Interview: Dirty Fabulous Vintage Clothes Store

January 11, 2011 § 1 Comment

Dirty Fabulous is a brilliant vintage clothes store at 21 Wicklow St. The business was started by sisters Kathy and Caroline and here they answer some questions for dublinzine.

Q. When did you set up Dirty Fabulous and what was your inspiration?

A. Myself (Kathy) and my husband had gone travelling in 2006 and I couldn’t believe the amount of gorgeous vintage boutiques that were available in even the smallest towns in New Zealand, Australia and on a larger scale Tokyo and Thailand. We come from a family of tailors, seamstresses and costumers and Caroline (my sister) and I had always been mad about vintage.  We found that we would spend a lot of our holidays in New York sourcing vintage goodies for ourselves as Ireland had so few vintage boutiques at that time. After two years of careful planning we finally opened Dirty Fabulous in 2008 to bring a vintage boutique to Dublin that specialised in occasion and bridal wear. We wanted to show off the glamour, quality, individuality and fun that vintage clothing can offer.

Q. Is there a big market for vintage?

A. The vintage market is definitely growing. It has been huge for quite a while in America, England and some major cities in Europe. But it’s definitely still evolving in Ireland. For us vintage clothing has always offered the chance to wear the most impeccably tailored dresses in sumptuous fabrics without the designer price tags. Seeing celebrities wearing vintage pieces has definitely enabled a shift in the belief that these dresses can be worn to big occasions. It has also established a differentiation between casual thrift clothing and rarer 1930s, ’40s and ’50s pieces.

Q. Do you love sourcing your collections?

A. Sourcing our collection is definitely one of the major highlights of Dirty Fabulous. It is so unpredictable, we just never know what we are going to come across. We have seen some absolute treasures over our past few years of buying. For instance on our last trip we came across two pairs of never been worn1950s  ivory leather Christian Dior evening gloves in their packaging. We  have to put more work into sourcing such a high quality vintage collection as Its becoming harder to find wearable pieces from earlier eras. This is why its important to hold on to your vintage pieces. In another decade they will be impossible to get!  We don’t concentrate on sourcing vintage designer pieces as some of the most beautiful pieces have no labels at all. But we do absolutely love when we come across a fabulous designer. Some of the most collectible and stunning designers that we stock are Ceil Chapman, Emma Domb, Suzy Perette, I. Magnin, Oleg Cassini, Lillie Ann, Hattie Carnegie and Saks Fifth Avenue, all personal favourites!

Q. What are the price ranges of the clothes?

A. Our occasion and party dresses start at €140 – €280. Vintage wedding dresses range from €360  – €800 with some of our rarer pieces going above this.  Our accesories such as jewellery, gloves, bags and hats start at €20 and go up to €160 for signed collectable pieces.

Q. What are your own  favourite designers?

A. My favourite (Kathy) designer is Suzy Perette, they were a company that started in the late 40’s which specialised in creating quality interpretations of Diors’ “New Look” designs. If I had an unlimited budget I would of course love to own a piece of Christian Diors original New Look collection!!!
Caroline’s favourite designer is Ceil Chapman, She also began her business in the 1940’s and was Marilyn Monroe‘s favourite designer. She designed for the movies and television and specialised in cocktail and formal evening wear. Her dresses are utterly divine and hugely collectable!  At Dirty Fabulous we specialise in occasion dresses from the 1930’s to the 1960’s and our dresses we’ve been lucky to see our dresses worn from everything to the IFTAS, Oscars, BAFTAS, weddings and parties.

Q. Any advice for budding entrepeneurs?

A. For anyone thinking of setting up their own business I strongly recommend seeking advice from anyone and everyone. Financial advise, enterprise boards, other people in business, friends, families…research, prepare and research again!!! We wouldn’t be where we are now without listening to all of the brilliant advise we got from everyone we came into contact with. Starting your own business is a huge undertaking and you have to be fully committed and supported in your venture.


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