This month’s Garb extends its gaze past the parameters of the city centre and into the suburbs of Smithfield and Stoneybatter respectively. With gentrification grumblings never far from earshot, it is also impossible to ignore the recent surge of coffee shops and concept bars. Along with these new additions, come Lyón Loring of Stoneybatter and The Vintage Factory of Smithfield. These are two purveyors of vintage with boutiques straddling accessibility and eccentricity with a vibe not dissimilar to their surroundings. Boasting clobber by the kilo and a bespoke feel facilitated by handpicked pieces, whether you’re a naysayer or a pinball player, there’s something to be found and cherished.
“Ignorance is bliss,” Joshua Moreno begins. “When we were starting out everyone kept telling my husband and I how brave we were, for going for it, for trying something new. But to be honest, we didn’t know any better.” What they went for, was Lyón Loring, a small design shop at the top end of Manor St in the heart of Stoneybatter. Somewhat off the beaten track when it comes to the shopping district of Dublin, the question was posed as to why here? Not negatively but more inquisitively, as to why would a specialist boutique like Lyón Loring find its home in Dublin 7.
Moreno, who has, in the past, called the likes of Lima, Toronto and Roscommon all home, admits to having a naiveté to the capital before arriving, not only as a place to live but also as a place to start a business. “I didn’t have a huge opportunity to investigate this side of the city before I arrived. And when we did, there wasn’t much happening here. But over the past few years we’ve seen a change. Stoneybatter has turned into something really brilliant. It has created a new atmosphere for itself.”
This atmosphere, according to Moreno, is down to its inhabitants. “There is a fabulous mix of people here, everyone from yuppies, to students, to families. It is so diverse but with a genuine, organic feel to it. We love being a part of this neighbourhood; it’s a real creative, energetic hub.”
The part Moreno and co. play in this hub, is an urbane one, a stylistic infusion of design on streets already filled with character. Lyón Loring is a quaint boutique possessing a balance of coyness and flare, expressing itself through its carefully sourced hand picked pieces and its owners who take pleasure in that picking. The reasoning behind this precise picking is manifold, starting with a want of accessibility.
“I just couldn’t justify the high cost of vintage in Dublin,” explains Moreno. A fact easily explained to any vintage lover who has left the emerald isle in search of recycled rags. There is no denying that in comparison to the markets of Paris or the warehouses of Berlin, secondhand clothing in Dublin (like most things) ain’t cheap. Not that cheap is what Lyón Loring is going for. The close proximity of buyer to consumer is as much to do with cost as it is with condition. “It’s the only way we can ensure an upkeep of quality. Handpicking the garments allows us to ensure the price is low and the product is good.”
Good vintage is something Moreno is all too familiar with as he has been collecting it since his teens. “I’ve always loved reusing things and wearing items with some sort of heritage or story to them. Before we came to Ireland, I was constantly in charity shops and flea markets collecting, so of course when it came to moving I realised just how much stuff I had built.”
It was this accumulation and what Moreno saw as a gap in the Dublin market which spurred on his idea for Lyón Loring. Traditionally when it came to shopping for vintage, many outlets could be found selling rags for riches, with a good old fashion rummage thrown in, just for your pleasure. And the spaces in between? These were filled with mode à la McDonalds, something Moreno noted about the Irish market. “Ireland really suffers from fast fashion,” explains Moreno, “there is a huge culture of buy often and buy plenty over here.”
“The message isn’t that you have to stop shopping in Penneys completely,” Moreno explains, without a trace of a militant note in his speech. It is about buying more carefully and consciously, rather than restricting all at once. “You can do both,” he says of the high street, secondhand clash, “it’s just about making more out of what you buy.”
The “making more” Moreno speaks of, comes out of charging less in Lyón Loring and thus adding an accessibility to secondhand clothing and a more sustainable movement. “I genuinely love vintage clothing, so there was no great leap for me to follow slow fashion – for others this isn’t the case. Very often people have the intrigue in secondhand but either they don’t want to rummage through stalls or aren’t ready to invest. By handpicking and curating our vintage and keeping the prices low, we make can it a bit more approachable to people.”
And that’s exactly what it is, approachable, with a dainty feel. The one room saloon holds host, to perfectly merched vintage and items ready to encompass themselves into your everyday. Slow fashion dummies and secondhand devotées rejoice, Lyón Loring has filled the gap.
32 Stoneybatter, Dublin 7
Words: Sinead O’Reilly