Friday, June 22, 2012

Dublin: Drenched in Design

Dublin has been drizzling, dripping, and raining droplets of beauty since my plane landed yesterday at 7 AM. The wet climate not only makes the Emerald Isle “forty shades of green,” but seems to help the growth of warmth, culture, and art. My first impression of this city, which is home to over 25% of Ireland’s population, was a urban yet quaint, walkable, friendly city where pub culture, design, graffiti, and deep-rooted cultural quirks flow through the city like the River Liffey.

Style-wise, Dublin women have found the perfect balance of dressing impeccably while simultaneously braving the unpredictable weather. Here, “wellies” (rainboots), colorful tights, and the perfect raincoat are the essentials for looking flawless in the on-and-off drizzle. Dubliners look fashionable in the rain, so when the sun comes out, they’re simply radiant. 

I’ve walked along the major shopping street of the northern half of the city, Henry Street, and briefly explored the Creative Quarter, which is home to small thrift stores and boutiques that feature up-and-coming Irish designers. I’ve seen some of the most delicate pieces of jewelry, beautiful wedding gowns, and hats designed by Aisling Ahern, the Millinery of the year. The school I’m attending, Dublin Business School, is conveniently located a block away from the Creative Quarter and I cannot wait to explore it on my lunch breaks and after class.

Here are some of the photographs I took (encouraged by the store owner) of the visual merchandising, jewelry, and tags that stood out the most in the first store I walked into this afternoon, Om Diva:

Aisling Millinery
Made in Ireland Project
Jewelry displayed on a flower hook

The store consists of four levels: the basement has vintage pieces, the main floor is established designers, the second floor is home to new Irish designers, and the third floor is a studio for one of the clothing designers. Bella, Om Diva's shop worker, explained to me how Irish designers are just now starting to get support and are gaining popularity. Thrift stores are a favorite, as well as stores like Topshop, Penneys, and Dunnes. In just two days, I've discovered some of the most welcoming and creative shops and I cannot wait to find what else Dublin has to offer.

Slán go fóill,

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