November is upon us and doing a wardrobe clear out is not just limited to spring. This week I took part in a great initiative called Fashion Fall Out, held in Dublin where the country’s most recognised faces in fashion and independent boutiques brought some pre-owned (and some new) pieces for a very exciting public sale. From vintage to designer bargains, there was something for everyone on offer. The rail sale idea is gaining momentum across the country and in the times we are in, the benefits are limitless. The seller makes some money and the buyer can find the most wonderful fashion treasures.
The brains behind the FFO operation are Courtney Smith, stylist, and her BFF Grace Fox, who is an event manager. They felt they wanted to organise a sale that offered the highest quality pieces with an industry feel. “Of the rail sale events that I have attended in the past, two things always fell short; either the variety of clothes on sale was too narrow or no one showed up. So we approached our friends in the media and publicised the event on our social networks to encourage people to come and shop,” explains Courtney Smith as we perch on a stool among rails and rails of the most amazing vintage pieces from Déjà vu boutique, Dublin.
Customer and fashion blogger Hannah Hawkshaw says she regularly attends pop ups like FFO: “I love getting second hand things, they are just more one of a kind. The variety of items on sale appeals to a young and more mature audience. I came with my mum today and there are things that appeal to my taste and to hers. I managed to pick up a military style jacket and a great pieces from Irish label, Fee-G.”
Speaking of vintage, I could not get over the amazing pieces which can be picked up at a rail sale; everything from Mulberry bags to Gucci shoes, to one woman who was selling a pair of unworn, brand new, Marc Jacobs boots for 50 per cent off the original cost. Vintage clothing is a hot topic right now with an amazing variety of vintage fashion fairs being held throughout Ireland nearly every weekend, such as the Kilo sale from Shutterbug in Kilkenny, and Cotton Face vintage in Galway, run by Sinead Lally (who also has an online boutique that is well worth a look).
If you fancy getting rid of some clothes which you have never worn, or would like to pass on to a new home, there is no better time to do it, and make some money in the process. Have a look in your wardrobe and look for things you have not worn in the last six months, these should automatically go. Then look at new pieces which were impulse buys and still remain at the back of the closet with the tag still intact, again, these pieces are not worth keeping, even for a rainy day. Check to make sure that all the pieces you want to sell are washed, clean, and in good condition with no threads or tears visible. Then think about pricing: consider the original cost, how many times you have worn it, and its current condition relative to what it looked like when it was new. If you have designer pieces, then always mention the retail price you paid, just to emphasise the bargain. Top selling pieces at rail sales seem to include military jackets (hot items this season), designer coats, leather jackets, boots, sequin vintage tops and kimonos, and clutch bags. My purchases this weekend included a metallic clutch from River Island which was only €5 and a Topshop parka style jacket (which I bought from the rail owned by model Roz Purcell) for €20. If there is a piece you have been on the lookout for a while, these sales are a perfect place for you to start. Each month, there is plenty happening, log on to Facebook events pages to do some research.
Lorna Claire Weightman www.styleisle.ie @styleisleIRL