Whether you’re new to Dublin, or new to college, you have been presented with the perfect opportunity to re-envisage yourself – your persona, character and interests. You have been given free reign, potentially for the first time in your life, to explore your sense of self – who you are and who you want to be. Fashion, of course, has various levels of importance in people’s lives… it can be an outlet of expression, or simply be a functional necessity.
For me, how I present myself is an exciting and important part of who I am – an opportunity for expression. Here is my insight into the convenience, and fashion potential, of clothes shops in Dublin… in the truest sense of living on a student budget, of course!
Dublin itself has a very prominent fashion scene to explore. Enthusiasts can be spotted all about the town, in particular in areas like Powerscourt/George’s Street Arcade. A bit closer to home, the campus is dripping in fashion inspiration! I have found Trinity to be a very balanced world of fashion and ,should you be interested, there is a lovely platform of non-judgemental, quirky and fun fashion fans all across college. The Arts Block is a haven to show off your tastes, should you desire. But if not, no worries! College style seems to be made up of the interested disinterest, the intentionally unintentional, and the cool and understated. But, of course, the zingy quirks of high fashion are all very welcome, should you feel the need to stand out!
Penneys – The Powerhouse of Quick Irish Fashion:
Penneys is a major Irish attraction for fashion… its concept of quick, semi-disposable, SUPER-cheap clothing started in Dublin in the late 60s. It has since expanded under the name of Primark across Europe. Penneys is excellent for stocking on the essentials without breaking the bank balance. There are several dotted around the city, one of the largest and most convenient is on Henry Street (just off O’Connell Street ).
Charity Shop Culture:
I’m pretty sure Macklemore’s Thrift shop was the pinnacle of the Charity Shop Movement in recent years, where suddenly the value of your clothing was no longer dictated by the size of the price tag, but instead by how little you paid to snag some gem. That said, Dublin is brimming with hidden treasures, with a plethora of Charity shops to scour. Notable ones to visit are the triptyque on George’s Street – Amnesty, Enable and the Salvation Army, all a mere five minutes from Trinity’s Front Gate. Another is the Harlequinn – a more vintage feel shop, between Drury and South William Street.
European High Street Shopping:
A distinctly European approach to clothes shopping is to have a main shopping street with all of the “High Street” brands in close proximity – a parallel approach to a mall or shopping centre. Personally, I enjoy the high street shopping vibe – soaking up the buzz of the city streets, whilst perusing shop to shop. The following are three shops that broadly encompass European style, that will be found on the high street.
1. Topman/Topshop – British Style:
The quirky-cool, London-based brand has firmly rooted itself as one of the most notable purveyors of current British trends. The notorious London-rebellion feeling can be found across the city; with the largest Topshop at the top of Grafton street and the flagship Topman is half way up Grafton.
2. H&M – Scandinavian Style:
H&M is a Swedish giant in Fashion – one of the quickest to turnaround new trends. H&M recently (Dec 2014) opened a gigantic flagship store in a beautiful old Georgian-Dublin building on College Green (at Trinity’s doorstep), for a unique retail experience.
3. Zara – Spanish Style:
Zara is an equally large Global Clothing Company, and competitor of H&M. It hails from Spain, and has an effortless, super-cool style where you are guaranteed to find an item you want (need) every visit. I recommend the Zara on Henry street for maximum choice and shopping experience.
It is definitely worth getting lost in the streets of Dublin, shop-hopping between stores, as an activity to get to know the city, and to get to know your own sense of style when first stumbling into the city and new college lifestyle.
Byrne is a Student Ambassador for the Global Room and is on the committee of Trinity Fashion Society.