Fashion houses from Acne to Alexander Wang love it, college kids can’t be seen without it – and hidden away in Dublin city is one shop that lets you be your very own tweed designer.
Irish tweed is a fashion stalwart that has retained its pride and position through yearly shifts in taste and fashion. The country’s textiles industry may have downsized over decades, but the result is that this thick-weaved wool is now a rarefied, sought-after commodity in the fashion world.
Tweed has seen a sub-culture spring up around it. Moving from post-war unpopularity, through to becoming a collegiate staple and country-side essential, the 21st century hipster appropriation of it has led to phenomenons like the annual Tweed Run. Its infiltration into urban streetwear means the hardy material is back on the high fashion agenda.
Laura Callaghan, illustration editor at much-loved London culture magazine Oh Comely, illustrates below the versatility designers like Lot78, Prada, Topshop and Acne are making the use of in wearable, but distinctive outfits. At home, Molloy and Sons lead the way in adding a modern spin on the weave (one look at this wall of colour or their beautiful Nowness documentary, and you’ll see why). It’s safe to say, tweed is enjoying a moment in the sun. The heritage and hand-craft trend continues unabated.
Here’s a secret, though: you don’t actually need to blow a month’s well-earned wages on a one-off item from an internationally-renowned fashion powerhouse to stock your wardrobe with a tweed personal to you. A quiet little shop on a busy Dublin corner has you covered.
Kevin & Howlin of Nassau Street is one of the most enduring independent shops in town. Ranked as the very best shop in Dublin by TripAdvisor, this tweed emporium’s enduring popularity with both visitors and locals is all down to the unique service it provides. Not only does the shop stock a bewilderingly large amount of fabric, but it tailors its collection just for you.
Three generations of Kevins have kept the shop in business, now run by Noel Kevin. The emphasis remains on the customer’s personal experience - what colour mix do you want, how rough would you like the material, what shape should it fit? Blazers, trousers, skirts, hats and ties are all customisable – for a piece that’s going to endure not just the seasons, but the years, that personal adaptiveness is key. K&H will even send you swatches out in the post before you make your way to be outfitted.
Once the leaves start falling from its trees, Dublin becomes a playground of tweed-wearers. The influence of this most home-grown and sophisticated of materials is clear to see as the city’s most fashion-forward source their tailoring locally more and more, adding an edge to their wardrobe and wearing their heritage on their sleeve.