Arms AW10: Acute Attention to Detail.

September 21, 2010
Rediscovering Dublin-based label (Made For You By) Arms for AW10 has been bittersweet; the collection is superb, but I’m reminded of the now defunct alternative retail mecca, Circus. Still, it’s brands like Arms, headed by the v. charming Aussie Renate Henschke, that reassure me all’s not lost for Dublin fashion. 
I first wrote about Arms back when it was nigh on impossible to bag one of their pieces in Circus. Almost every day I was in work customers would demand we re-order their comfy crewneck sweats and ever so slightly kitsch shirting, and it’s really no wonder since Arms just kind of begs to be bought. Henschke understands the importance of classic silhouettes and fabrics for menswear design, but also appreciates the difference quirky detailing can make to a piece. I decided to go the source and recently paid a visit to her Clarendon St. studio to view the AW10 collection which boasts those cotton check shirts they do so well, tees with graphic detailing, oh and a first for Arms, a boxy cut jacket that has me reconsidering the importance of a slimline silhouette.

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MM: Had you also wanted to be a menswear designer? 

RH: To be honest I did not imagine myself as a menswear designer at all when I came out of college but I really enjoy the contrainsts of menswear. With womenswear there are endless possibilites when it comes to shape, fabrics and trimmings but with the kind of menswear I make, you need to be very precise and quite minimal which I enjoy from a design perspective.

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MM: What’s your professional background? Did you study fashion?

RH: Yes, I studied fashion in Adelaide, South Australia at Marleston Tafe College. It was a fantastic course and it was very practical which I think is very important. Some people can leave college without being able to sew properly which I think is a shame. I moved to Ireland in 2004 and began working with the Angry clothing label which was a part of the Studio AAD company. My first role involved some design and the production of the men’s and women’s collection in Portugal. Angry clothing had been running for several seasons before I joined them so it was a great opportunity to join a small label and be involved in every element of the business. Arms is now a partnership with the 2 owners of Studio AAD and myself.

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MM:How would you describe the aesthetic of ARMS as a label?

RH: Arms create simple, beautiful clothing for lovers of detail and subtlety.

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^ The exquisite Arms studio

MM:What was your inspiration for the AW10 collection?

RH: The inspiration for the collection was, again, the creative studio environment. I focused on what kind of clothing people that work in this environment look for in their garments. My friends are always an inspiration too. They all want something comfortable, unique with attention to detail.


Find Arms at (soon) and Dolls on Emorville Avenue, Dublin 8.
  • Michael September 21, 2010 at 2:46 pm

    How have I never heard of these guys..

  • Mat September 21, 2010 at 4:35 pm

    wow the designs look great, i can't fault any of it. it's my sort of thing. i esp love the scarf and jumper combo. maybe we do have very similar tastes!

  • lucy and sarah September 21, 2010 at 9:23 pm

    That's a cool pocket. Love the plaid shirt. Cool interview.

  • Antoine and Stanley blog September 22, 2010 at 5:00 am

    Wow i love the sweaters

  • ana September 22, 2010 at 11:33 am

    Great interview, very interesting about the idea of menswear design demanding a more minimal focus than womenswear. Something I've never really thought about..

  • Cillian September 26, 2010 at 3:58 pm

    Michael: I know! More of this, please.lucy and sarah & Antoine and Stanley: Glad you enjoyed it.ana: It's funny. A lot of the women designing menswear have said exactly the same thing. Carolyn Massey often cites the limitations of menswear as being the primary reason for starting her label.