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Manhattan fashion designer Yuri Lee Keown on creating her sustainable fashion brand Love Wonky in Co Down

Manhattan fashion designer Yuri Lee Keown tells Linda Stewart how she came to muster a small army of Co Down knitters to help create her new sustainable fashion brand

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Slower pace of life: New York fashion designer Yuri Lee Keown at her husband’s farm in Kilkeel

Slower pace of life: New York fashion designer Yuri Lee Keown at her husband’s farm in Kilkeel

Stephen Hamilton

A model wearing pieces from Yuri’s new fashion line

A model wearing pieces from Yuri’s new fashion line

Yuri Lee Keown with knitters Elizabeth Graham and Esther Spiers in Kilkeel

Yuri Lee Keown with knitters Elizabeth Graham and Esther Spiers in Kilkeel

Stephen Hamilton

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Slower pace of life: New York fashion designer Yuri Lee Keown at her husband’s farm in Kilkeel

"It was never supposed to happen this way," says New York designer Yuri Lee Keown. She had planned to come to Kilkeel in spring last year to marry her fiance Thomas Keown, but thanks to the pandemic she found herself stranded in Northern Ireland, unable to go ahead with long-held plans to return to the States to launch a fashion line.

Instead, she found herself debuting her Love Wonky brand from a sheep farm in the Mournes and recruiting her mother-in-law's friends to knit hats and scarves that retail for up to $200 in the States.

The 38-year-old designer, who is of Korean descent, has been part of the industry for 17 years, working for big names such as DKNY, Victoria's Secret and Anthropologie.


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