By Colette Fitzpatrick
I think I’ve done a pretty good job of curating my Instagram into something that makes me happy; I only follow people I love, strangers I like and greats who inspire, so my feed makes me joyous. And, through careful liking, my explore page is largely a collection of pictures of my K-pop faves being cute for when my brain needs an uwu. But, every now and then, among those cute pics, little gems slip through; a hilarious meme, a new style inspo, a cool eatery or travel destination, or an amazing hidden gem of a place in my own city. This was how I stumbled across Space Out Sister and I felt an instantaneous connection to the place. It was a little like love at first sight. So, I contacted the brand and its owner, Kiki, invited me to drop by to talk to her and look through her impeccably curated collection of vintage lingerie and nightwear. Spoiler: my obsession with, and love for, everything about Space Out Sister only deepened by the second and left me dizzy with excitement afterwards.
Located on the second floor of the building that houses Two Pups Coffee on Francis Street, it is at the heart of the antiques quarter of Dublin, an area that is no stranger to selling gems from times gone by. Tucked away, up a stair to the rear of the coffee shop, it is like a precious treasure trove from a fairy tale, hidden away up a tower. When you arrive, you walk into a curation of precious objects, ambient music and the warmth that exudes from Kiki. I went into our appointed meeting time expecting to see the beautiful things I had spotted on the store’s website and I was intrigued as to how such a niche brand got started but I didn’t expect to fall madly in love as I did. I didn’t expect to buy two items (on the deposit scheme, which is amazing and so rare today!).
Everything about the place exudes care and attention-to-detail that most retailers can’t, or won’t, offer. Other shopping experiences are impossible to compare to this and, as Kiki notes to me, many customers end up being repeat offenders that she gets to know and, eventually, who she specifically thinks of when buying items. That kind of customer interaction is rare today and so much about Space Out Sister is a return to shopping experiences and ways of thinking about clothes from times gone by. One doesn’t pop in here, buy something poorly made on the cheap and on a whim and just leave. You go in, you get to know Kiki, she learns what you like, your concerns or needs and you buy pieces to make you feel wonderful. Things like the deposit scheme, too, harken to the past, when everyone knew their local shop-owners and there was a very human and real relationship that allowed for trust and consideration.
The pieces, too, are obviously far removed from today’s world of fast fashion and are impeccably made items from the 1950s to the 1990s, as well as homemade pieces (something that is going to be expanded soon with Kiki’s own line of gifts to be coming in time for Christmas), and lingerie exclusively stocked from Playful Promises and Solstice Intimates (two consciously-made brands). It is of the best curations of clothing items that I have ever seen and, as I noted to Kiki, 1. many could be worn as outside clothes and 2. nothing at all feels like filler. It is a truly impeccable curation of the most wonderful kimonos, lacy robes, frilly negligees, stunning nightdresses and shirt, interesting pjs and more.
Kiki, herself, trained as a photographer and worked in fine art photography before a suggestion from her mother to sell some pieces from her home in the run-up to Christmas one year changed her life. People began turning up and returning each week and, soon, she had loyal customers. Around four years ago, Kiki moved into the collective that then occupied the Francis Street location and, as of January, has made the move to specialisung in vintage nightwear and lingerie, in particular. The venture has proven successful and she now sends her stunning and carefully chosen items to buyers all over the globe.
While the website has a larger range of pieces to choose from, nothing can compare to coming and browsing through the delightfully colour-coded rails and finding gems in person, with Kiki on-hand to offer expertise, suggestions and incredible knowledge. Being in her store feels like being around a true expert. In fact, we got to talking so much that the interview I intended to weave into this profile in the store seemed a waste to cut up and insert here and there. So, I’ve decided to upload our interview in full, so you can hear all the fascinating things Kiki had to say and, luckily, I wasn’t being overly annoying, either.
All I can say is, if you’re serious about vintage, you want to find something really special or you want to fall really in love with the clothes you buy, then make a point to drop by Space Out Sister, you won’t regret it but you may start a lifetime love affair with lounging glamorously around your home…
For more fashion gems, check out Colette’s coverage of Seoul Fashion Week and an ode to Dad trainers…