New vintage clothes store in fashion

Talk about getting off on the right foot. Just one week after its opening, a fashion boutique in Cork has been dubbed one of Britain and Ireland’s six best independent boutiques by leading fashion magazine Elle.

Brocade & Lime hopes to change the face of the city by reintroducing its women to vintage clothing. The business is bucking the trend of mass closures of Ireland’s independent shops, which The Irish Post reported on in September.

“I am absolutely amazed that our work has been recognised in this way already,” says owner Emma Ahern. “I have to thank the people of Cork for their immensely positive reaction. They have embraced Brocade & Lime. I think people generally were happy to see something so colourful, original and fresh appear.”

Emma, 37, was inspired to start the business, and leave behind her career in biochemistry, by the 1060s inspired geometric prints of London-based Irish designer Orla Kiely. The Dubliner’s clothing now features alongside five others in the shop, which provides a comprehensive catalogue of fashion inspired by the ’40s, ’50s and ’60s. “The choosing of the labels and the meeting with the designers was by far my favourite and easiest part of the process,” Emma said.

Last week’s launch, which was attended by 25 vintage styled ladies, marked the end of a 10-month renovation project on the Cornmarket Street building. The work has transformed the property from a derelict Victorian townhouse into an internationally recognised boutique replete with the hallmarks of a bygone era.

Despite recognising the difficulties facing Ireland’s independent shops, Emma is confident that Brocade & Lime can compete with its high-street rivals by offering a unique shopping experience. On top of its exclusive lines of vintage clothing, it houses a beauty parlour and a hidden courtyard where customers can drink complimentary cocktails while watching black and white movies.

“I would also like to introduce labels inspired by the ’20s and ’70s and promote the boutique as a venue for intimate vintage styled breakfasts, high teas and soirees,” Emma added. “I have three floors above me to renovate so I’m sure I won’t be left idle.”

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