SPICE is located on Harvey’s Quay and is home to some of the most vintage clothes around. Picture: Paul Ryan.
SPICE Vintage’s Gracie Collier talks Limericks newest vintage store
by ILoveLimerick correspondent Eimear Kelly
SPICE is Limerick’s newest vintage shop, located on Harvey’s Quay and home to some of the grooviest and most desirable vintage clothes around. Opened recently by Gracie Collier, the vintage store has proved very popular amongst the people of Limerick, particularly students. The window display will definitely grab your attention and the shop’s relaxing and very aesthetically pleasing interior is sure to make you hang around. I had the pleasure of interviewing store-owner Gracie recently. Gracie held SPICE’s Glitter Sequin Launch Party in the Record Room last Friday, April 27.
Firstly, would you like to tell us a bit about yourself?
Yes, of course, my name is Gracie Collier, I am 27 years old originally from Laois and now living in Limerick city. I am the owner of Spice Vintage Limerick, I am passionate about life and what I do for a living. I adore vintage clothing, my family and friends, nature, yoga, glitter, living life to the fullest, good surf, good vibes and good company.
Where did your love of vintage come from and what inspired you to open a vintage shop?
My love for vintage originated from an early age but mostly stemmed from the influence of my thrifty aunt Nina. My aunt exposed me to the world of thrifting and creativity be that through charity shopping, markets, eBay and so on. She made me realise that it’s ok to want to be different, to get excited about having something that no one else has, to dig for gems in charity shops and car boot sales. I found joy in it but at the same time, it became so normal that I ended up taking it for granted and never saw my eye for fashion and gem finding as being something that made me special if that makes sense? It felt so natural! SPICE originally started as an idea I had while working in an unfulfilling marketing job. I loved festival wear, always have, always will, I am happiest when I am creating outfits for festivals. There was no festival clothing brand in Ireland so I decided to make plans to create SPICE festival wear. I then quit my job and headed to West Cork to be by the ocean and figure out my life direction. It was there that I realised that there was a gap for a vintage shop, West Cork is a very creative place and I couldn’t believe there was nowhere nearby for these wonderful people to get the type of clothing they really wanted. There is also a strong focus on sustainability out west so that spurred me in the direction of vintage clothing too. I sold clothing at flea markets and online in the years prior but only as a hobby. I opened a pop-up vintage shop in West Cork for 6 months just to try it out and see if people liked what I handpicked, the response blew me away. It made me realise that I had a gift and to keep it to myself was doing myself an injustice.
What was the inspiration behind the name ‘SPICE’?
As it happens, my mates are the inspiration behind the name! In my group of friends, to dress “spicey” means that they would be dressing madder than usual or wearing something more out there (something vintage and patterned) or going to a festival. So, people who shop in Spice hopefully dress a little bit mad and crazier than normal.
Why did you choose Limerick as a location? Do you think Limerick has something unique to offer?
After the pop up in West Cork’s 6 months was up, I looked around at cities that didn’t have a strong vintage scene and I couldn’t believe that Limerick only had one vintage shop and four colleges (including an art college), the population of the city and the rising creative scene. Basically, it was a no brainer for me to move the shop to Limerick. As much as I didn’t want to leave West Cork I felt I had tapped into something special and wanted to share it with more people. Spread the good vibes. Limerick most definitely has something to unique to offer, the city is screaming out for more creative outlets. I know this from first hand experiences and talking to customers. I have been thanked endlessly for choosing Limerick as my location, for deciding to invest in the city and do something creative in Limerick instead of taking it to other cities. I never underestimated Limerick’s ability to enjoy creativity and vintage clothing, it was just a gut feeling. I have found my niche and I am so grateful to be filling it in Limerick. The people are so lovely, open-minded and friendly I honestly couldn’t be happier to have SPICE in Limerick. I am so grateful for Limerick and how it has embraced SPICE into the city and the feeling has been reciprocated.
How has your time in Limerick been so far?
Personally, I have loved my time in the city. I moved to Limerick having zero experience of the city, having only been here on a night out once briefly. I have been pleasantly surprised again and again. The people are so lovely, great chat and banter the city itself is chilled and vibey, small businesses support one another, cool cafes and restaurants. Honestly, I really love Limerick and I am delighted to be here.
Where do you source the clothes that you sell in SPICE Vintage?
Breaking into the industry has been interesting. It’s very much about who you know. I go to wholesalers and handpick from them. Most vintage shops would buy from wholesalers but use a stock sheet and buy in bulk. However, I go into the warehouses and throw anything that makes me sweat into the basket. I have contacts in Los Angeles, Germany, and London, they send me over pieces to look at. Some of my friends live in Turkey and Morocco, they’ll send me over bits too. I have a lot of ethnic clothing, and they would be of Indian, Chinese and Pakistani influence. I love Afghan jewellery and headpieces. So, I have an eclectic mix of gems.
Why do you think that vintage clothing is becoming increasingly popular?
In the past decade Vintage clothing has become very popular and has made its way into mainstream fashion, the advent of celebrities wearing vintage has also given the market a serious boost and has affirmed that vintage can be thoroughly modern and an alternative way to secure an individual look.
Another reason why vintage apparel has become so popular is because consumers buying vintage believe that mainstream fashion is less unique and high street fashion is too generic.
There will always be people who like individual and interesting pieces such as ‘one-offs’ and ‘investment buys’, consumers are discovering that vintage is not only adaptable to current trends but are often timeless classics that can become a wardrobe staple.
Consumers follow trends and they want vintage that’s current and has an edge, choosing to buy vintage gives the fashion-forward individual a chance to own a one-of-a-kind piece, allowing you to always wear your own eclectic style.
At the moment, originality is the key to being stylish. Vintage is a means of individual expression for those trying to achieve a fashion paradox, of fitting in whilst standing out.
Who do you look to for style inspiration, both for yourself and when you’re stocking the shop?
My style is totally influenced by my mood on the day, the weather, where I’m going and in the morning when I wake up where ever my head is at. Over the years my style has fluctuated and changed so much that I wouldn’t say I have a set style BUT I do love skater, surfer, grunge vibes mixed with boho hippy ethnic and then again with sequins sparkle ornate pieces, I love old school glamour, fabrics and lush patterns, I love colour and block colouring BUT then again I do love nothing more than my yoga leggings and an oversized soft wool bright coloured vintage jumper (sorry such an all over the place answer but I find my style so hard to encapsulate). When picking stock for the shop I only buy stuff that makes my heart skip a beat or takes my breath away even just for a nano second. Every single piece is picked by me and geared towards providing my customers with vintage styles but different. Vintage shops can tick boxes, buy in bulk and just stock the go-to items. Not in SPICE, I choose everything to ensure creativity and individuality shines through for my customers. No one will have what you have if you buy from SPICE.
What do you think is the essential vintage clothing item that everyone should have in their wardrobe?
Without a doubt, hands down the classic oversized Levi’s denim jacket BUT in variation so meaning that It could be lined, have patches, embellishment, or a leather collar. Either way, it is timeless and not going anywhere fast!
What are your hopes and plans for the future of SPICE Vintage?
I hope to make SPICE a creative hub for events, talks, classes and gigs I am open to anything. I want limerick to benefit from the space and create as much magic as possible in SPICE. the next step is a website, a dedicated festival clothing and headdress-making side of the brand, to do collaborations on clothing lines and everything in between. I am obsessed with my own personal development and I see SPICE as being the same. Always growing and creating.
You can follow Spice Vintage on Instagram to see more – @spice_vintage_limerick
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Pictures by Zoe Conway/ilovelimerick.