Emporium is a clothing brand based in Dublin which has been gaining huge attention in recent times. The College Tribune spoke to Emporium founder Robbie Fidgeon on starting up, being stocked in St Stephen’s Green shopping centre, and sustainability in clothing.
Fidgeon spoke about how he and Emporium co-founder Charlie Quigley unearthed the idea of running a clothing line. Fidgeon said he was “a mutual friend through some streetwear Facebook groups” and they eventually ended up becoming very good friends.
“Initially ‘Emporium’ was set up as a pop-up event for 8-9 small brands to showcase their stuff. A week and a half after that event, Charlie suggested that Emporium should have its’ own clothing brand alongside the event.
“In late 2018, we made one t-shirt and it sold out at our next event. We kept on producing and selling out our clothes until it got to the point where we knew we were a clothing brand.”
Pop-ups and Stocking In Stephen’s Green
Fidgeon then discussed the pop-ups that will be coming as the post pandemic reopening happens, and how Emporium began getting stocked in ‘Tribe’.
“When the restrictions ease, we’ll be doing a pop-up event with ‘Hens Teeth’ (a studio and art gallery in Dublin), as well as our own pop-up in Tribe, a high end and streetwear store located in Stephen’s Green shopping centre.”
Fidgeon continued on, explaining how Emporium ended up getting stocked in Tribe: “I originally heard this idea on a podcast, where small brands would keep tagging bigger brands and designers in Instagram posts. I wanted to get stocked in Tribe. I started tagging them in all of our social posts.
“Eventually, after our summer collection dropped, we felt we were in a position to ask if they wanted to stock Emporium. They said they loved our clothes, and we met their buyer. After explaining our business model and so on, they agreed Emporium would be a great fit in the shop.”
The Dublin Streetwear Scene & Collaborations
Fidgeon spoke about how streetwear in Dublin has always “came and went” because of things not working out. However, the Emporium founder spoke on the enthusiasm coming out of young Irish designers such as “Loose Tooth” from Dublin.
“There’s a lot of people, younger than me, who are working at creating streetwear brands in Dublin. But it can’t just be creators, there has to be people interested, which thankfully there is!
“We’re also lucky that friends of ours collaborate with us for photography and videography. ‘Chrome Boi’ Daniel Comerford shoots a lot for us. Our models are just our friends too. I feel it’s really important, if you want your brand to be an extension of yourself, to have your friends around you to help shape the brand.”
In terms of mainstream collaborations, Fidgeon said he’d “kill to do something with ‘Carhartt WIP’ or Amie Leon Dore. Its more likely that we could do a collaboration with a smaller brand that specialises in one product. Small stuff like that would be pretty cool.”
Business Goals & Sustainability
Lastly, Fidgeon spoke about how Emporiums goal is “to consistently create better and better products. I want the quality of our clothing to line-up with the direction of the brand. If you feel good about the product you made, then people will feel good about buying it. We need to make sure everything we do is done properly.
“In terms of idyllic goals, getting Emporium in a mainland Europe streetwear store would be brilliant. It may sound like a pipedream, but I feel like getting our stock in ‘Tribe’ puts us in a good position to achieve that.”
Fidgeon also spoke on the trend of sustainability. “I find that companies that mass produce just try and define the term ‘sustainability’ to suit them. The reality is, when you make 100,000 t shirts, you’ve almost certainly caused a large number of ecological problems. Regardless of how ‘sustainable’ you’ve made them out to be.
“For us, we want to do everything properly, by people who care. We want to produce good quality, durable, and timeless clothing. I’d love to walk into a charity shop in 5 years, and see an Emporium shirt.”
Luke Murphy – Co-Editor