Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by clarinetplayer, Nov 19, 2004.
An interesting site from an Irish clothier. Clarke and Dawe Has anyone ever visited the shop?
Never heard of them, I've always assumed the Irish national dress is rags. Although I enjoyed looking at the unintentionally funny wardrobe pictures. Heres one example. HEHEH Irish wiskeyyyy
I have been there.
Pm me with any queries.
I like that shirt though...I wonder how the quality compares to English shirting companies.
I spent a week in Belfast in May, but unfortunately missed going in to Clarke & Dawe. Â I know that they carry Crockett & Jones though, as do Carter and Reids Shoes, both of which I did visit, so if that is an indication of quality, they might be worth exploring.
As an aside, I quite liked Belfast, and it was interesting to compare it to Dublin (although I was only there for 4 days). Â While Dublin seemed much older and had more internationally recognized retail, I was surprised to find quite a bit of high-end shopping in Belfast. Â Carter was more European with Armani, Boss and Zegna. Â There was also another good shop called The Bureau which had Paul Smith, Dries van Noten, and much high end denim. Â They also had a separate denim store across the street - both were quite large. Â There was also quite a nice shirt/tie shop featuring Irish linen nearby. Â The street from the Europa hotel to the University also was quite lively, with hip shops and many,many restaurants.
Reid's shoes had a fairly good selection of the usual English suspects of Crockett & Jones, Church's et al. Â I thought there might be some discounts, but they all seem to charge list prices.
The downtown is just off the magnificent city hall and was always busy. Â There were branches of most British high street shops,and while it may not be to the taste of everyone here (or even mine), I recall a giant Zara having either 3 or 4 floors. Â I believe I read that Northern Ireland residents have some of the highest disposible income in the U.K. and their shopping habits seem to bear this out.
While it certainly wouldn't be a shopping destination in itself, it's worth a visit (along with a trip to the spectacular Giant's Causeway & Bushmill's Distillery.). Â While there were signs of a differing of opinions regarding politics (different neighbouhoods use flags and murals to indicate their political preferences; I took a guided bus tour of the areas and they let us out to take pictures) everyone was exceptionally friendly and wanted to talk, as it seems there aren't too many American or Canadian visitors. Â It was quite different than what I expected. The development along the Lagan River is quite pleasant and there were far more newer buildings than I expected. Â I wouldn't be adverse to a return trip and if you find yourself in Ireland, it is definately worth a visit.
I've been a customer of Clarke and Dawe for almost 5 years (though I no longer live in Belfast), and am happy to answer questions about them.
First of all, they're not Irish. Belfast is in Northern Ireland, part of the United Kingdom. This is an important point, not just because of local sensibilities, but because C&D specialise in the type of clothes usually described as classically British. Their customers include many politicians, senior military and police officers and local business people.
As many will know, the best shirtmakers in Jermyn Street sell shirts made in Northern Ireland as are C&D's. C&D's shirts are easily as good as any to be found in the better Jermyn Street shops. In my opinion they are rather better than the shirts available in the 'lower end' Jermyn Street shops such as Thomas Pink, Charles Tyrwhitt and Lewins, whose shirts are of foreign manufacture. All my C&D shirts (I have more than 20.) have worn very well, are easy to iron and are very well cut and sewn.
As well as traditional stripes and plains, there is always a good range of more unusual patterns which can't be found elsewhere.
C&D also sell collarless shirts which are popular with lawyers and clergy.
Anyone who has visited Ede & Ravenscroft in Cambridge will feel at home at C&D.
Although there is nowhere else in Belfast like C&D, seekers after shirts should also visit Smyth & Gibson on Bedford Street (near City Hall). They have unique shirts and ties, with the added advantage of having their own coffee shop.
Clarke and Dawe are on the Lisburn Road in Belfast, about 2 miles out of the city centre. The shop itself is relatively small, but it is well described on their website, it really is a pleasant oasis of calm in an otherwise very busy area. The building is only around 10 years old, having been built on the site of the former Police station which was levelled in a terrorist bomb attack (the new station is just across the road, which makes it an easy place to find if you need directions), and is fitted out in antiques, and run by a small band of very friendly, helpful and knowledgeable staff.
I have only been once, buying a suit, but the items on display seemed to be all of very good quality. The shoes were Crockett and Jones, and Alfred Sargent and they mentioned that they may carry Church's soon. The shirts are all made for them in Strabane, Northern Ireland, which has hundreds of years of tradition of making quality shirts to lean on.
The nice shirt shop mentioned in the previous post was probably Smyth and Gibson, based on Bedford Street, much closer to the city centre. It has the shirts and accessories, the usual ties etc, and Creed colognes and various other grooming products on the ground floor and a well to do coffee shop on the first floor (they swap these around every 10 years or so it seems)
Another place of note is "North" a high end gentleman's clothiers, which is I think on 2 sites.
As would be expected the places mentioned tend to prefer locally produced items where possible, such as the shirts as mentioned, and Magee suits etc.
The usual shoe suspects from Northampton can be found in any number of locations in Belfast, and around Northern Ireland, with the prices being better in the smaller, out of town local shops, such as Bishop's in Coleraine, which sells C&J, Church's, Rm Williams, Grenson, Loake, Alfred Sargent, Trickers etc, many of which are reduced in a year round sale.
Sorry, I see Virobono has already given the forum most of this info, it just takes me so dam long to type.
Perhaps I can ask Virobono, are the Smyth and Gibson shirts and ties as good as Clarke and Dawe?
Only on THIS forum would one learn about a store in Belfast. Â Neat. Â
I am glad you enjoyed your trip to Belfast, and I found you comments quite "funny" and ironic.
That is like saying that a visitor to New York is surprised that lower Manhattan is not more built up, with perhaps a couple of skyscrapers.
I appreciate no offence was intended nor do I intend any (We have suffered terrorism here for 35 years, Belfast city centre and surrounding areas were nearly levelled and we had a certain amount of our city planning dictated to us by the Luftwaffe, something which no US city (too far away) or Dublin (neutral) did not suffer)
Clarke and Dawe from my limited experience seem to have quite a few international clients, who visit when in Belfast, and I would encourage any on the forum to do so when in NI. If anyone is planning such a trip, I would be happy to give directions.
I am glad the forum appreciated the topic, as I was dumbfounded when I saw it.
Do you know if C & D will take shirt orders from the US?
They do not operate a formal mail order service, but it may be worth approaching the owner, Alan McKelvey, via the website.
As Nonk says, Belfast is well worth a visit, but you must be prepared to have your preconceptions shattered. Many of the shops are just as good as London's, but they are located in a much more compact area, interspersed with some very good restaurants.
I will be in Clarke and Dawe again in a week or two, so I will mention online sales to Alan McKelvey, and the interest in the forum for another source of quality shirts.
Perhaps if enough interest is shown they would upgrade the website to show stock and allow online orders.
I know that Belfast has had a difficult past. Â I didn't realize the damage suffered in the Second World War until I visited the Military Museum there and saw the exhibit on Belfast in WWII. Â And we all know about the more recent Troubles, but I can honestly say I never felt uncomfortable anywhere (although the first murals were not something I was expecting, especially on my way to Reid's shoes whose address I had obtained from C&J prior to my trip). Â I was just quite impressed by how new and clean everything looked. Â I arrived by train from Dublin at a new train station and on my way to the hotel passed all the new developments - even the hotel was new. Â I left to go to Paris via Manchester from the new airport - there must be quite a building boom. I am very glad to see that such a strong recovery has been made.
Out of curiosity, I wasn't able to find a department store other than M&S and the one in the downtown shopping centre. Â Does Belfast have it's own better department store? Â I also wasn't able to find any Aquascutum or Burberry dealers. Â I know these are not considered "cool" in the U.K. (chavs, right?), but I had hoped to find some dealers. Â I regret passing by Lisburn Road, as I must have passed it at some point. Â I also didn't get all the way up to Coleraine; I will have to keep Bishop's in mind. Who knows, perhaps I will make a return trip next year and will be sure to post for more info before I go.
I cannot be scertain, but I think that McCalls in Lisburn has Aquascutum. Aquascutum does not suffer from the attention of chavs, and it is the Burberry check that they like - Burberry's raincoats and sports jackets will not classify the wearer as a chav. Polo shirts and jumpers and anything bearing the check should be avoided, however. More info on chavs for the curious: Chav info In addition to Clarke and Dawe, the Lisburn Road also has an excellent shop selling Mulberry (some very nice ties and superb leatherware), which is also a Penhaligon's dealer, and a proper cobbler. Burberry have a shop at Heathrow Airport, where their clothes can be bought Duty Free, as do Thomas Pink.
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