It has taken a nationwide search, 112 boutiques, 60+ nominees, 20,000 steps, 10,000+ entries, 16 categories, five judges, eight jars of instant coffee and many maxed-out credit cards to bring the Boutique Awards together – and what a triumphant few months it has been! IMAGE set out in May with the aim of finding the very best independent boutiques that Ireland has to offer. What we found was far more than we anticipated. By launching the IMAGE Boutique Awards, we wanted to acknowledge the exciting fashion, incredible service and beautiful spaces offered by stores across the country. But importantly, the Boutique Awards reinforced the importance of independent boutiques to you – the loyal customer.
We couldn't have compiled this in-depth list this without the fantastic work of our judges – IMAGE fashion director Marie Kelly; IMAGE digital leader Niamh O’Donoghue; Elevate founder Emma Kelly; stylist and author Annmarie O’Connor and PR consultant Emer Melody. They, along with Digital Editor Dominique McMullan, carefully deliberated over who was deserving of a spot on the coveted shortlist (of course, in our eyes every independent boutique is a winner). Over the course of two months, each judge gave their two-cents on their unique boutique experiences as well as insider tips and trend forecasts.
Left-right: Emer Melody, Marie Kelly, Emma Kelly, Annemarie O'Connor and Niamh O'Donoghue
From the outset of the awards, we were aware of the large volume of boutiques in Dublin city and, given the higher number of footfall, we expected the majority of votes to go to Dublin-based boutiques. The reality is actually the opposite, with many boutiques outside of the capital receiving the highest number of votes. You love your local boutiques, and the votes have been coming in, in the thousands, to prove that.
There are other interesting numbers and facts coming out of voting too. Around the country, there appear to be specific areas of interest. People in Limerick, for example, are particularly interested in luxury boutiques, while Cork is very popular for menswear. Our 'Best Pre-Loved' category is proving to be an incredibly popular category and the 'Best Boutique Owner' is running away with the competition.
So as we near the last few hours of the first ever IMAGE Boutique Awards, this is your final reminder to send your favourite boutique(s) to the winning spot! Voting ends tomorrow at midnight. Click the graphic below to vote.