Amy McColgan is a Donegal blogger who has a flare for fashion and is an advocate for the vegan lifestyle.
Amy blogs on her platform ‘Green Leafy Gael’. The objective of her blog is to encourage others to consider the nutritional benefit of going vegan, and how easy it really is to swap out traditional foods for animal product-free foods.
She has a huge interest in sustainable fashion and ethical beauty, and aims to have little to no environmental impact on our beautiful green planet.
Amy says; “With every fashion purchase I try to make sure that it is not brand new and therefore contributing to fast-fashion, or, that it is locally and ethically produced, that is, that it doesn’t use child labour or sweat shops.
“With make up and beauty products everything has to be vegan and then the next best things would be natural and organic and definitely no testing on animals.”
This is Amy’s style study for Donegal Woman:
1. How would you describe your personal style?
A bit of boho, a bit of sporty/urban, and a bit vintage – it’s a bit of a mess actually!
2. Who is your style icon?
I don’t really have one… I see pictures of bloggers or models or celebs the odd time maybe on Instagram but I’ve never actually thought “who is that”, I always just think, “that’s a cool look”.
3. What is your favourite piece of clothing?
Probably my red crochet dress that I wore to my friend’s Tina and Marty’s wedding 4 years ago. I imagined it in my head before I found it because I knew the look I was going for, so I used the website Etsy, which sells vintage and handmade items, and I typed in “red”, “crochet” and “dress”. I scrolled for days looking for something – couldn’t believe it when I found it. It only cost me €70! It was one of a kind too, vintage and in perfect condition.
4. What inspires you when choosing an outfit?
The environment! Lately I’ve taken to trying to lower my carbon footprint drastically. Shopping in fast fashion stores is not environmentally friendly as it takes ridiculous amounts of resources to grow the fibres, dye the fabric, produce the garments, and deliver them all over the world.
Not to mention the situation in Asia with how the workers are treated and conditions they work in. I try to avoid buying new clothes from the big brands because of this. So instead, I shop from smaller and more sustainable businesses, and/or second hand. Second hand could be anything from vintage shops, flea markets, charity shops to eBay. You can find anything and it’s actually so fun when you come out with stylish pieces that look brand new and don’t cost the earth (literally).
5. How would you accessorise a look?
Gold hoops! Can’t live without them! And not the Argos catalogue ‘Coronation Street’ look… I like to think of it as a more “boho meets J-LO meets Princess Jasmine” look!
6. What is your most recent fashion purchase?
I live in Barcelona and the vintage shops here are heaving with funky stuff! I was in last week and got a loose high waisted skirt with buttons down the front and a pair of high waisted beige trousers for work.
Oh! And I got a class grey dress for work too from Wallapop, it’s an app like Depop where you can buy people’s unwanted things, but it’s set up so that you can see where the nearest people are to you that are selling what you’re looking for. I wanted a long grey dress for work (because it’s Barcelona and it’s roasting) and turns out a girl who lived in the same neighbourhood was selling one in perfect condition and exactly the kind I wanted. It’s so comfy!
7. Where do you usually shop for clothing?
Vintage shops, charity shops, apps like Wallapop and Depop, eBay, and then some random shops I find online that are either really small and unknown, or, are sustainably run.
8. Do you have any favourite local fashion boutiques?
In Donegal I do love McO’s Vintage in Buncrana, behind O’Flaherty’s. There’s so much random stuff from different eras of the past in there – it’s like a wee treasure trove.
There’s nowhere in Letterkenny doing what she does and there should be! Letterkenny’s been taken over by awful big fast fashion brands and there’s no culture about the shopping area anymore. It’s the exact same as what you’d find in any shopping area in any big city anywhere in Ireland or the UK. There needs to be more locally owned boutiques and artisan stuff, and especially vintage.
9. What are your wardrobe staples?
High-waisted jeans in the Winter, and high-waisted shorts in the Summer.
10. Do you follow trends?
Not really because I don’t read magazines or go into shops that sell the latest “trends”, but I see people on the street and when I see something new I just assume, “oh that must be a new trend”. And if I like it I’ll hunt it down on Depop or Wallapop, or maybe even eBay.
11. Heels or flats?
I like the way heels look, but on a day to day basis, flats all the way.
12. Shoes or handbags?
Shoes without a doubt. I don’t buy bags – ever. But shoes I can’t get enough of!
13. What is the best piece of fashion advice you’ve ever heard?
“Green and blue should never be seen unless there’s something in between”, John Mc Colgan, circa 1998 when I wore navy Umbro shorts and a Celtic top together (never did again)!
14. What do you think about the fashion scene in Donegal?
It would be great to have some more vintage shops and local producers to change things up a bit!
15. What has been your best investment piece?
I don’t think I have one… not anymore anyway… everything I buy these days is second hand, or not that expensive… but I have some coats that I found in charity shops at home in Letterkenny and if they had of been new they definitely would have been “investments”! Very good quality and will last an age.
16. What’s the wackiest item you own?
My pink tye dye Rat and Boa dress – it’s really bright with massive bell sleeves!
17. If you could wear only one outfit for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Good fitting denim jeans and plain tight black vest top with a brown belt and tiny wee gold hoops, and the shoes would depend on what country I live on and the season.
18. What has been your biggest fashion faux-pas?
The time me and my friends flew to Manchester to go to the Warehouse Project. It was before the days of smartphones and having social media and the internet at your fingertips, so we just assumed, because the music was going to be electronic shall we say, that the dress code must be “illuminous rave gear”.
So we spend the whole day in Manchester going around trying to find the brightest tackiest cheapest clothes like tights, leggings, tutus, bandeaus – we succeeded – not forgetting the neon face paint… And well, wouldn’t you know, when we got there we realised, this is just a normal club that plays electronic music every week – not one other being in that place had gone for the “rave theme”. Just us. Lucky the only camera of the night was stolen!
19. If money wasn’t a factor, what would you buy?
I’d buy shoes and bags from all the best vegan fashion companies, like Matt and Nat, Stella Mc Cartney, Wills Vegan Shoes, etc. Love all those brands and love what they’re doing – most people consider vegan shoes and bags to be ugly and hippy like. And they were, to be fair, until recently.
But now, these companies among others, are creating styles that are actually acceptable in the world of fashion! I can’t wait to treat myself with a pair of good winter boots from Will’s.
20. How do you feel when you’re in your favourite outfit?
It’s good to not feel paranoid about how you look! If I have an outfit on that doesn’t make me feel self-conscious and that brings out my best features then usually I’ll have a much better day because it’s less to worry about.
Would you like to spill your style secrets? Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org