Style Notes: Summer essentials for travelling light, an African pop-up and memorable jewellery-making classes

Nothing quite like a 10kg suitcase limit to focus your brain pretty sharpish. The soaring cost of bringing a suitcase on holidays has made so many of us rethink what we really need to bring away. A different outfit every day and night and shoes and accessories to match? Seriously!

etween paying a ridiculously inflated price to bring a suitcase and then hanging around the luggage belt praying that it will emerge, I’m all for taking the stress out of the equation and packing light in a cabin-sized case.

With that in mind, I went about curating useful new pieces with several ‘lives’ — for the summer at home and the foreign holidays I hope to take.


L-R: ‘Daisy’ satin kaftan dress (€185) and ‘Laguna’ silk kaftan dress, €210 from

I’m really loving the new collection from Irish brand KDK, especially their two crêpe de Chine kaftan dresses (€155) including the pink ‘sexy fish’ print (pictured top right) and the ‘palm’ jungle print kaftan in vibrant blue and peach.

The ‘luxury for every day’ brand was started nine years ago by sisters Keira and Dairine Kennedy and from an initial collection of digitally printed scarves, they have expanded into clothing, pyjamas and lovely hairbands.


Navy Palm kaftan dress in 100pc Crepe de Chine, €155,

This season they read our desire to travel with wardrobe essentials very well and have introduced five new kaftan dresses with V-neck, button-through style. They are available in two sizes, S/M and L/XL.

The most expensive kaftan is the 100pc cream silk ‘Laguna’ (€210) and there are two styles in a new washable satin fabric they are using this season — the pale grey and blue ‘Daisy’ and the monochrome ‘Jo’ both cost €185.

The summer range also includes wrap skirts (€85) in satin and in crêpe de Chine, as well as lightweight cotton pyjamas sets, with short and long styles costing €85-€120.

Video of the Day

Keira’s digitally printed images of Dublin and around the country feature on their extensive range of cashmere, modal and silk scarves, To this day, some of the bestsellers are scarves that trigger memories, like the Bandstand from Dun Laoghaire pier in silk twill (€110) which KDK have posted to customers all around the world.

Pop-up inspiration

Umoja linn, the online platform which sells Afrocentric brands, has gone from strength to strength since it launched here last January.

The co-founders, Afro-Irish entrepreneurs China Soribe and Liswa Adindu-McDonald, are truly passionate about introducing customers to unique and high-quality products inspired by Africa.


‘Allie’ satin dress by Cynthia Abila, €250 from the Umoja linn pop-up at the Fumbally Stables, Dublin on June 11

They have succeeded in assembling a strong collective of African-inspired creatives to share the continent’s diverse culture, art and style through a variety of ethically made pieces.

On June 11, they take their marketplace to a new level, with a pop-up store in Dublin’s Liberties. You will find them at the Fumbally Stables from noon until 6pm and the pop-up will feature multiple designers, seven of whom are Afro-Irish.


‘Ellies’ dress, €215, by Nigerian designer Cynthia Abila

Designer Cynthia Abila is based in Abuja in Nigeria, her ‘Allie’ dress (pictured left) shimmers in pleated satin and is available in sizes 8-16, costing €250.

You will also find African print cotton socks inspired by traditional Ghanaian Kente cloth, and they cost €13 from ThisCreativeFiend, who are based in Dublin.

InphinityXaccessories, also from Dublin, have an extensive and affordable jewellery range and it includes pretty earrings handmade in Kenya with cowrie shells, which were once used as currency around the world.


Cynthia Abila ‘ Naza’ blazer and skirt, €500

Other Irish companies to watch out for at today’s pop-up are M.I.O., who do colourful beach covers, along with brands such as, Turbante, Kings Only and DoniDoni.

I made this on my holidays!

One of my favourite ‘self-gifting’ jewellery stores is The Collective on Drury Street in Dublin and this summer, they are celebrating their fifth birthday with some interesting jewellery-making classes and courses which sound a lot of fun. These are ideal if you are planning a staycation or, indeed, you have visitors coming and you want to send them home with special memories.


Aria-V ‘Nebula’ aqua blue geode agate slice earrings electroplated in 24k gold, €82, The Collective

Since opening the store in 2017, Madeleine Blaine has gathered 30 Irish-based designers — including her own Gallardo & Blaine Design range — and she also showcases independent European jewellery designers.

I always pop into the store to check out the very affordable Aria-V earrings, handcrafted by Varya Namsaraeva, and pieces by Caroline Stokesberry Lee, whose purple ring (€109) was inspired by the rugged Northern Irish landscape.


Madeleine Blaine of Gallardo & Blaine Design and founder of The Collective

The Collective store also shares its home with sister company Silver Works, which runs interactive jewellery-making classes. There’s a one-day ‘make a charm’ course (€75) or you can do a weekend earring and pendant course (€350.

The courses are run by jewellers including Sinéad Murphy whose own line, Cosmic Boulevard, is stocked in store, so take a look at her quirky ‘Sacred Heart’ silver signet rings.

 The classes received over 2,000 five-star reviews, earning them the ‘most reviewed experience in Ireland’ by Airbnb.;