Fashion designer Karl Donoghue is synonymous with modern, relaxed shearling and leather. His designs are elegant and fluid with a contemporary edge. He is a technical innovator, pushing the boundaries of the finest raw material he can source to its limits, so that it becomes incredibly soft and lightweight, resulting in a luxurious garment that is wearable and versatile.
His collections are based on a deep understanding of what women want to wear now. Unpredictable weather patterns and fluctuating temperatures have led to a demand for pieces that can be layered or deconstructed to be worn separately. It’s an issue that resonates globally and as well as its popularity in the UK, the label has big export markets in China, Japan, Korea and the USA.
His innovative KD2 range is built around this concept, bringing together multi-seasonal layers of showerproof fabric, shearling and leather so that the wearer can create a garment that fits her lifestyle. The lightweight base layer comes in a variety of jacket and coat styles in different cuts and colours. When combined with an equally wide selection of shearling coats, jackets and gilets, worn under or over the nylon base, the possibilities are endless. The genius of the KD2 range is that it can be worn as something that is completely unique to the wearer.
He also favours lightweight entrafino lamb leather of the highest quality to create wonderfully soft outerwear with incredible movement. This premium leather is left unlined to allow its natural beauty and the perfection of the construction to shine through. Ideal for summer, it moves seamlessly into winter when combined with a shearling layer for warmth.
Karl Donoghue started his love affair with shearling in the mid-90s when studying at Ravensbourne College. His quest to design beautiful, desirable collections from sustainably sourced shearling and leather has burned bright ever since.
He found success early in his career when his accessories range was snapped up by a number of iconic London boutiques. He quickly went on to build a celebrity clientele including Kate Moss, Julianne Moore, David Furnish, Victoria Beckham, Kylie Jenner, Gillian Anderson and Olivia Palermo. But it was a showing at London Fashion Week in 1998 that launched his ascent. It was where he caught the eye of iconic designer/retailer Joseph, initiating a collaboration that lasted several years, and leading Donoghue to create a ready-to-wear collection of brightly coloured shearling coats and jackets for the label.
Donoghue has always insisted on manufacturing in the UK where possible, putting sustainable practices at the heart of his brand. His dedication to the animal hide is the starting point for his designs and a cornerstone of his approach. He works closely with technicians at the European tannery that produces for him, developing deep partnerships that result in new colours and finishes as well as shearling and leather products that are bespoke to the Karl Donoghue brand. His signature ‘cashmere touch’ and ‘velvet touch’ shearlings were developed in this collaborative way.
He insists that pushing the technical boundaries of the material is a fundamental part of the design journey and possible only through the time he invests personally in understanding the tanning and manufacturing processes. What results from such dedication to his craft is luxury at its most sustainable, a practical wearable garment that will last a lifetime and more.