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Miss Daisy Blue boutique in Cork | © Miki Barlok / Courtesy of Miss Daisy Blue
Miss Daisy Blue boutique in Cork | © Miki Barlok / Courtesy of Miss Daisy Blue
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Indie Fashion Boutiques to Visit in Cork, Ireland

Picture of Kate Phelan
Updated: 19 September 2017
Cork’s thriving style scene goes far beyond the high street chain stores that line St Patrick’s Street and Opera Lane. In its narrow side streets and market arcades, you’ll find a host of flourishing independent fashion retailers that cater to Cork’s sartorially minded citizens.
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Samui

Voted Ireland’s best fashion store in the Irish Times’ annual Best Shops Competition 2016, Samui is a supremely stylish space with a sterling reputation. Just off Cork’s main shopping avenue, Samui is owned and stocked by savvy fashion buyer Clodagh Shorten, and her choice selections of garments have been featured in the country’s leading fashion magazines, such as The Gloss. Shorten has created a destination store for forward-looking fashion – browsing here in the Spring/Summer season will reveal items by designers like Acne Studios, Alexander Wang, Osman, Dries Van Noten and Golden Goose Deluxe Brand.

Samui, 17 Drawbridge St, Cork, Ireland, +353 21 427 8080

Samui, Cork | © Miki Barlok / Courtesy of Samui

Samui, Cork | © Miki Barlok / Courtesy of Samui

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Paper Dolls

Kill two birds with one stone on Drawbridge Street by popping in to Paper Dolls, a pleasant store that focuses on European luxury womenswear, like Just In Case from Belgium and the smart, feminine wares of Turnover from the Netherlands. (Pick up something from the latter while it’s still available – its parent company is scaling back to focus on their main brand, Sandwich, after Spring/Summer 2017). Paper Dolls recently extended their business hours, meaning devoted shoppers can now enjoy their store seven days a week.

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Olori

Another finalist in last year’s Irish Times Best Shops Competition, Olori can be found on Oliver Plunkett Street (one of the city’s primary retail areas and winner of a Great Street Award from London’s Academy of Urbanism). Run by two sisters, Olori has earned its place among Ireland’s foremost independent fashion boutiques by relentlessly focusing on quality. The collections here blend Irish designers like Roisin Linnane with global brands such as Cacharel, as well as international up-and-comers like 88&Half. Look out for pieces by Hungarian brand Nanushka – founder Sandra Sandor is finally getting the recognition she deserves.

Olori, 131 Oliver Plunkett St, Cork, Ireland, +353 21 424 8932

Olori | © Naomi Kamat / Courtesy of Olori

Olori | © Naomi Kamat / Courtesy of Olori

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The Retro Workshop

Opened in 2016, The Retro Workshop vintage clothing store was co-founded by a highly experienced master tailor, so the in-house personal tailoring studio is guaranteed to be good. This store specialises in heavenly vintage menswear (especially suits that date from the 1940s onwards) and accessories, but there are also plenty of one-of-a-kind items for ladies to swoon over – in particular clothes by Italian vintage brand Buandiva, set up by Irish expat Niamh Dwyer.

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Fran & Jane

Having opened their original Cork boutique in 2002, the owners of Fran & Jane now have sister stores in Dublin and Tipperary. Until relatively recently, the business had its own brand, but now it concentrates exclusively on retail, bringing chic labels from across the world to the women of Cork. It’s one of a select few Cork fashion stores to stock Freddy Jeans – the Italian brand’s stretchy jeans and sportswear with a patented ‘bum shaping technology’ frequently sells out across the country – and the brand portfolio also includes Parisian line Tara Jarmon plus Ireland’s own Caroline Kilkenny.

Fran & Jane, 22 Oliver Plunkett St, Cork, Ireland, +353 21 427 9598

Loving all the beautiful blues in Clonmels window. #franandjane #clonmel #irishfashion

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Miss Daisy Blue

Vintage treasure trove Miss Daisy Blue boasts a prime location in the Market Parade area of Cork’s famed English Market, but its loyal customers love it for more than just that. A visit to this genuinely charming shop could result in the discovery of anything from a 1970s shamrock-covered Irish dancing costume to a soft suede Christian Dior fringed skirt, even an original 1930s silk satin wedding gown (bridal wear can be viewed only by appointment, so book ahead for that). Miss Daisy Blue also does vintage menswear. A selection of their stock can be browsed online at Open For Vintage.

Miss Daisy Blue, Unit 12–14, Market Parade, 51/53 Patrick’s St, Cork, Ireland, +353 21 427 9428

Miss Daisy Blue | © Miki Barlok / Courtesy of Miss Daisy Blue

Miss Daisy Blue | © Miki Barlok / Courtesy of Miss Daisy Blue

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Brocade & Lime

Brocade & Lime had only been open on Cornmarket Street for a week when it was named one of Elle magazine’s favourite independent retailers in Britain and Ireland in 2012 – the only Irish boutique on the list. Housed inside a former Victorian townhouse, the ‘vintage inspired’ clothing store and beauty parlour has gone on to establish itself as a firm favourite of local shoppers, too, and owner Emma Ahern prides herself on going the extra mile to make the experience here something different – from completely refurbishing the 1850s building and giving the interior a modern-retro makeover to sourcing clothing from the four corners of the globe.

Brocade & Lime, 4 Cornmarket St, Cork, Ireland, +353 21 427 8882

Tearoom at Brocade and Lime | Courtesy of Brocade and Lime

Tearoom at Brocade and Lime | Courtesy of Brocade and Lime

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Isobella Ru

Isobella Ru is for those in the market for accessories or headpieces to glam up a special occasion. The outlet of owner and milliner Ruby Morley, Isobella Ru is chock-full of unique finds, from black-and-white brogues and other striking footwear to costume jewellery to handmade wool turbans. This fun-filled store has also been known to host the occasional gig, such as a recent performance by Cork blues/freak folk artist, M.SEA.

Isobella Ru, 20 Drawbridge St, Cork, Ireland, +353 87 132 4137