A long history of production
The Fashion Hothouse is the only surviving fashion business still operating at Greenmount Mill, which first started making clothing and textiles in 1799.
Ireland had a proud history of fashion and textile manufacturing since the middle ages, however the traditions and techniques of Ireland’s fashion production heritage is at risk of being lost forever due to rush to modernisation & globalisation; since 1990 we have witnessed the closure of all but 2 or 3 of Ireland’s clothes factories.
This has meant that the skills of our ancestors, particularly that of the pattern drafter and cutter (and all their vast retained experience and knowledge) is at risk of being lost to our indigenous fashion design culture forever.
All the old hands are retired and literally dying around us, without having been able to pass on their wealth of production expertise to the next generation. This is a tragedy for our society as once these skills are gone, we have not only lost a bit of our cultural identity, but we are reliant on other countries and businesses to provide the services that we should be doing for ourselves.
The Fashion Hothouse is a last outpost in this battle against cultural homegeneity and the associated perils of the fast fashion industry.
We want to ensure that future generations of Irish designers does not miss out of the opportunity to design and make their garments, without being wholly dependent on being wealthy enough to travel to Eastern Europe and Asia to express their creativity, and to simply make great clothing.
Help us maintain this long tradition of indigenous clothes manufacturing by spreading the word about us via Twitter or Facebook, and by asking for Irish made fashions where possible. In an effort to ensure our commercial viability (as sampling is such a seasonal business), we have commissioned an external designer to create a capsule collection which was developed and manufactured exclusively in-house, and the resulting pieces will be available for sale online very soon from www.makeandtailor.com
A description of Harold’s Cross shows us how the area was known for the production of fabrics and textiles since at least 1799. Cotton merchants from South William St built a second cotton mill on this site in 1807, and expanded in the 1860s to include the listed building which is home to the Fashion Hothouse.
The description below gives some idea as to the extent of industry in this area:‘On a branch of the river Poddle which rises above Castle Hill are some extensive mills; and in the neighbourhood is a very extensive cotton factory called the Green Mount Mills, belonging to Messrs Pim, and employing 150 persons. The machinery of these mills is driven by a steam engine of 25 and a water wheel of 20 horse power, giving motion to 100 power looms and 6000 spindles; there are also a paper mill and a flour mill’.
(Lewis’s Dublin: p.174).“Joseph Robinson Pim became involved in the Greenmount milling company in the 1830s and installed power looms, thereby reducing the workforce from 300 to 150. The river Poddle drove the huge 22.5’ diameter and 11’ wide water wheel which revolved 4.5 times a minute, had a fall of 19’, while providing 25 horse power for nine months of the year, and 12hp for three months of the year. By the 1850s, there was steam and water power in the mill capable of driving 100 power looms and 6,000 spindles. A boiler house with tall brick chimney provided the necessary steam, utilising the plentiful supply of water from the ponds.
Additional land was acquired and various extensions were added over the coming decades, including a four storey brick building, built around 1860-1865.”
(Curtis, Joseph, Harold’s Cross, 2004)