FOLLOWING the lead of New York, Milan and Paris, Limerick has launched its very own Fashion Quarter – the first of its kind in the country.
The initiative is being promoted by retailers in the Roches Street and Catherine Street area of the city and focuses on supporting the many independent stores and boutiques that are located in their shopping district.
According to Grainne Vaughan, spokesperson for the Limerick Fashion Quarter, instead of traders sitting back and letting the recession eat away at trade, they have pulled together to create a brand that will entice people into the Fashion Quarter from the wider city area, the county and beyond.
“We noticed that the footfall was gone in Limerick City over the last two and a half to three years. Instead of sitting back and letting it happen we became proactive. We have indigenous stores here and we have got a great trading core in the city centre so we really wanted to entice people into the city centre,” said Ms Vaughan who is also chairperson of Catherine Street traders and is the owner of Joli, a store which specialises in accessories.
The business woman came up with the idea of launching the Fashion Quarter after seeing the success of similar initiatives in Paris, New York and Milan. “It is really to highlight Catherine Street and Roches Street but eventually we hope to extend it out so that the entire city centre of Limerick is a fashion quarter,” she added.
Limerick City Council has backed the project providing colourful floral displays with the retailers financing the signage to brand the Fashion Quarter which has ambitious plans to host events like outdoor fashion shows, barbecues and live music to entice shoppers into the area. “The city council is very pleased to support this initiative. We are absolutely 100 per cent behind it,” said Kieran Lehane, director of services, Limerick City Council. “I think it is through this kind of initiative that the city centre will forge its way ahead and grow stronger and restore the city centre as the most attractive centre in the Mid-West to shop. It’s the first Fashion Quarter in Ireland and it’s nice for Limerick to claim a first.”