Garb: Ruth Ni Loinsigh & 2nd Space


Posted 9 months ago in Fashion

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2nd Space was born out of an idea Ruth Ni Loinsigh, founder of Om Diva, had to start a katsu curry shop with her brother-in-law, a fine curry maker apparently. During a buying trip to Asia, Ni Loinsigh sat in one of these little shops and, observing the turnover, had a lightbulb moment. She returned home all fired up, but was met with reactions of “Are you mad? We don’t have time for that!” by her sister and brother-in-law. Rather serendipitously, however, her search for properties for the curry shop that never came to be led her to the Central Dairy. “It happened very quickly, like with Om Diva, when I saw the three rooms. I love that idea of compartmentalising and creating one concept and that leading onto another and creating one identity, but it’s evolving all the time.”

Walking down George’s Street, the bright blue shop front of 2nd Space on the corner of Stephen’s Street is hard to miss. The building’s history is as colourful as the boutique it now houses.Originally a dairy, as the name implies, it went on to become a greengrocer and then a residential house. Only a couple of weeks ago a previous tenant called into the shop and told Ruth that not only is there an old graveyard out back, but there are also tunnels beneath the shop that lead to Dublin Castle, which this woman’s grandmother would scuttle along as a runner for Countess Markievicz. Inside, the store has all the same vibrance and personality of Om Diva, albeit with a different edge. “For a long time Om Diva has been getting more occasion wear, less whimsical and less experimental with prints, and little more expensive and so I kind of missed the slightly more fun elements of fashion.” So is it the little sister of Om Diva? “You have to be careful with your words, if you say it’s the younger version, if you say it’s a funner version, then people will think Om Diva is boring, but yes it’s a little more fun, a little more affordable. So yeah, it’s like the little sister.”

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An avid supporter of young emerging designers, Ni Loinsigh is excited to discover new talent to stock in 2nd Space. Her goal is to give undergraduates and recent graduates a platform before they leave college, so that they may have real life experience of the fashion industry, rather than being thrust straight in out of academia. “It’s giving them the tools. They’re making sales, they’re being used for editorials. So rather than waiting until they are finished college, they’re getting experience while still in there, and it’s fresh.”

When scoping out designers to stock, Ni Loinsigh of course looks for “things that are made well”, but also a balance between creativity and commerciality and someone who knows who their customer is. “I love when people just get that right, like Jack Roche. He knows that he can be experimental but, at the end of the day, he’s making clothes that women can put on and feel great in, that allow women no matter how old they are, to express themselves.”

Ni Loinsigh wants to help these designers to figure that out early on, to see what sells and what customers respond to, by stocking their designs in 2nd Space. Jennifer Byrne is another designer selling well in-store. “When something sells she’ll make something similar, not exactly the same.” This is a perfect example of how the store can help a designer to shape their identity. “It not only means that you’re making something that people will buy and wear, you’re opening up the potential for a career.”

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It’s a risky business stocking young, unknown designers, but money is not the primary goal when stocking these designers. Ni Loinsigh recognises the intrinsic value supporting emerging designers gives to her brand. “A lot of the awards, they need to have three stockists. We don’t care if a collection isn’t commercial enough to sell, we can make our money from the front of the shop and then we in turn get attention because we are doing it. We don’t need to make money from it.”

The Irish fashion industry is becoming a kinder, more supportive place says Ni Loinsigh. “We’re a small community and that network is like a safety net.” She sees the value of supporting our young designers and above all else Ni Loinsigh says “I feel really good about it.”

You can drop into 2nd Space by Om Diva is at 19 Stephen’s Street, Dublin 2, or find them online at facebook.com/2ndspacedublin and 2ndspacedublin.ie

Words: Róisín McVeigh

 

Header image: White dot tulle top, €100; lilac tulle dress, €120; purple velvet pants, €120 all Sibéal Crehan at 2nd Space; Vintage slip dress, €28 at Om Diva

Middle image: Gold long sleeve top, €75, Lisa Corbett; tulle dress worn underneath, €120, Sibéal Crehan; heart slip on shoes, €25, Isabel Gray, all at 2nd Space; Vintage red dress worn as skirt, €65; jewel brooch, €25, both at Om Diva

Bottom image: “Good Grief” t-shirt, €28; vintage scarf worn around head, €8; vintage baseball cap, €12; vintage ruffle swimsuit, €28; green skirt, €75, Stevie Designs by Katie O’Neill; three pink cat rings, €8 each, Forever Feral, all at 2nd Space

Photographer: Ellius Grace // Stylist: Kieran Kilgallon // Model: Molly @ Distinct

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