The tale of the clothing trade in Ireland is not a story with a happy ending.
Due to a mix of factors brought about by globalization, it became cost in-efficient to manufacture clothes in Ireland due to our increasing wage levels and relatively high cost base. So given garment and textile manufacturing has labour costs as it largest component of cost, production shifted to where labour was cheaper,
Against this background, skilled men and women from all over Ireland lost their livelihoods. Some retired, others took low paid work where they could find it, but all the while the skills that had been accumulated slowly started to fade out and disappear…
Manufacturing abroad brings its own challenges for designers from Ireland seeking to sell to the Irish market; primarily of control, intellectual property rights, logistics, language, taxation, scale and trust.
At Greenmount Mill in Harolds Cross, the Hothouse stands alone as a sampling and production facility, a last bastion of Irish production skills, that has witnessed the destruction of nearly all around it. The Mill was built in 1799 by the Pims, who were an enterprising Quaker family who produced cotton and linen, textiles and clothing,
The Fashion Hothouse continues this unbroken tradition of manufacturing, maintaining a predominantly local workforce of seamstresses,and pattern drafters. Operating from the ground floor of the Mill, the River Poddle flows right beneath our feet, and our home (now a listed building) houses a state of the art photography and video production studio on the top floor – clients of the Hothouse can enjoy a 25% discount on their services.
At over 3000 sq ft, The Fashion Hothouse also has a fabric supplies, a client consultation area and private fitting space.
Inside its 200 year old walls, our team continue their production livelihood, for some it’s a tradition that was passed from father to son (like David our pattern drafter); for others (like Claire who started out as an intern) the chance to work alongside seniors (like Paddy) with 50 years of production experience, this means there’s still a chance to keep their expertise intact for the next generation.