What is Le Chéile?
Le Chéile is a Belfast based jewellery brand that bases designs around art and fashion. We established Le Chéile to create a high end Irish fashion brand that expresses modern Irish culture. At Le Chéile we (friends Cara Mahon and Niamh McCluskey) curate and design seasonal volumes of jewellery using a range of different materials and media to create original pieces.
What does Le Chéile mean?
We brainstormed different names for a while and knew we wanted the name to be as Gaeilge. Le Chéile translates to ‘together’ and we thought that was a good fit as we both work together, make and design the rings together and the rings can be worn together. We started our business during the pandemic when we needed to come together more than ever.
Who is behind the brand?
I’m Niamh McCluskey and I’m one half of Le Chéile. I have a background in Fashion Management and Womens-wear Buying which compliments Cara’s metal work skills. I mostly focus on jewellery design and social media at the minute but developing my metal skills. We started Le Chéile during Covid lockdown after we both realised life was too short to not do the things you love.
I’m Cara Mahon and I’m the other half of Le Chéile. After finishing my degree in Silversmithing & Jewellery in Ulster University I knew it was just the start of my metal work career. I love working alongside Niamh - her eye for fashion really compliments my skills and we work together so well.
Everything you see is a two woman job! We design, create and make everything ourselves, while constantly developing our skills. From buying raw materials to packing orders and everything in between, we’re so lucky to be able to work together doing what we love.
Where did you meet?
Funny enough we actually met in a bar in Belfast through friends of friends. Niamh was a visual merchandiser in retail with plans to move to Australia and Cara was midway through her metal smithing degree in Ulster University. If you would have told us a few years later we would have started a business together we wouldn’t have believed you!
What inspired you to make jewellery?
We take a lot of inspiration from women in our lives, with all our products being named after them. We both are inspired by traditional Irish jewellery that you would typically see on your granny and love that they have a certain type of jewellery; chunky rings, layered necklaces and statement earrings. We love the idea that the older women in our lives have jewellery from when they were “our age”, and we take inspiration from this generation and add a modern flare to it. We think by adding a minimal twist to the “Irish Granny” jewellery it makes it more appealing to a new generation of women and hopefully it will be something that they have when they are older.
You are the real deal, with everything genuinely made in Belfast. Where is your studio? What is your process?
Typically our process starts with brainstorming together, creating mood boards and playing with metal to make prototypes. This process usually takes a while as we really want our products to be top quality. Our studio is in North Belfast and we work online. We hope one day in the near future to have our own shop but so pleased to have our first stockist with Maven!
What’s next for Le Chéile?
The goal for Le Chéile would be for us to have our own shop where we could sell our products and get to meet our customers. We love working with local creatives in Belfast and hopefully in the future we could have workshop nights in our shop and have featured monthly artists to get to know the creative community in Belfast.