Who do you call British, says proud to be Irish designer Simone Rocha


Simone Rocha is in good company – she joins record jockey Rachael Blackmore and Oscar-nominated actress Jessie Buckley as another hugely successful Irish woman to be regularly tagged as British.

he fashion designer and daughter of John Rocha has revealed that she is regularly forced to correct people who call her British.

She said, while living and working in London, that most people mistake her nationality: “People think I’m a British designer and I’ll always correct them and tell them I’m an Irish designer.

“I’ve always been very proud and public of where I come from and growing up in Ireland, being half Irish, half Chinese, I don’t think I need to justify it or apologize for it. C “It’s just a part of me. So when people make that mistake, honestly all you can really do is correct them. That’s the only way to address it.”

The Dublin native was speaking the same week as Rachael Blackmore was described as the ‘greatest Briton of the week’ by a UK TV channel following her Gold Cup win at Cheltenham.

Last month the BBC and Sky News branded Jessie Buckley British as she reported on her first Oscar nomination for her role in The lost girl.

“Two British actresses in the best supporting actress category, of course – Judi Dench and also Jessie Buckley,” Sky News presenter Jayne Secker erroneously claimed.

Rocha spoke to Sunday Independent as she prepared to launch a new art exhibition which she curated at Lismore Castle, County Waterford.

Entitled Girls! Girls! Girls! it runs from Saturday to October and features artists such as Sophie Barber, Sian Costello, Eimear Lynch, Domino Whisker and Cindy Sherman. Rocha says he will explore femininity – not in a “sweet, sweet way” but in the “disruption” underneath.

“Even though this is an all-female show, artists should not be constrained by the fact that they are female artists, and some of them do not identify as female or male I wanted to emphasize that this is about the job,” she said.

“It doesn’t matter if you’re male or female, it should be about work.”

Rocha became a world-renowned designer in her own right after completing her Masters in Fashion at Central Saint Martins, which also trained John Galliano and Alexander McQueen.


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