The ‘3:1’ shopping deal means that for every new purchase, at least three old clothing items need to find new homes — something to keep in mind before heading down to Om Diva’s superb Summer Fair
Irish designers, homegrown brands and local shops remain absolutely top of my priority list as I head back to bricks-and-mortar retail next week.
I got a quick 90-minute sprint around Brown Thomas last Monday and saw lots of newness in terms of brands on site — from Anine Bing to Hayley Menzies — and picked up a new bottle of Augustinus Bader’s skincare.
Talk about dressing from the head down. I’ve become totally obsessed with my neck during lockdown, and when I saw makeup queen Bobbi Brown raving about Bader’s products, I went back to using mine diligently every day. I’m not ready for Diane Keaton’s turtleneck obsession just yet.
Apart from knowing my little shopping peccadillos a lot better after 14 months at home, I go forward with a new resolve and a better focus as an enthusiastic consumer of lifestyle products.
Just to keep myself on track, every time I go shopping now, the rule is that before I leave home, I take a look at the groaning rails in the spare bedroom. I’ve an absolute zeal to shop, but I also have guilt, so, in order to assuage the latter, I’ve decided that for every new item of clothing that comes across the front door, at least three items from the aforementioned rails have to find new homes — whether that’s resale, donation, reworking, or offering beautiful old vintage pieces as potential deadstock fabric to someone like Laoise Carey for her vintage upcycling.
I’ve mentally inked the 3:1 shopping contract with myself. I firmly believe that many of us will return to retail with different priorities and modes of purchase. We have a better concept of where we went wrong before, no doubt guilted by what hangs in the wardrobe unused.
I wrote earlier this year about how leisurewear wouldn’t be going anywhere soon. I was wrong. I think we will step away now from the hoodies and trackies, but good gym pants will always be useful. I’ve been especially impressed by the lovely Irish brand Fit Pink from Donegal, whose gym pants feel divine to wear and have handy, deep phone pockets down both legs. Pyjamas will continue to hold our affections for summer lounging but, ideally, they have to be in natural fabric.
It’s time for us to step out from dressing like everyone else and put our own stamp of personality on things. From now on, my consumer behaviour has to be measured, considered and not just revolve around the old chestnut of “Does my bum look big in this?” Now I will ask, “What does this purchase add to my life? How useful will it be longterm? What will happen to it later?”
I’ll go shopping next week with a mindfulness that I am no longer shopping for myself: I am shopping with my granddaughter in mind and considering what her world will look like if I overconsume. Sustainability should be up there in our thoughts, along with price and fit.
If you’re craving some unusual homegrown pieces, check out the Summer Fair that Ruth Ní Loinsigh has organised on the first floor of Om Diva on Dublin’s Drury Street. It runs all summer, from 10am-6pm daily, and is a celebration of new beginnings, creativity and growth, with 17 new names alongside 55 resident Irish designers in Atelier 27.
I was instantly smitten by the glorious patchwork in the ‘Hata Gréine’ range from Caoiva Designs. Textile artist Caoimhe Ní Bhroin has loads of different vintage fabrics that she has sourced herself. They are all individual so no two are the same.
Liz Makes Nu is an original collection of unique handmade bags, hats and clothing created by Liz Moffitt, who uses repurposed fabrics like pre-loved denim. When she’s not creating bespoke clothing, Liz is a fashion-design teacher at the Grafton Academy.
Then there’s Fi Carroll, who graduated from NCAD last year. Sustainability is at the centre of her work — her process is very organic and she is guided by whatever materials she can find. Fi uses slow hand processes like painting, embroidery and draping.
Over the last year, I’ve overcome my issues with linen. I adore wearing a natural fabric, but I was preoccupied with wrinkles and feeling I had to iron linen every day I wore it. Now it gets one iron when it’s damp, a squirt of lavender water, and it’s good to go.
My favourite linen masks came from Stable of Ireland and Irish Linen House, and I love the separates from Helen McAlinden and Alanagh Clegg’s Four Threads.
I’m happy to report that August Night, an Irish bag range launched by Caoimhe Grant during lockdown, has introduced bags in a washed linen/cotton mix in a gloriously sophisticated shade called Ash.
“The focus for this capsule collection is to offer the customer a sustainable option, while showcasing beautiful Northern Irish linen in a contemporary, everyday accessory: a gorgeous linen bag,” says Caoimhe.
Five styles include a knot clutch (€135), mini bow crossbody (€245), large bow crossbody (€285), and mini and knot totes (€225 and €255 respectively).