People, Places and Things
Gayle Poppers @the_sustainablestudio

Gayle Poppers’ philosophy is simple – ‘being stylish doesn’t need to cost the earth’. This motto resonates in her own life and in business. A life-long interest in fashion brought her to study fashion design and business in Ireland and in Melbourne, Australia, before establishing her own fashion label. She progressed to developing and managing a retail store and design studio in Galway which housed and promoted local designers. This also involved hosting a support network of designers and curating fashion shows to display fashion by local designers in Galway City. Family life took over for a time but she has emerged determined to blend her experience in the fashion industry with her other passion which is sustainability and environmental responsibility. Her new online store ‘The Sustainable Studio’ promotes circular fashion practices and aligns with her philosophy to encourage more sustainable shopping practices, through selling high end preloved clothing and accessories.

Describe yourself in three words: Creative, driven, loyal

What is something our readers might not know about you? I come from an eclectic background – my dad was a struggling musician from Dublin, my mum an artist from Holland. We had a rather eccentric upbringing in 1980’s Ireland and this has always allowed me the confidence to travel the roads less taken and to be adventurous throughout my life.

What is your proudest accomplishment? Surviving! Coming from a previous abusive relationship, becoming a single mother, and finding the strength to keep going and maintain my ambition and energy despite some obstacles in life. I am proud of my resilience and ability to keep moving forward despite those obstacles. There is a quote from Maya Angelou – “But still I rise” (which I have as a tattoo) and these are words which inspire me to stay positive, (far from perfect!), but positive!

Who is your biggest inspiration? Coco Chanel. She was a strong, driven independent woman way ahead of her time, who paved the way for women’s rights, she designed the first ‘trousers’ for women, popularising them as a fashion garment and believed strongly in comfort for women. She never conformed to the norm or bowed to societal pressure. She was my first designer inspiration in fashion college (20 years ago!) and still to this day, her strength and drive inspire me.

Tell us something you love about Galway: Galway is home and the place where I have spent most of my life, I have always been attracted to the creative energy it possesses. This energy may ebb and flow, but it is always at the heart of Galway. I also love how close we are to the sea. I live five minutes from Salthill and I am very grateful to be able to breathe in sea air daily; it is my solace and place of peace when I need it.

Gayle’s online store – ‘The Sustainable Studio’ @the_sustainablestudio is open at the start of October for applications to ‘Sell with us’ and offers a gorgeous selection of designer clothes, bags and hand-made jewellery.