Pre-Loved Condition Scale

Have you heard the good news? You can shop a range of Pre-Loved Circus and Carousel garments at ilovecarousel.com.

We’ve recently started asking people to get involved in our new recycling scheme! If you have a Circus or Carousel piece hanging at the back of your wardrobe, we’d love to find it a new home. You can find out more about getting involved here.

Here’s a handy scale to let you know what sort of condition the garments on sale are in:

Like New

Appears new, no signs of wear and no flaws.

Excellent

Previously worn but shows very little or no signs of wear & tear. Free from visible imperfections.

Good

Minor signs of wear and tear but is still perfectly wearable. Any noticeable flaws will be mentioned in the item description.

We are only accepting garments in ‘Good’ condition and any garments that can’t be sold will be donated to a local charity shop or brought to a local recycling centre.

Please read the next blog if you would like more information on sending us your pre-loved garments.

Thank you so much to everyone who has gotten involved so far! We’ve been delighted by the positive response to our new circular trial.

The Carousel Team

Recycling at Carousel

We’re very excited to introduce our brand new recycling scheme on a trial basis! Please continue reading to find out how it works.

How to Recycle Your Pre-Loved Garments with us:

  1. Send your pre-loved Circus or Carousel garment using Standard Post (or Registered Post if you wish). You can also drop the garment(s) to our warehouse if that’s handier for you! The items must be in a wearable and resaleable condition (washed and pressed – dry cleaning not necessary), and we ask that you package them as neatly as possible. Please drop us an email before sending your pre-loved garment(s) and include a note with your email address in the parcel so that we can add the credit to your account. The garment(s) must have been purchased by the person sending the items at ilovecarousel.com. As this is a trial, please only send a maximum of 2 garments at a time.
  2. If the items are in good condition and are able to be resold, we will then add €15 credit per dress or €10 credit per skirt/top/cardigan to your ilovecarousel.com account. You will need to set up an account if you don’t already have one. Our decision on whether the items are resaleable is final. If the items are not in a wearable/resaleable condition, you will not receive the €10/€15 credit and we will give them to a local charity shop or recycle the items at our local recycling centre.
  3. We will have a ‘Pre-Loved’ section at ilovecarousel.com where you will be able to purchase these second-hand garments. The items will be significantly reduced based on their condition.

As we are running this on a trial basis, the recycling scheme is only available to people located in Ireland.
You can send (or drop-off) your pre-loved Circus or Carousel garment(s) to:
Carousel Recycling,
Unit E11,
Calmount Business Park,
Ballymount,
Dublin 12,
D12 K7V2

Have Questions?

If you have any questions about the new recycling scheme or how it works, drop us an email to support@ilovecarousel.com. We’ve already started receiving some pre-loved garments and we hope to have them available to purchase at ilovecarousel.com very soon!

As a final note, we just wanted to thank all of our followers who joined in the conversation last week on the Cost of Living vs Sustainability. A lot of you spoke about the benefits of buying second-hand clothing and that’s how we came up with this idea! We hope this will be the beginning of something very exciting and we can’t wait for you all to follow along on the journey.

The Carousel Team

Cost of Living vs Sustainability

The cost of living has gone through the roof! Has this changed your priorities when shopping for clothes?

We’ve spent the last few years making sustainable changes for the good of our planet. But we’re struggling to shout above the noise of other fashion retailers, despite being more sustainable than our competitors. Has the rise in the cost of living affected your shopping habits? Is sustainability still a priority?

We all know that the cost of living is increasing and we’re all feeling an extra pressure. But has this affected your priorities when shopping? We’re concerned that people are prioritising price over the sustainability of the item.

It seems to us that the sustainable credentials of our clothing is an added bonus and not the motivation for purchasing from ilovecarousel.com. We’ve spent a huge amount of time and money over the last few years making our processes and materials more sustainable. But we’re struggling to be heard above the noise of other online fashion brands. Especially ones that aren’t as sustainable!

We’re feeling a bit disheartened at the moment and we’re looking to start a conversation. We’d love to hear your opinion on the matter of price vs sustainability. Which is more important to you? A dress that has been ethically made using sustainable fabrics? Or a dress that is 30% cheaper?

Let us know what you think via Instagram. We’re genuinely interested to hear if your shopping habits have changed so that we can make the right decisions for Carousel. 

Happy Customers at Carousel

We’re incredibly grateful to everyone who has taken the time to leave us a review. So we thought we’d put together a few of our favourites!

All of these reviews were left via our Trustpilot account – visit here. We’ve only just set it up and we already have a 4.7 out of 5 rating! So thank you so much. It makes such a difference to our small Irish company.

“Excellent customer service. Love the free returns through An Post. Great quality clothing.” – Cáit, Ireland

Our number one priority is our customers so it’s incredible to hear that we are successfully delivering excellent customer service!

“Fabulous dresses, lovely styles and fabrics and really good quality and fit. The customer service is excellent and very helpful and friendly. Highly recommended.” – Frances, Ireland

Quality and fit is so important! We spend many months developing each new style with our partner factory in India. So by the time it reaches ilovecarousel.com, we know you’re going to love it!

“Very pretty and affordable dress. Very pleased with this purchase.” – Brid, Ireland

“Recently treated myself to a new Circus dress from Carousel – and as always, I wasn’t disappointed! Beautiful style and fabric, felt perfect from the moment I wore it and it has attracted so many positive comments!” – Jeanie, UK

Our favourite thing to hear from you is that you’ve received compliments while wearing one of our designs! It means we’re doing our job properly and making sure that you look and feel amazing.

“As always a good buy. I love the design and the fabrics used.” – Mercedes, Spain

We’re delighted that our designs have now reached mainland Europe! We have happy customers in Spain, Germany, France, Belgium, The Netherlands and more.

Thank you so much again to everyone who has left us a review. Hearing your feedback makes such a difference to our small Irish company!

We’d love to see you in our designs

If you feel fabulous in one of our designs, why not send us a photo? It would absolutely make our day! It’s also an invaluable way of spreading the word about Carousel so that we can grow as an independent, sustainable and ethical fashion brand.

You can send your photos to support@ilovecarousel.com with the subject ‘Happy Customer’. We’ll always reply to ask if you are happy for us to share the photo on our social media.

Spring/Summer 2022 Collection

Spring/Summer 2022 Collection Launches at ilovecarousel.com

A sustainable collection of clothing, designed in Dublin and ethically made in our partner factory, Good Earth India.

The Circus Spring/Summer 2022 collection aims to invoke a sense of nostalgia in the wearer. The vintage colour palette brings a softness to the collection. And the retro-inspired prints inject a huge amount of personality into each piece. You’ll find beautiful vintage florals, colourful graphic prints, fun retro repeats and soft classic stripes in the Circus SS22 collection. 

This past year, we have spent time sourcing sustainable fabrics and registering with Lenzing™, Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) and Better Cotton Initiative (BCI). We are delighted to say that we now only use BCI or Organic cotton, Lenzing™ EcoVero™, deadstock or other sustainable fabrics in our collections. Currently we are also looking at introducing bamboo derived fabrics and Tencel.

We can say with full confidence that we know the manufacturing journey a Circus piece makes from beginning to end. We collaborate closely with our partner factory, Good Earth India. It’s a spacious, modern factory with comfortable conditions for all its employees. The factory adheres strictly to a minimum working age and maximum working hours per week. The workspaces are well lit and air conditioned. There are policies in place to deal with workers safety, protecting the environment, and sexual harassment in the workplace. Good Earth India has recently been GOTS certified to manufacture organic garments. 

A selection of our Spring/Summer 2022 collection is already available to buy at ilovecarousel.com:

Ava Painted Flower Dress –  €75.00 – Size UK 8-16
Jazz Daisy Print Dress – €79.00 – Size UK 8-16
Anna Antique Floral Top – €49.00 – Size UK 8-16
Jasmine Wave Print Skirt – €65.00 – Size UK 8-16
Livia Circle Print Dress – €79.00 – Size UK 8-16

Don’t forget, there’s free shipping to Ireland & the UK on orders over €50. And we’re very excited that we can now offer free returns to our Irish-based customers. Simply drop us an email letting us know your order number and the items you’d like to return, and we’ll generate a free return label for you.

Send your free returns requests and any questions you may have to support@ilovecarousel.com.

The Carousel Team xoxo

Design a Dress Competition

On 30th January 2022 we put out a call on social media for entries to a brand new competition. We asked our followers to send us an image of a dress that could inspire a brand new design for ilovecarousel.com. The image could have been from a movie, a tv show or something a fashion icon wore. We said we’d pick our favourites and hold a vote for the winner! The most exciting part, we’ll be creating a dress inspired by the winning image.

Thank you so much to everyone who sent in an idea! We received so many fabulous images and we wish we could make every single one of them. After much deliberation, we’ve chosen 5 dresses for the shortlist. Our decision was mainly influenced by the facilities we have available to us and whether or not we could do justice to the inspiration images.

See the five dresses that made the shortlist below:

Option 1 by Deirdre O’Brien – inspired by Audrey Hepburn’s classic style

This 1950s style dress is the first of our shortlist options. Deirdre O’Brien sent us three images that combine to create her dream dress! The bodice of Audrey Hepburn’s classic dress, a full skirt and a bow on the back to finish it off. We did up a sketch of how we envision Deirdre’s dream dress to look.

Option 2 by Sarah Pattison – inspired by Emma Stone’s dress in La La Land

The iconic yellow dress from the film La La Land is the second of our shortlist options. Sent in by Sarah Pattison, we fell in love with this idea immediately! The cut of the dress is so simple and elegant. And of course the colour is just fabulous.

Option 3 by Caiena Techart – inspired by Anya Taylor-Joy’s dress in The Queen’s Gambit

We loved watching The Queen’s Gambit when it first came out! Mainly because of Beth’s outfits. So we were delighted when Caiena Techart emailed us this pinafore as an entry for our competition. A cool and relaxed dress that can be worn with layers or on its own! 

Option 4 by Margaret McNally – inspired by Jackie Kennedy’s impeccable style

Margaret McNally sent us this image of the fabulous Jackie Kennedy. In Margaret’s words, ‘She had impeccable, elegant and timeless fashion sense. This dress has a simple design that has transcended the decades and would fit in beautifully today. A dress design that could carry you from day to night. A style that would compliment in any size.’ We couldn’t agree more and had to include this dress in our shortlist.

Option 5 by Susan Lynott – inspired by Audrey Hepburn’s dress in Funny Face

And last but definitely not least, this iconic dress worn by Audrey Hepburn in Funny Face was sent in by Susan Lynott. We love its elegant shape but simplified it slightly for a more contemporary feel. The actual dress worn by Hepburn (designed by Givenchy) is on display in the Museum of Style Icons in Newbridge, Co. Kildare.

That’s all 5 dresses on the shortlist. Now it’s time to have your say! Go to our Facebook or Instagram to vote for your favourite dress. Choose carefully as the winning dress will inspire a brand new Carousel creation! Once the votes are in, we’ll get to work finalising the design and getting the dress made in our factory. It’ll then be available to buy at ilovecarousel.com.

Thank you again to everyone who sent in an idea! We received so many wonderful images and we wish we could make every single one of them. Good luck to our 5 finalists! We can’t wait to see which dress comes out on top.

Deadstock Fabric

‘Deadstock’ seems to be the new buzz word in the #sustainablefashion circle! But what does it actually mean? We can’t speak for every fashion brand. But when we say deadstock, we’re referring to fabric that already existed and if not used, it may have been sent to landfill.

A simple definition of ‘Deadstock’ Fabrics

We were eager to introduce deadstock fabric to ilovecarousel.com and we decided the best way to do this was to create a brand new ‘Carousel’ brand. This new line of clothing will be made from majority deadstock fabric. There’s a great range of deadstock fabrics available and it actually means we can offer a larger variety of colours and prints.

When we use deadstock fabric, we don’t have to worry about the minimums that usually come with designing and producing our own fabric. We can buy small amounts of lots of different fabrics which in turn, reduces our waste.

Carousel Floral Tea Dress – €59.00 – Made from responsibly and ethically sourced deadstock rayon

There’s a certain amount of exclusivity when using deadstock fabric. Once the fabric has been used and the garments have been sold, we most likely won’t be able to source the same fabric again. So we would encourage you not to wait too long if you fall in love with one of our ‘Carousel’ pieces in particular!

The greatest appeal for using deadstock fabric is that they don’t require any new resources to be made. You can’t get any more sustainable than using things that already exist. Plus we’re giving these fabrics a second life and potentially saving them from ending up in landfill.

Deadstock fabrics are a great option in terms of aesthetics and sustainability. A win-win for everyone we reckon!

If a dress is made from deadstock fabric, are you more likely to buy it? 🤔

Carousel Floral and Butterfly Ruffle Dress – €59.00 – Made from responsibly and ethically sourced deadstock cotton

You can check out our new Carousel range here

What is Slow Fashion?

What is ‘Slow Fashion’?

We use the words ‘Slow Fashion’ a lot when describing our brand and our ethos. But what does that actually mean? Read on to discover the top 5 things that we associate with ‘Slow Fashion’.

1. It’s the Opposite of Fast Fashion

Fast fashion is about making and selling as much clothes as possible, without much consideration to the planet. Whereas ‘Slow Fashion’ is about slowing this whole process down, and providing clothing that people actually need/want.

2. Quality over Quantity

Slowing down fashion is about buying a select few high quality pieces for your wardrobe. Garments that you really love and plan on wearing multiple times.

3. Clothing that People will Wear Over and Over and Over Again

And even then, hopefully be passed on to someone else. ‘Slow Fashion’ is about valuing our clothes and not seeing them as disposable.

4. Unique Designs that aren’t Trend-Based

Trends come and go, whereas ‘Slow Fashion’ is about designing beautiful clothing that people identify with. Classic pieces that you’ll be able to wear in 1, 5 or 10 years time.

5. Responsibly Sourced & Made

Last, but definitely not least, ‘Slow Fashion’ should also be responsible fashion. In order to protect our planet and the people in it, our clothing needs to be sustainably sourced and made.

What do you think of these points? Is there anything you would add to the meaning of ‘Slow Fashion’? Join the conversation on Instagram and Facebook.

We’re a small, independent Irish clothing brand and sustainable fashion is a huge part of our ethos. Fulfilling all of the above points is our main aim when creating each of our collections for ilovecarousel.com. Our Autumn/Winter 2021 collection is inspired by classic shapes of the past with a modern twist. Each piece has been made to the highest quality in our partner factory Good Earth India in New Delhi. You can read more about our ethos and story on our About Us page.

A letter from Tom – the owner of Carousel

Thank you for taking the time to find out more about Carousel and our brand ‘Circus’.

After the last recession it became clear that going to trade shows across Europe and sourcing/curating lines from different brands was not a sustainable business model. With the rise in rents and general cost of doing business I had to step back and take a fresh look at my retail business. Fashion and retail are all I had known since working in Selfridges in the late 80s (makes me giggle when that period is now considered vintage), so a career change was not an option.

“I had to step back and take a fresh look at my retail business”

I did not know at that point that I would eventually have my own clothing brand with agents across Europe selling into indie clothes shops like mine.

I travelled to Thailand and Korea in the early days of developing Circus (2012) sourcing new lines and meeting some extraordinary people. Mostly women running thriving business that took time out to help me get off the ground. I met Kate Chang from Seoul when she was on a holiday in Dublin. She ended up being my agent and translator in Seoul. My many trips to Seoul would not have been possible without her amazing help.

Araya from Fame Fashions in Thailand was also instrumental in helping me export and source new lines in Bangkok. After several years of travelling back and forth to Thailand I realised that it would not be possible to create a brand of my own in Thailand as the logistics did not make sense.

Following an introduction from a colleague at a trade fair in the UK I was introduced to Udayan Kapur. Udayan ran a small family-owned clothing manufacturing business in New Delhi – Good Earth India. Even though Udayan was 25 years my junior we got on from the beginning.

After several trips to Delhi we decided to start a brand together and Circus became a reality. Although I was creative, I had never designed a clothing range. But I began designing lines for Carousel. This was relatively easy as I knew exactly what I wanted in my shop.

The most difficult part was learning to design a range of clothing that appealed to many shops and customers across Europe, and repeat that every season whilst keeping our identity and still appealing to a broad enough customer base to grow. We are still on that journey but really enjoying the learning process.

“Many people have helped me over the years without any benefit to themselves”

I have tried to live by the motto “what goes around comes around”. Many people have helped me over the years without any benefit to themselves. Seeing someone grow and develop is an extremely rewarding experience especially if you have had even a small hand in it.

Carousel and Circus have always taken the more difficult decisions but more rewarding ones since the first day we opened our doors back in 1993. Long before it was ethical or sustainable or the informed thing to do. We will always go about our business doing what we believe is for the greater good and morally correct decision. In the early days this was a personal choice.

Society now demands that the values of a company be authenticated by relevant certification. Whilst this is understandable it is sad that instead of assuming a business does the right thing where possible, it seems to be the exception and not the rule. Hence the need to be more formal about our values, ethics, morality and respect for our employees, customers, and associates.

We needed to make bigger changes to ensure all of our activities were more sustainable… This was much harder than we had anticipated

18 months ago I attended a talk on sustainability hosted by “Thinkhouse”. As a result of this talk I realised that we needed to make bigger changes to ensure all of our activities were more sustainable. This was much harder than we had anticipated. We have finally reached a point where we are happy with all elements of our production.

We registered with EcoVero™, a sustainable alternative to viscose. This took some time before we became certified as a registered brand. We are delighted to be a part of the EcoVero™ family now. We have started working with the “Better Cotton Initiave” (BCI), which supports farmers to grow cotton more sustainably. Our factory has also just recently been certified by the “Global Organic Trading Standard” (GOTS) and we’ll be offering more styles made from Organic and BCI Cotton.

“We will continue to build positively on our values for as long as we are lucky enough to be in business”

I have learned that the only thing you truly own is your reputation. This is something that is earned over time. It cannot be created by a marketing company but only by your actions over a sustained period of time. We at Carousel have always taken the best, fairest and morally correct decision based on what we thought at a point in time. We thank everybody who has been on that journey with us over the years. And we will continue to build positively on our values for as long as we are lucky enough to be in business.

Thank you for your support,

Tom.

A Peak at our Nostalgic Spring/Summer 2021 Collection

We’re all looking forward to brighter days and warmer weather. The team at Carousel are no different and this year we’ve created our happiest and most radiant collection yet! We wanted to create beautiful vintage style clothing that will put a smile on your face and a bounce in your step.

The Ava is a gorgeous shirt dress inspired by the glamour of the 1940s. Perfect your vintage style with elegant cap sleeves, a removable belt and a full a-line skirt. Featuring detailed yellow sunflowers printed on a rich blue cotton with teal undertones.
The Ava Midi Sunflower Dress, €79, Available Now

We’ve created a collection of vintage inspired clothing that celebrates our nostalgic memories of summer as a child. There is a reassuring comfort in remembering our childhoods fondly, and we all need a bit of comfort at the moment. When creating our prints we were inspired by moments such as; occupying ourselves picking flowers, spending our pocket money on penny sweets, splashing through puddles after a rain shower and of course trips to the seaside.

Splash through puddles in our Ingrid Umbrella Dress, €65, Available Now

We design our own brand “Circus” at Carousel that celebrates individuality, femininity and nostalgia. Our aim is to create fun and flattering clothing that empowers the wearer, with a touch of vintage flair. We’re very excited about our Spring/Summer 2021 collection and we can’t wait to hear what you think! A few items from the collection are available now. And the rest of the pieces will be available at ilovecarousel.com over the next few weeks.

The Nova is a brand new shape and will be your new go-to summer dress! It has a gorgeous relaxed shape that is so easy to wear. We designed this classic dress for everyday wear with an elasticated waist for added comfort. The vintage inspired Nova boasts a refreshing floral print on a sky blue cotton base for a vibrant, retro look.
The Nova Geo Floral Dress, €69, Available Now

We have created a selection of our Spring/Summer 2021 pieces using Organic Cotton. We’ve also started to introduce our new recyclable packaging. And of course, each piece of clothing is ethically made in our partner facory, Good Earth India.

Sweeten up your wardrobe with our Twiggy Lolly Dress, €65, Available Now

From the beginning of Carousel in 2001, we have focused on doing things the right way. We believe in order to deliver exceptional vintage style, we need to design our products alongside our values. And so our aim is to create excellent vintage inspired clothing for women to enjoy and feel good about wearing!

This quirky baby cactus design is printed on 100% organic cotton, a first for Circus this Spring/Summer. The Maude dress features a classic shirt bodice with a gathered skirt for a relaxed and flattering shape. We designed this dress for you to find the fun in expressing your individual style every day.
The Maude Baby Cactus Dress, Made from 100% Organic Cotton, €69, Available Now

All of these items and many more vintage inspired pieces will be arriving at m2.ilovecarousel.com over the next few weeks.

We would love to hear what you think of our new collection! Get in touch on Instagram @ilovecarousel or tag us using #ilovecarousel.