Small is beautiful
'For every negative, there must a positive," goes the old adage, and in the case of fashion retail right now, this certainly rings true.
You see, while it is now economically very difficult for many young fashion entrepreneurs to open their own premises, opening stores within stores is becoming an exciting new avenue of opportunity for young retailers. These are like pop-up boutiques, but they are more long term.
The concept suits established retailers as these mini-boutiques with their new labels are keeping things fast and fresh. For consumers, it offers a pointed difference from the usual fare, and these indie stores tend to be good value, too.
Zuku by KSO, a stand-alone mini-boutique within The Attic at A wear, is one of the most successful. It stocks a number of quirky underground labels, such as Pepper Tree London, Trollied Dolly and Ruby Rocks, many of which are celeb favourites. With great playsuits, ra-ra skirts and printed tea dresses, the clothes are appropriate, attractive, festival attire -- far nicer than the unsightly uniform of denim hot pants, knee socks and colourful wellies seen at Oxegen.
Geared towards the post-Leaving Cert to the mid-20s age group, Zuku by KSO is playful, trendy and colourful. The pieces look a lot more expensive than they actually are. The label is heavy on dresses -- from the tight and slinky to the soft and vintage, costing from €40 to €80.
For autumn, it's slightly more grown up and international-label savvy with nods to both Moschino and Halston, but at bargain prices.
Much like a boutique, they offer a very personal service and they only deal in small quantities of stock. "We'd rather get a new dress than repeat an existing one, no matter how popular it was," says Aoife Doherty, operations manager.
Keen to keep things updated, Zuku by KSO is constantly doing fresh stock drops throughout the year, even during the sales.
It's the young who are still spending, and an increasing number of retailers have started developing ranges specifically for the 18-25 consumer. Arnotts has a section for the young and trend-conscious, stocking low-priced labels such as Unique Boutique and Maisy. The latter is an Irish designer, who makes fun, flirty clothes, with dresses rarely stretching beyond €39. Dunnes Stores, too, has developed a young, trendy, successful label: Miss Real.
While Zuku by KSO is currently only stocked in A wear's two city-centre flagship stores, it will be arriving into many regional A wear stores in the coming months.
Fashion edited by Constance Harris
All clothes from Zuku by KSO available from The Attic at A|wear, Henry St, D1, tel: (01) 872-4644 and Grafton St, D2, tel: (01) 472-4960
Photography by Liam Murphy,see www.liammurphyphotography.com Assisted by Malcom McGettigan
Styled by Angela Scanlon, see www.angelascanlon.com, Assisted by Siobhan Scanlon
Make-up by Kate Rose Crean, see www.katerosecrean.ie
Hair by Maurice Flynn
Model: Nasrin Leahy for Morgan The Agency