Irish Times - Marino Smart
This a perfect story for the times we’re living in, full of gumption and style
LAST WEEK a new shop opened down a laneway in Fairview, Dublin 3, selling a mix of vintage and handmade clothes designed by the enterprising Deirdre Cantwell in what was once a storeroom beside her father’s former garage business.
A graduate in sports science from the University of Limerick who went on to study dressmaking and fashion design at NCAD and Larkin College, Cantwell first set out her stall when she was 18, during her summer holidays. She then learnt the business side of fashion as a buyer for a large Irish retailer, before taking the leap at 25 to open her own boutique, offering keenly priced, one-off clothes. The garage doors are gone and the small space that once housed car engines and tyres has been insulated and freshly painted. She gives full credit to her parents for their support; her mother, an architect, taught her how to sew.
The shop is open Wednesday to Saturday from 10am to 6pm, allowing her to spend Mondays and Tuesdays tracking down fabrics and accessories – in London, mostly – to ensure she is offering novelty. She makes most of her own designs in the shop. “I hope Quack Dirk will offer its customers items that will match their individuality,” she says. “People can see how I work and the whole process in action.” She says “vintage” has taken on a new meaning for people who might once have sneered at second-hand clothes. “Now they say, ‘ooh look, it’s vintage’.”
QD is off the beaten track, to be sure, but already has a keen local following. It’s not far from Clontarf Dart station, beside the Bank of Ireland in Marino Mart. And the curious name? Nicknames for herself and her best friend that go back a long way. These photographs were taken by Eoin Mahon and the clothes modelled by a Polish friend, Karolina Schlanger.