I love boutique-browsing (and buying!). It's so much easier to bring uniqueness and individuality to your wardrobe and your style when you pepper high-street shopping with pieces from independent stores. At IMAGE we're all big fans of local boutiques, and we want to reward the very best this country has to offer. That's why we're launching our first IMAGE Boutique Awards this month.
Boutiques are so important to the Irish fashion industry, to regional economies and to the social fabric of our towns and cities. But more than that, the excellent (very personal) service you receive from them doesn't just make the difference between walking away with the perfect piece you didn't know you needed, but it's also a lovely way to build relationships with the women and men you're buying from. At IMAGE we value these relationships, and taking time to enjoy buying something special.
Our shortlist has been compiled by a panel of smart, fashion-savvy women who feel passionate about these independent boutiques, the role they play within the Irish fashion industry and the kind of clothes and feel-good factor they offer Irish women. Our judging panel comprised of me, IMAGE fashion director, IMAGE digital leader Niamh O’Donoghue, Elevate founder Emma Kelly, stylist and author Annmarie O’Connor and PR consultant Emer Melody. We think that each store shortlisted is among the best in its category. We love them, and we think you do too.
The Boutique Awards judging panel. From left to right: Emer Melody, Marie Kelly, Emma Kelly, Annmarie O'Connor and Niamh O'Donoghue.
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 by Doreen Kilfeather at No 31, Leeson Close (www.number31.ie).