Maria Hatzistefanis and Jefferson Hack: It’s Paul Galvin’s Web Summit picks

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You never quite know who you’ll meet at Web Summit…

My mum was at Web Summit today and she spotted one of the greatest Gaelic footballers of all time.

Paul Galvin.

He’s a four-time All-Ireland winner and former footballer of the year. Check him spraying the ball about against Cork back in 2008.

Put simply, the boy can play some football.

He’s also a fashion writer and is now launching a clothing line – Vanguard – with Irish retailer Dunnes Stores.

As far as I’m concerned there isn’t an Irish man that comes near close to Paul Galvin in the style stakes, so who better to talk to about Web Summit’s fashion speakers.

Having been given the heads up by my mum, I managed to catch Paul in the RDS this afternoon and he told me about the Web Summit speakers who have inspired him…

Paul, who have been your Web Summit speaker highlights?

Jefferson Hack is who I came to listen to. You talk about guys at the vanguard: he’s been at the vanguard of publishing for years and years.

He continues to grow and adapt the idea of merging digital with print. He spoke here last year about producing a digital magazine. Twelve months later and he’s here producing it.

For me, Maria Hatzistefanis made the most interesting point. She’s selling products the same way we (Vanguard) are.

She said that it’s become important for her to be like a media company to publicise her product – to be a publisher first, and to embrace that.

Paul in the RDS this evening: blazer from Topman; shirt from Acne Studios.

Your new clothing line is called Vanguard. What’s the significance of the name?

Vanguard is a concept-based collection. I spent last year making and designing a couple of pieces. I took these pieces to Dunnes and showed them and that grew into a collection.

In one of the first notes I sent Dunnes I used the word ‘vanguard’ and I just felt that should be the name.

The word has two meanings. It’s the English version of avant grade, but it has military connotations as well.

The vanguard was a military unit that would secure safe passage for secondary units. Their role was dangerous but they went ahead with the risk for the greater good.

I like that idea in theory and I like people at the vanguard of different movements, be it literature, politics or design.

Who do you consider to be at the vanguard?

People like Jonny Johansson at Acne Studios. He’s a former musician who just started making shirts and jeans. Acne is now a whole lifestyle brand.

Guys like Oliver Sweeney, Maxwell Osborne from Public House and Jerry Lorenzo from Fear of God.

They’re thinkers and creatives – not necessarily designers.

What do Irish men want from their clothing and how are you going to give it to them?

What I do is story telling – developing a narrative and continuing that narrative into the story of our clothes

I’m trying to create a new narrative that Irish men can relate to. I think Irish men’s clothing needs are simple.

It’s about pieces like a great white shirt or a pair of black pants.

Paul’s trousers and kicks: boots from Clarks; trousers from Acne Studios.

What about wearables – when will they become mainstream?

At the minute I feel the wearables scene is trying to find it’s feet; I wouldn’t necessarily say it’s gimmicky, though.

The first thing I ask about a piece of clothing is how practical is it.

With Vanguard, we’re interested in playing with technical fabrics, but we’re always focused on the practicalities of the clothes.

You grew up in a part of rural Ireland and have spent most of your adult life playing Gaelic football. Have you come against a bit of slagging over your clothing and interest in fashion?

It never bothered me. I was just always comfortable with what I was doing and what I was wearing.

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