Fashion chain celebrates 25th birthday


WHAT STARTED as a little boutique in Limerick in 1985 called Gaywear by Brown Thomas owner Galen Weston, and later became known as A|wear, celebrated its 25th birthday in Dublin yesterday with a parade of inexpensive party dresses and accessories.

“Every girl can afford to buy a dress from us. No matter what Brian Cowen does (in the upcoming budget), we are going to party,” said Annmarie Flood, A|wear chief executive, selecting a gold chevron sequinned chiffon dress and fringed cardigan coat totalling €80 as good examples of her bargains.

The chain, which was sold in 2007 in a management buyout, also marked its birthday yesterday with the opening of its 40th store in Kilkenny.

Many of the drop-waisted dresses embellished with sequins or ruffles have a 20s-style flapper look, but in 21st century pale tones and worn with little marabou boleros and high heels.

According to Ms Flood, hemlines are definitely dropping slightly “but we don’t do things radically”.

Though little black dresses are still part of the collection, they are playing a lesser role.

“It’s more about a rich colour palette of damson, cherry, plum and other bruised shades”, she said.

Newly launched this season is A|wear’s first collection of footwear, a well-chosen line-up of everything from embellished leather ballerina flats to shoe boots at prices from €45 up to €120, including a feathered stiletto perfect for impending dance hall divas.

On November 10th A|wear will host a birthday party in their Grafton Street store when guests will be benefit from 25 per cent discounts, a private two-hour DJ set from MTV presenter Laura Whitmore, a cosmetic and hair makeover and takeaway goody bags.

Those interested should e-mail for tickets.