W24 BELFAST: Inside the collection with búl designer Virginia Martin.

Why is Belfast the inspiration behind this collection?

I had the opportunity to stay in Belfast (a coastal city in Northern Ireland) for three winter months in a little place called ‘Holywood.’ Staying for an extended period of time allowed me to completely immerse myself in the rich history, culture, and natural beauty of this unique region.

During my stay I learned further of ‘the Troubles,’ a 30-year conflict which is still felt today. Wandering through the city and neighbourhoods you see large-scale peace murals that wrap around the buildings and serve as a visual testimony towards these extremely complex times. The city also holds a strong maritime connection widely known as the birthplace of the Titanic and of course the surrounding landscapes of Northern Ireland are extremely picturesque, rolling hillsides, inland lakes, castles, forests and not to mention many a Game of Thrones backdrop. However, the standout of my experience was by far the warm, welcoming, and humorously spirited people. 

Belfast holds a distinctive and diverse character and I am proud to incorporate inspiration from this beautifully resilient place into our latest collection.


What story are you trying to tell?

A tale of transformation, resilience, and a harmonious blend of heritage with modernity. As the label reaches its 15th anniversary this year, Belfast unfolds a distinctive story by subtly acknowledging our past through both familiar and reimagined silhouettes. This narrative is complemented by new design inspirations, contemporary techniques, and modernised functionality and form.

What styles can we expect to see?

Inspired by the city’s blend of tradition and modernity, this collection showcases a diverse array of styles. Dresses and outerwear incorporate familiar and newly developed silhouettes with refreshed Northern Ireland palettes, while separates and knitwear encourage playful mixing and matching, exploring the heritage versus modern narrative.

Pants are found in cropped, wide, straight and flared options with pintuck detailing and contrast stitching. Skirts explore a variety of lengths in light and heavier fabrications and tops have been designed with fitted to flowy silhouettes from oversized shirting to tailored waistcoats.

Outerwear draws from Belfast’s rich maritime history through heritage checks and nautical-inspired fabrics such as heavy wool blends and structured cottons. Longline coats mix with cropped, boxy and a-line silhouettes, plus our ‘Selva’ raincoats return in new seasonal shades alongside a shorter version with a biker-inspired design.

Occasionwear looks toward Belfast’s arts precinct across maxi dresses with contrast panelling and mini belts, to sleevless mini dresses in lustrous colour-ways and 3-piece suiting in classic navy or a statement mint/brown check.

Denim returns and channels industrial workwear from the historical shipping yards with dark indigo washes and silver rivets across 3 jean variations and a matching cropped and oversized jacket.

Knitwear explores Northern Ireland palettes in warming wool blends across base layer skivvies, fluffy vests, multi-colour jumpers and a playfully giant scarf accessory, the ‘Tolg’.

And finally, footwear continues the hertiage vs modern narrative by combining familiar styles, such as our ‘Ett’ boot and ‘Siema’ brogue with new loafer variations in slate blue and rust with contrast stitching and high gloss finishes.


How did you create the colour palette?

I gathered a variety of colour inspirations over my 3 month stay across Northern Ireland’s landscapes, Belfast’s maritime ties and industrial history with mixes of modern elements too.

Deep Navy, Petrol, and Slate reflect Belfast’s strong connection to the seas and its nautical history. Inspired by the rolling hills and countryside, Hunter Green, Khaki, and Olive pay homage to Ireland’s natural landscapes. Whiskey, Chocolate, and Rust capture the rugged beauty of places like the Giant’s Causeway and ancient stone structures. Bright pops of Tangerine, Pink, and Cherry draw from Belfast’s vibrant art scene in the cathedral quarter and urban areas. Pastels represent the soft misty sunrises and moody winter skies of Northern Ireland, while Lilac takes from the wild Aster flower. Finally, our studio-designed prints explore warped lines, mimicking the dance-like movements of the Irish sea.

What fabrications can be found throughout W24?

Considering Belfast’s cooler climate, the collection places emphasis on natural wools, incorporating Merino, Alpaca, and blended variations across base, mid, and top layers.

Cotton, a constant presence in our styles, is featured in heritage checks with mid-weight pairings and heavier denim styles with a raw indigo finish.

Plant-derived options, including Tencel and Cupro blends, are integrated for their durability, breathability, and the addition of a beautiful drape and soft-textural finish.

Rayon and Viscose have been used for their blending capabilities, particularly with Cotton to enhance specific properties such as durability.

Across footwear and accessories you’ll find box, matte, and patent Leathers selected for their enduring quality, adaptability and timeless comfort.

While visiting Belfast, what do you enjoy most? 

The city is small enough to be easily walkable and I enjoyed visiting historical landmarks such as Belfast City Hall, Cave Hill, and the Peace Walls alongside conversing with the locals and learning more about the complex time of ‘The Troubles’. 

Day trips to sites like Giant’s Causeway, (which is steeped in mythical legend) for its unique basalt columns, was truly unforgettable. Additionally, hiking up Cave Hill to take in the panoramic views of the city and its surroundings, the local produce from St. George’s Market and of course experiencing traditional Irish dishes, particularly their hearty stews which became favourites during the cold winter months.

And lastly, what is your favoured piece of the collection?

The Darmowy Coat (available March 28) for its fun silhouette, oversized collar, bright orange/brown check print and warm wool blend - perfect for the looming Melbourne winter.