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French fashion influence in Ireland

London Fashion Week - 11
Photo taken outside the February 2018 season of London Fashion Week – Flickr content by Garry Knight

Someone’s identity can be seen through appearance and more specifically fashion, fashion can often indicate where a person comes from and from which background and what inspires him or her. If France has been for a long time the ambassador of Fashion with luxury brands internationally famous, this has changed recently as fashion is becoming globally experienced and developed.

Since centuries, clothing has illustrated the identity of a person like a second skin. Fashion is increasingly being more and more important in terms of cultural capital. Indeed, every country has a different fashion sense and style depending on the climate, job, income, social background and influences. The expression who comes back every often is “judging a book by its cover”, which is often seen as superficial but, in the end, defines how fashion has gradually become a part of people’s identity and cultural belonging.

With the help of Jason Dayrin – artistic director, who worked for the Galerie Lafayette in Paris on the prestigious Haussmann Boulevard, one of the most emblematic and important places of fashion in the world – three aspects will be discussed to understand how France still impacts Ireland in terms of Fashion.

Fashion week and Luxury

The Fashion week industry is the most famous and watched fashion event on earth. Fashion designers and brands or “houses” organise catwalk to present their collections to buyers and media. The most prominent event of Fashion Week in New York, Paris, London and Milan. But in the 21st century, the Fashion Week is becoming more multipolar with other important events now in Mumbai, Berlin, Los Angeles, Madrid, Beirut, Rome, Shangai, Tokyo, Copenhagen, Jakarta or New Delhi

The concept of Fashion week began in Paris and was previously called “Semaine Des Défilés” in French. Marketers at the time would hire women to wear couture and luxury items in public space such as racetracks and salons. French invented this notion of “défilés de mode”, now called Catwalk. According to Jason, “défilés or catwalk is now one of the most important events in fashion and people from all around the world gather to attend the prestigious brand’s catwalk”. He adds that “capital cities like Dublin have catwalk and fashion events as well now which shows that it is important in terms of marketing, but mostly because the fashion audience is heavily influenced by these events”.

Following this expansion of fashion events, Dublin has also organised a fashion event every year called Dublin Fashion Festival, sponsored by big shopping centres such as Brown Thomas or Arnotts. The Dublin Fashion Festival inspired by the Fashion Week, allows big brand and smaller creators from Ireland to show their last collections. With the French manner, it is also the occasion for Ireland to show to different brand ambassadors and fashion “houses” from the rest of the world that creativity and style are different and innovative everywhere. Jason argues that “today, fashion events are increasingly important for the industry and new talents as it can potentially create a connection between them”. He adds that “collaborations between major and small fashion brands are now more and more frequent, because the market is changing, and it allows smaller creators to be under the spotlight and develop their recognition”.

Vintage, Second-Hand and Charity shops

Gradually, fashion is becoming more affordable and understandable for everybody. Despite the increasing interest in luxury due to the influence of social media, different main brands doing fair prices for a fair quality such as H&M or Zara are present in many countries. But where France has lately influenced other European countries is this trend of Vintage clothing. Wearing clothes bought in second-hand shops and charity shops are becoming a bigger and bigger trend especially from young adults between 16 to 30.

Flea markets or Charity shops are more numerous in capital cities which allows Irish and French customers to buy clothes at a cheaper price. Most of the time the clothes have shapes and styles that won’t be mainstream or developed by these “fast-ready-to-wear” fashion companies. A famous market located in Saint-Ouen in Paris has inspired many countries for less than 10 years, including Irish marketers and resellers. The market of Saint-Ouen is a perfect mix between vintage shops and Flea Markets. New Market Square in Dublin 8 organises giant Flea Markets similar to the Parisian every weekend, where people can come and learn more about the clothes they buy and their history.

Jason considers that vintage shop is a major trend that will probably never stop, according to him, “luxury and ready-to-wear industries are offering something completely different from flea markets and vintage shops, however, both can now be complementary, it is a revolution”. He adds, “second-hand clothes’ markets and shops used to be seen as dirty and outdated, and now people can completely come where I work to buy Gucci runners, or Louis Vuitton bag and then go in a Vintage shop to buy a second-hand piece with an different cut that will completely match and fit with their Gucci or Luis Vuitton products”.

This phenomenon is due to brand ambassadors, actors and musicians and social media. The massive exposure of “stars’ and famous personalities have heavily influenced fashion to the point where the audience witnessed actors or musicians also buying clothes in a vintage shop and visiting Flea Markets or Charity shops. This influence is the last that will be discussed.

French connection with music industry and sub-cultures.

Rap and Pop music are game changers in terms of fashion. The last decade of musicians and artists have heavily been influenced by French fashion and influenced it at the same time. Success and money mean luxury brands, beautiful and expensive clothes and outfit and this message have been overly spread and is even more spread now. Ireland and Dublin are also heavily influenced by the American and French influence in terms of music from the United States and in terms of Fashion by France.

Dublin is also full of fashion sub-cultures, brought by different countries living together and merging or taking inspirations from each other. Cities like Dublin are rare in terms of fashion as it allows many different fashion cultures to bring different styles and ideas and creates fashion sub-cultures. The French style did not stay in France for a long time, it travelled throughout Europe and spread across the United States, Africa and Asia. The globalisation of style is what defines the fashion industry and its influence in Ireland as well as in many different countries.

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