Freddie Mehigan of Tasty Threads
Recently, we stopped into Tasty Threads on Middle Abbey Street, which opened in mid January 2018, to better understand the concept of the fashion store from the main man himself, founder Freddie Mehigan.
As everything is individually hand-picked, the store isn’t displayed by brands but rather by going through the rail and by what you see. This is what makes Tasty Threads so #UniqueToDublin and the Dublin One neighbourhood.
Tell us Freddie, how would you describe Tasty Threads?
Tasty Threads is a fashion exchange, so the way we curate the store is from people like yourself, the public. They can bring in their items and they can sell them through us via two options: they can cash out or can get store credit – both at different percentages of the resale value. We have designer pieces, boutique labels and some vintage but more so the designer and boutique labels, plus we do men’s and women’s and accessories too.
What inspired you to open your business?
It came out of when I was living in San Diego, I moved there for a year visa and towards the end of the year I thought I’d be staying. I was doing my best to make a life out there for myself but I ended up dislocating my shoulder very badly from surfing and had to come back home to Dublin for surgery. At the time I was working in hospitality, and I knew I would be out of work, so I wasn’t the happiest to have to leave.
I had started trading clothes in a local thrift store in San Diego, so I got turned onto the idea of recycling clothes, and of either making some money back on yourself or trading other clothes for yourself. And I enjoyed doing that out there, and I realised after coming back home, there was nothing quite like the exchange model. I knew that vintage was on the rise, and charity shopping too, but there wasn’t nothing by means of an exchange. So from there I just kept discussing it with friends, and then one thing lead to another and I’m designing a logo, and things were getting very real.
How did you come about to set up shop?
In the summer of 2015, I went to meet the guys at The South William bar about doing a little pop up venue there, and they had said they were doing a barn dance that weekend, if I fancied doing a stall at the dance – and of course I said yes! But it was only a few days beforehand, so I had a short window to try and get my hands on clothes from friends and cousins to do it. It was very last minute, but I was saying yes to an opportunity! I stayed in The South William doing weekends, then I started working the market scene around the city as well as festivals. I spent the last two years making my name around Dublin, while looking at premises, while learning about the business of trading.
Why did you choose Abbey Street?
It just came about through friends! It took a while to get the keys from May 2017 and at times it was frustrating, then it was such a mess when we did move in in November 2017 to fit out – we had a lot of work to do. Though we wanted to open up shop for Christmas, we didn’t mind because we just wanted to get it right. We did do a lot of the work ourselves, it’s pretty cool to sit here now, knowing it’s somewhere that you’ve actually built yourself from the floor to the ceilings and all in between.
We used what we had – tore down the false wall, kept original Abbey Street exposed brick work and spray-painted it white; ripped up the 90s laminate wood, discovered the original wooden floor and used the laminate for shelving. The air duct is part of the Chinese restaurant next door but couldn’t do much to get rid of it, so we scrubbed, polished & spray-painted it silver and now it’s a feature of the store! We put our minds to use, it was trying but it was fun!
For me, it’s a really rewarding time having worked on Tasty Threads for about 2½ years and for it to be sitting in its home – this is it, this is mine!
What do you like about the Dublin One neighbourhood?
That it’s not completely pristine but that it’s changing more. Over in central Dublin 2 it’s brand new in ways, whereas in Dublin One you can see it’s still growing in a sense; there are different facades and different things happening. It’s cool to be a part of that, from Capel Street and the whole way over to Talbot Street, there are more things going on in Dublin. There are more bars, restaurants and different shops popping up. We at Tasty Threads like being here at the same time while new things are happening.
What do you think is unique about Dublin One?
Saying Dublin One isn’t pristine is not meant as bad, just that it still has the original Dublin feel to it. Dublin is becoming so international, and if you drop into any of the main European cities a lot of the main shopping areas are very similar, as they have all the big fashion houses. But Dublin One still holds a lot of its original authenticity. As much as we’re a new shop, we’re a local and independent shop – there is definitely more of that in Dublin One. There are local people doing things for locals and that’s what I like about it here.
Tell us more about your sustainability aspect.
The sustainability aspect to Tasty Threads stemmed from my attitude change in relation to consumption, and it ended up being fashion that I moved towards. For Tasty Threads, we want to encourage people to make use of what they have lying around. You can create value off something the second time round, where you can make money on it, and if we can make money on it and it stops clothes from going to the dump. Some people do give to charity, which is great, but some have clothes that still have a bit of value too, and so people can turn that into something more. And if you trade clothes with us, if it doesn’t sell within 6-8 weeks you can still donate it to charity either through us or by yourself. Really it’s giving people another option and to make use of what’s been sitting in your wardrobe.
Coming into Tasty Threads, do people realize it’s a collaborative store with Neighbourhood Coffee or do they get a pleasant surprise?
They get surprised, because the concept is very new. There are other places doing mixed collaborative spaces, but even still it’s somewhat new for Irish people. You’ll see international visitors understand the concept much quicker, but the locals are a bit more caught off guard, so we just educate them about Tasty Threads & Neighbourhood Coffee and mixed sharing environments. Some people come in just for coffee, and then they’d make their way down through Tasty. Or else they come in to Tasty Threads, because they know me from markets or so, and they’d stop to get a coffee or tea on the way out. So it works both ways!
Finally Freddie, where do you like to go around to socialise and lunch in the neighbourhood?
I’m still working on socialising, as Tasty Threads takes up a lot of my team, and other than Neighbourhood Coffee, WigWam is great, they’re very cool spot. It’s almost an institution of its own, from Twisted Pepper to what it is now today. In Smithfield, there’s The Cobblestone you can go up to listen to some nice trad music. And for lunch? I’m a big Govindas fan, and I’m not even vegan! It’s good food, good healthy vegetarian food. Then we’ve got Yamamori Tengu, who do great food, and then the M&L Chinese is really top notch! And also the 147 Deli, an excellent sandwich shop at the top of O’Connell Street-Parnell Street.
We really enjoyed getting to know Freddie and his store more, a place where you can pick up something that’s cool and catches your eye, which is then backed up by a nice brand or good quality.
We want to encourage you to shop more by what you see while still relating to your own individual fashion expression – and you can do so at Tasty Threads. Be sure to stop by and enjoy a coffee too!