Launched only last week, the first ever IMAGE Boutique Awards has certainly caught the public's imagination. Voting has begun with gusto as our readers and users support and give recognition to their favourite boutiques from around the country. As fashion director, I was lucky enough to work alongside IMAGE Digital Editor Dominique McMullan to bring these awards to fruition, and to be on the judging panel with four of my peers whose inherent style and knowledge of the Irish fashion industry made their contributions invaluable. Here are the women who helped make the first IMAGE Boutique Awards happen (and made it so enjoyable to work on!).
Niamh is IMAGE.ie's digital leader and a dedicated follower of fashion! Her enthusiasm for and knowledge of all things fashion made her an obvious choice for the judging panel. Niamh brought the same energy and passion to the Boutique Awards that she brings to her work at IMAGE every day.
MD of Elevate PR, Emma Kelly founded what is now one of Ireland's premier PR firms and has spent the past 16 years working closely with fashion and lifestyle clients. Her knowledge of the Irish fashion industry is unparalleled, and her familiarity with the wealth of independent stores around the country invaluable.
Annmarie O'Connor is an author, fashion journalist, stylist, wardrobe wellness coach... the list goes on. Raised in Galway, Annmarie currently lives in Dublin and is an enthusiastic vintage shopper in particular. Book tours for The Happy Closet and The Happy Medium have taken her all over the country, so she was in a position to offer a wonderfully broad perspective on retailers across Ireland.
Now living in Bandon, Co Cork with her husband and two daughters, PR consultant Emer Melody has travelled the world working for luxury brands including Christian Dior and Oscar de la Renta. Since she settled back in Ireland, Emer has worked with several independent boutiques in both Cork and Dublin so she understands perfectly what makes a boutique an extraordinary place to visit.
As fashion director of IMAGE Publications, I oversee the fashion content across all of the company's platforms. I think the key to great style is creating a wardrobe that mixes unique pieces with high-street staples. Ireland's independent boutiques are essential to this.
Boutiques are so important to the Irish fashion industry, to regional economies and to the social fabric of our towns and cities. At IMAGE we value this industry and taking time to enjoy buying something special.
So we want to hand over the final decision-making to you, the IMAGE community. We want to know which boutiques you value over and above any others. Over the next few weeks, you have the opportunity to vote for the winning boutique within each category and reward them with an IMAGE Best Boutique Award 2018. So get involved, because every vote counts.
Voting closes at midnight, July 15.
The judges were photographed at No 31, Leeson Close (number31.ie) by Doreen Kilfeather.