the designers

John Rocha was born in Hong Kong in 1946. He is an Irish fashion designer of Chinese and Portuguese descent.

Rocha went to London in 1970. He studied at Croydon College of Design and Technology at the Croydon School of Art, London. He made use of Irish linen in his graduation show and was so inspired by the fabric that he visited Ireland and eventually settled there.

The Irish Trade Board invited Rocha to set up a business, so in 1977, he opened a design business in Kilkenny, Ireland.

Know for his hand-crafting, beading and apliquée to garments, Rocha first established a name for with his Chinatown label in Dublin in the 1980s. In 1993 he was named British Designer of the Year at the British Fashion Awards.

Rocha worked briefly in Milan between 1987 and 1989 before returning to Ireland. His fluid style, often influenced by oriental shapes, drew international attention and in 1994, he showed his collection in Paris. In the same year Rocha was named British Designer of the Year.

He is also known for his sheer evening wear, rich fabrics with hand painted designs and crocheted knitwear.

In 1997 he launched the John Rocha at Waterford Crystal collection, which includes table wear crystal and lighting.

He is also very much interested in interior decoration. The Morrison Hotel in Dublin, which opened in 1999 was Rochas's first interior design project. In September 2000, he began working on a project in Liverpool to build luxury apartments, exterior couryard and surrounding streets.

In February 2002, John Rocha was awarded the Commander of the British Empire by the Queen, for his contributions to British fashion.

The Look

Natural fabrics, including linen, wool and sheepskin are given the colours of an Irish landscape: soft moss green, stone, slate grey and browns. Irish references under his Chinatown label.

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