One of Northern Ireland’s biggest breakthrough designers, Lisa McCabe, of Nor Lisa, has sat down to our My Belfast challenge.
Lisa took time out of her extremely busy schedule in the build-up to this year’s Belfast Fashion Week, in which her show-stopping, bespoke creations promise to be one of the highlights of this year’s Designer Show on Thursday night (Oct 15).
Enniskillen, Fermanagh – but I have lived in Belfast for almost ten years and I love the city.
Tell us something your mum doesn’t know about you?
Me and my mum are very close so there are very little facts my mum doesn’t know about me! Even if I did do tell a little white lie, she always gets the truth out of me eventually!
I’m pretty sure she’s psychic. One thing I will usually do when I go off travelling unexpectedly, or when I do charity challenges I will tell her I HAD to do it or it was for work so I don’t get told off. A few weeks ago I did an abseil off the Europa Hotel for Akita Rescue NI (a fantastic self-funded local charity) which I didn’t tell her about. She found out and was very worried for me. I did get told off next time I saw her!
What would you do if you had the keys to the city for the day?
I would have to arrange a massive outdoors fashion show/festival with lots of music and colour! Something similar to Culture Night where you still have the artists, arts, music etc but with a large scale fashion show throughout the city!
What’s the most interesting discovery you’ve made in Belfast?
I have made so many little discoveries in Belfast, mostly in regards to shopping and food! I am a big fan of supporting local businesses.
If you’re a chocolate fan, the place to be has definitely got to be Co Couture, their luxurious chocolates are made in small batches using only the finest raw ingredients to ensure the ultimate taste sensation!
The Chelsea Bar is a hidden gem located on the Lisburn Road, they serve amazing cocktails and food in decadent surroundings, relaxed atmosphere and unique offerings. Zen is one of Belfast’s most beloved Asian cuisine restaurants. Whole-hearted food and creative cocktails is what makes Zen one of my firm favourites.
Shopping-wise,I love checking out other local designers and hand-made interiors. My favourites would have to be Refound, which is an interior store which recreates found furniture into individual one-offs – reuse, restyle!
Also Studio Souk is an open plan creative studio/retail space which supports over 60 local artists and designers – you’re always sure to find some interesting pieces from home grown talent! Even though I haven’t been able to get a chance to step foot into it yet, Grainne Maher – Fashion Vault, is a new Belfast boutique stocking many of Ireland and the UK’s finest luxury independent labels, millinery, jewellery, bags, womenswear and even more – it looks very promising from what I’ve seen online!
Which building would you most like to be locked in overnight?
Anyone who knows me will know I am a massive animal lover. I initially thought the zoo but I know I would much prefer Akita Rescue NI kennels…. I adore all the dogs, I bonded a lot with the older man Zeppelin who sadly won’t be around much longer. I would love to spend night stroking them and showing them love which unfortunately they don’t get enough of!
Joe Manganiello or Hugh Jackman. Apparently I like strong men with beards.
Describe your perfect day in the city?
Waking up in the Merchant Hotel in a big fluffy bed, then having breakfast at the very quirky bohemian restaurant AMPM. Then I would pop around to Co Couture for an indulgent hot chocolate to warm myself up, before popping out to have a look around my favourite local stores.
For lunch I would go to St Georges market to see all my friends with their different handmade stalls, one of my favourite stalls is Jeffs from The Belfast Times who is an amazing graphic designer/artist and creates locally themed merchandise!
This is all in prep for Belfast Fashion Week Designer night of course, where I would sip on some West Coast Cooler and watch all the biggest season looks on the catwalk. Finishing off in Union Street for some drag queen comedy, one of my favourite acts includes Trudy Scrumptious who is not only breath-takingly flawless but also extremely funny! Trudy also preforms for Cabaret Supper Club Belfast which is a night of comedy, drag queens, burlesque and amazing food/drink!
Earliest Belfast memory?
My earliest memory of Belfast would have to be the first time I came here. It was my interview for university so I was nervous yet excited. I wasn’t meant to go to uni until the following year as I was due to do my Foundation in Art and Design in Enniskillen but thought I would tag along for experience. I got in with an unconditional offer and I couldn’t believe it. I actually called the education board to ask was it a mistake! The following September, my Belfast adventure finally began when I moved up full time at the age of 17.
What movie most closely resembles your life story and why?
Right now, I will have to say “Dior and I.” It showcases the amount of hard work that it takes to create avante garde couture pieces which is what I do myself. People don’t usually understand the amount of work that goes into creating a collection so I would recommend this movie to any fashion lovers.
Sum up Belfast in three words?
Cultured, beautiful and exciting.