An Embodiment of Eclecticism.

February 21, 2009
Circus is probably the most forward, contemporary and eclectic retail destination in Ireland. Boasting staff with comprehensive knowledge of, and passionate appreciation for, the designers it stocks Circus sets itself apart from the mass of aesthetically indifferent, generic stores that populate much of Dublin. Here, in a gallery-esque space the work of such innovators as Henrik Vibskov rubs shoulders with pieces from Unconditional and Ashish. I could wax lyrical further but the following details what I want to say and more…

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When and why did you open Circus?

Circus was opened in July 2007. We were initially four partners in the store, but are now three: Aisling Farinella, Fiona Mullen & Damien Gahan
We opened Circus because we all shared a love for contemporary and innovative fashion design. It started out as an opportune meeting of two girls buying vintage (Ciara & Aisling) and a couple (Fiona and Damien) retailing contemporary designers in their previous store Proxy. Since then it has grown into a very special store selling very special pieces.

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What is your mission statement/what do you hope to achieve with the

I guess with Circus we want to broaden the availability of alternative and conceptual fashion design. Our clothes aim to please anybody interested in design aesthetic. We use our store space as an exhibition space at various points throughout the year, to cross over and highlight the relationship between fashion and art. Our idea of fashion should appeal to lots of people across the board. There are so many ways that we incorporate stye into our lives and fashion is a big one.

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Do you feel Dublin/Ireland in general is lacking in retail spaces
offering smaller, but often critically esteemed designers?

Yes we could definitely do with more! There are some people stocking great designers here though including Dolls on Clarendon street and Smock on Drury street.
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How did you garner such a talented group of designers to stock?

Well Damien and Fiona brought some of the designers we stock including Henrik Vibskov from their previous store. We travel together to Paris for fashion week four times a year and also try to check out the scene in as many other cities as possible. We all spend a lot of time on the internet too and Damien is the most knowledgeable person regarding designers (and cooking!)that I have ever met.
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Has the global economic collapse affected Circus particularly?
Well we are fortunate that we have not been affected greatly as yet. The shop is very much homegrown and we look after all aspects of the work between the three of us. Our customers are still shopping as we are providing investment pieces as opposed to disposable clothing. Really everyone is being careful with their money, but people really think about what they are buying when they shop in Circus anyway. A lot of our customers would be interested in the designers they are purchasing and where the clothes are being made.
You’re currently exhibiting the work of designers of various mediums as
part of Cheap as Chips. Are there any future projects/exhibitions planned
for the store?
Yes we have an installation from artist Joseph Coveney planned for this year and some other fun events during the year. Cheap as Chips is a definite for next January again too! It has been a massive success.
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Who’s your favorite menswear designer that you stock?
My favourite menswear designer was Siv Stoldal. Her collections are conceptually conceived and I really admire her design approach. Unfortunately though she is skipping a season so we won’t see any of her pieces in Circus for a while. After Siv it has to be Henrik Vibskov. I love it all and the crazier the better. I am probably responsible for all the multi coloured leggings we bring in!
Who’s your favourite womenswear designer that you stock?
Diana Orving is amazing. She is so young and has no formal training. Her clothes actually flow and every piece combines soft beauty with strong construction. But that said, I personally like to wear Carin Wester. The fit is perfect for me, being a little on the small side!
Do you plan to add more lines to the store in the future?
Yes every season we hope to bring in somebody new. For menswear we have April 77 and Carin Wester arriving. April 77 is a cool Parisian collection, formed by a music label and producing great denim and tees for Spring/Summer. Carin Wester is more tailored and delivers real casual sophistication…and it’s well priced too!
For womens we have our first collection from print gods Eley Kishimoto this season. Very exciting!
Circus is distinguished by its neon lighting and white space, who was
responsible for the store’s aesthetic?
That’s a team result. We all have to agree on everything about Circus. We pick each piece out individually and won’t buy unless we are all happy with every one! The white space is important too for exhibition and the variety of things we stock. And pink was the obvious answer when we decided on a neon sign! There was of course much serious research involved in every aspect too.
For those of you so inclined Circus stock can be purchased at their elegantly spare online store. Also, the real thing is to be found within Powerscourt Town Centre, 59 Sth. William St., Dublin 2.
Much thanks to Aisling, Damien and Fiona for their time.
  • _Dushka_ February 21, 2009 at 9:09 pm

    Eley Kishimoto!excellent!

  • fashionfilosofy February 22, 2009 at 11:54 am

    so excited about Eley Kishimoto! Loving the interview series Cillian. Looking forward to more!

  • Cillian February 22, 2009 at 1:03 pm

    Dushka & FF: isn't it terribly exciting? i'm so glad we have at least one store in Dublin that has a clue…/Male Mode.

  • _Dushka_ February 22, 2009 at 2:00 pm

    Yeah agreed, I want to say we need more stores like it, but I think I like the fact that its the one store in Dublin not filled with generic ‘trendy’ shit as opposed to good quality, well cut fashion pieces.I completely agree with ff, you need to keep this interview/photo blog thing up. You did an amazing job :)A queen, you got it so right, pretentious, is another good description haha.loving your blog, Ill link you on my page.x

  • Bluebirds Are So Natural February 22, 2009 at 3:08 pm

    This is great boychild. Keep it up yo. xA

  • steffi February 22, 2009 at 6:50 pm

    i LOOOOOOOVE the golden shoes!

  • steffi February 22, 2009 at 6:50 pm

    i’m in looooove with the golden shoes… ooooh myyyyy goooodnessss

  • susie_bubble February 28, 2009 at 11:50 pm

    Must check it out when I’m in Dublin….going there on the 19th….

  • Sheena March 14, 2009 at 3:21 am

    Killer store!