. ‘If you’re inspired by somewhere, if you’re using the stories of a place it’s important to give back, to contribute to someone else’s story.’
Sara is a member of the Council of Irish Fashion Designers.