Loot – True Blue

Posted 5 months ago in Design

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How Loot is revolutionising the way Dubliners shop vintage

When Loot, a vintage concept store, opened its doors on 13 Fade Street in May 2022, they did it with a party. With pizza courtesy of Bambino, champagne from Moët and beers provided by White Hag, plus music provided from local DJ Fhionn, Loot’s glamorous launch felt like a breath of fresh air in the Dublin creative scene.

One year later, the brand has gone from strength to strength, recently moving into a bigger home on 23 Drury Street. Loot was founded by Emma Fraser, the brains behind vintage clothing store Nine Crows, as well as management agency and production company Not Another Intl.

I spoke to Katie-Ruby Robinson, stylist and creative director of Loot, to learn about their whirlwind story so far.

“I started working in fashion alongside Emma when I was 18 and working with Nine Crows, in their store and also online. We worked together from then until I decided to move to Stockholm. I worked in creative for H&M’s head office and ended up being there for four years.”

It was after these four years that Emma gave Katie a proposition: “She said, ‘I’m collecting all these amazing pieces. It’s going to be a business, but we’re not sure what it will be yet.’ I came back to Dublin to shoot the pieces for her, and that turned into RÊVERIE.”

RÊVERIE was founded during 2020 as an online store and swiftly began carving out a name for itself in the Irish fashion scene. Unlike its counterparts, it specialised in bi-weekly drops of vintage womenswear, offering a limited selection of high-quality pieces. Katie tells me that the curated nature of their offering is key to the brand’s appeal.

“[RÊVERIE] is about creating a space where it doesn’t feel intimidating to shop sustainability. We’ve done the hard work for you so you can find amazing pieces at affordable prices. It’s also about making designer products accessible, as well.”

As RÊVERIE’s community continued to grow online, they began to form connections with customers and noticed an appetite for a brick-and-mortar store. “It was really important for people to explore the whole range and try these things on,” Katie tells me.

“We wanted to make a design-led creative space in Dublin where we could incorporate vintage brands, as well as things like magazines, especially publications that you typically can’t find here.”

Drawing on Emma’s experience from Nine Crows, they began to concept what their dream space would look like, working alongside friends and collaborators Roger Kelly, Kaitlyn Burke and Jean O’Reilly.

“[Loot] is such a small team and we’ve all worked together for such a long time. In terms of design, we all had our own individual ideas about what we wanted it to be, but there was also this sense of symbiosis about how we wanted it to work together. There was sort of a red thread throughout our concepts. We had a joint moodboard, and with everything we added, there seemed to be a correlation between our ideas. That’s where we landed with Loot.”

One of the most striking things about Loot is its strong visual identity. The store is painted a bright, cobalt blue, which sings loud and proud amongst the red-brick of Dublin’s city centre. Inside the store, airy white walls are contrasted with hints of their signature shade, making the space feel modern and fresh. Publications such as The Gentlewoman and Highsnobiety are placed on glass tables alongside gold matchbooks and antique glassware. Encased in cabinets are beautiful trinkets such as vintage Chanel sunglasses, handcrafted lighters from Irish cannabis brand High Minds, and delicate rings from Inné Jewellery.

Downstairs is home to RÊVERIE, where shoppers are invited to browse their collection of womenswear, which spans from delicate lace corsets to silk slip dresses and sporty tank tops. Upstairs is Heritage, the menswear arm of the company, where you can find treasures including cosy wool jumpers, workwear pieces, and an impressive stash of vintage t-shirts.

“There is a bit of gender fluidity as to how the customers are shopping, which is something we will explore more,” Katie notes. “Heritage appeals to both the womenswear and menswear customer and so does RÊVERIE as well.”

Writing this piece, I feel tempted to describe Loot’s aesthetic as ‘effortlessly cool,’ but that would do a disservice to the intentionality of the space. It is clear that every element of Loot’s creative direction, from the in-store experience to the brand’s social media presence, has been carefully considered.

“Since we spend so much time curating the collections that come through our blue doors, it feels important for the clothes to do the talking.” To let the clothes speak, Katie says, “the accents of design in-store needed to be subtle.”

The clothes are at the heart of Loot – and, if the pieces could talk, I imagine they would have a fascinating tale to tell. “We want to push products that we really believe in,” says Katie. “Behind every item there is such a long story: from us going somewhere in Europe, to us picking the piece, then bringing it back to Dublin and choosing where it goes.”

“We want to encourage people to make conscious shopping decisions rather than overconsumption. [Loot] is inclusive and for everyone, and it encourages all shoppers to shop responsibly as well as ethically,” she notes.

Loot’s Instagram page is constantly active, updating their community on new product drops, which people can purchase through Instagram DMs, as well as posting about events in-store. Katie tells me that their aim has always been to create a two-way conversation with their customers. Their events, such as pop-ups and launch parties, are more than just a smart way to build brand awareness: they’re about fostering a community. “Creating community was always paramount to our vision. From the get-go, having [Loot] be consistently collaborative was really important to us.”

“It’s about encouraging interactions between not only us and our customers, but also helping our customers meet each other. When you’re living in the city centre and working in the city centre, you can sometimes feel like you lack community, so it’s lovely to feel like we have created that,” Katie adds.

It’s clear to me that the Loot team are constantly busy planning their next move, and my chat with Katie shows that they have endless ideas up their (vintage designer, likely chiffon) sleeves. They are working on a series called Loot Presents, which will take the form of fashion presentations using collections consisting of entirely vintage clothes. They also hope to collaborate with more Irish brands that align with their vision, and down the line would love to host Loot pop-ups overseas.

Most of all, however, the Loot team’s ambition is to continue building the brand, and to keep crafting a space for people to gather: whether that’s for art exhibitions, pop-ups, or simply to come in and browse. “We are building a space and we don’t want it to feel intimidating, because stores like this sometimes can. For us, everyone is welcome to come in and hang out.”


Words: Kerry Mahony


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