Based in San Francisco, the Margaret O’Leary clothing company is renowned for its glorious collections of cutting-edge knitwear. Evolving out of the fog and sea breeze of San Francisco, and now embraced around the globe, customers know and love the affordable luxury of CEO Designer Margaret, who is often found in one of her ten eponymous boutiques.
Margaret and her San Francisco design team create collections infused with a relaxed sensibility and a California Chic aesthetic, with just a hint of Margaret’s native Ireland. Building on feedback from customers at her boutiques, Margaret explores and mirrors the ever-changing West Coast fashion experience. Always produced using the finest yarns, including Margaret’s favorite Scottish cashmere, each piece is made with the care and consideration that comes from a Founder-owned family business.
Celebrities wearing Margaret O'Leary include Kate Hudson, Madonna, Marcia Cross, Jennifer Garner, Kaley Cuoco, Jennifer Love Hewitt and Halle Berry... and since the introduction of Margaret’s Men’s collection Hollywood’s leading men have been spotted wearing Liam O’Leary! After 24 years dressing some of the world’s most stylish women Margaret O’Leary has become a fashion icon!
Margaret was born in County Kerry, Ireland and is the second oldest of twelve children, “not uncommon for a good Irish family back then,” according to Margaret. Her passion for knitwear was nurtured by her mother, Rita, almost before Margaret uttered her first word. In those days it was customary for all knits to be produced by the family and it was rare for an Irish farm family to buy store bought knitwear.
After immigrating to San Francisco in 1990, Margaret created hand-loomed knitwear in her tiny apartment and began selling her creations to local boutiques. Within a year she was discovered by Barneys and the orders multiplied. The knitwear line grew into a full collection which led Margaret to open her first retail store at San Francisco’s Claude Lane. There are now ten Margaret O’Leary boutiques up and down the West Coast.
Margaret’s collections evolve from a unique design sensibility that marries luxury with the effortless chic found in California. Margaret personally oversees the creation of her knits and sportswear, from initial design, selection of the finest yarns and cashmere, and production, to ensure the quality for which she is known.
For inspiration Margaret travels far and wide, shopping vintage stores from Cligancourt Paris to the Alameda flea markets. “The past can inspire the future, if you know how to absorb the inspiration,” says Margaret. In addition to designing her own collections, Margaret leads buying trips from Paris to Istanbul to find the great shoes, shirts, jeans and accessories that complement her collections in her boutiques.
Margaret O'Leary and husband, Bill, live just over the Golden Gate Bridge in Mill Valley, California with their three sons, Jack, Chaz and Dan.