style

Spotlight: UrbanXChange

Thrift store culture has been booming in the Pacific Northwest for the past decade, and it has only been picking up speed. With the immense popularity of Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’s song “Thrift Shop,” secondhand clothing has had a rebirth that our generation is swallowing whole. The legacy of Kurt Cobain’s grunge style has been reworked and re-popularized by style icons like Rihanna, Cara Delevingne, Jared Leto, and the Olsen Twins.

People are searching thrift stores high and low to find unique garments that aren’t coming out of cookie-cutter patterns created by corporate retail machines. The pieces they buy have a life to them that regular retail stores can’t replicate. Therefore, secondhand clothing tends to be cheaper, more worn-in, and funkier than what other retail stores are selling, making it especially appealing to college students.

There are numerous, multiple, infinite thrift stores in Tacoma, but Urban X Change is my favorite hidden gem. When I walked into the store for the first time, there was a vibe about it that I had never felt while entering any other retail shop. It’s as if it presents a package of the Pacific Northwest lifestyle in terms of ease, accessibility and free spirit. The clothing perfectly exemplifies the funky style of Tacoma, appealing to both fashion and comfort. There are shoes and boots lining the opposing walls of the Men’s and Women’s sections, and peeks of butter-soft Pendleton cloth emerging from the rows of winter wear. To say that it was a love affair would be an understatement.

Located in downtown Tacoma on Pacific Avenue, UXC has been around for ten years. In fall of 2013, married couple Nick and Brooke Casanova took on the store, putting their own personal touch on Tacoma fashion. I had the opportunity to talk with them about the store, the way it operates and its bright future.

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“You would be amazed about how many calls we get about people asking if we’re selling mattresses and items like that because we’re classified along with other thrift stores. So we wouldn’t call ourselves a thrift store, but more of a secondhand boutique,” said Brooke. “We’re a creative shop that focuses on vintage and modern goods and welcomes community to try and stay ahead of the game as far as product goes,” said Nick.

UXC is a “buy, sell, trade” store, meaning that its inventory is made up of clothing that customers sell to the store. Nick and Brooke sort through bags of clothing that customers come in to sell and they buy the garments from them. “We have the ability to curate what we sell because we’re the ones buying it,” said Nick. “We really want to create a fashion-forward culture in Tacoma, and we’re showing our customers what is trendy and stylish in a way that’s easy for them to pick up on.”

Currently, Urban Outfitters, Anthropologie, Free People and Buffalo Exchange are the frontrunners in grungy, bohemian style. They have had a lot of success in appealing to a generation of funky fashionistas, for a high price. Nick pointed out that none of these stores exist in Tacoma, so it is the goal of UXC to combine these four styles into one and package it for the Tacoma community. “We want people to know that we’re selling items strategically in order to appeal to them, so they don’t have to go to the mall when they want Clarks desert boots or a vintage maxi dress. We want them to think of us first,” Brooke and Nick said.

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Brooke and Nick love looking through the items that customers bring in, because it constantly reshapes the type of merchandise that the store is selling. They usually get a lot of garments in from the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s and some from ‘50s and ‘60s. “Not too long ago we had a woman come in with around 15 vintage gunny sack dresses. That was definitely one of my favorite buys. They didn’t stay in the store very long because customers immediately bought them,” said Brooke. The store gets about 6-15 sellers everyday, but they hope to expand their selling population to UW Tacoma and UPS students.

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The Casanovas find it of utmost importance to foster a sense of community at UXC. They sell locally made jewelry in the store, creating partnerships with Tacoma artisans. They also hope to add more bustle to Pacific Avenue in order to create cooperative retail advantage for neighboring stores, restaurants, and coffee shops. Pac Ave is a major street in downtown Tacoma, but it lacks the foot traffic that many big cities have, making visitors less likely to pop into new places.

Nick and Brooke are looking to maximize the store’s potential in the near future. Brooke hopes to begin selling small homeware items to add to UXC’s eclectic collection of merchandise. Nick aims to better utilize the unique space of the store. “We have a back room that we’re really just using to take pictures in,” he said. “We’re thinking about having different guests come in to give workshops – whether it’s another local Tacoma business or a clothing designer or merchandise representative – we want people to hear about it and get it excited. Then they’ll be able to see the store and we’ll get new customers in.”

Urban X Change has a very exciting future ahead of it. Further collaboration with the Tacoma community will only bring growth and success. Check out Urban X Change’s Instagram account (urbanxchangetacoma) and Etsy shop, and head down to Pacific Avenue to see what they have in store!

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Campus Style

This past week, the sun was shining and spirits were high! To celebrate this change in weather, I tracked down Loggers who like to keep it fresh with their style. These students gave me a tidbit on their own personal style and how they represent it through their clothing choices. Keep an eye out for more campus style segments!

Sloan Strader (Freshman): "Jane Birkin and stripes"

Sloan Strader (Freshman): “Jane Birkin and stripes”

Aaron Pomerantz (Senior) “I’m definitely not from LA”

Aaron Pomerantz (Senior) “I’m definitely not from LA”

Louisa Raitt (Senior): “Sleek lines and bold statement pieces”

Louisa Raitt (Senior): “Sleek lines and bold statement pieces”

Blake Hessel (Junior): “Soft fabric and lots of pockets”

Blake Hessel (Junior): “Soft fabric and lots of pockets”

Inspiration: Mara Hoffman

There’s nothing that tickles my fancy quite like Mara Hoffman’s collections – and her latest one is no exception.  Really, I was just getting amped up for fall clothing (chunky sweaters and leather skirts galore), but after seeing these looks, I’m already craving spring.  Phenomenal patterns? Check. Vibrant colors? Check. Elegant silhouettes? Check.  Now, all I truly want for Christmas is a closet full of Mara Hoffman’s Spring 2015 Ready-to-Wear collection.  But can you really blame me? 

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Let’s start with these maxi dresses: ab-so-lute-ly stunning.  They would look truly flattering on any and every body type.  Throw on some chunky wedges and an wrist full of thin silver bangles and you’re good to go!

Here are my other favorite looks from Mara Hoffman’s new collection.  Enjoy!

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(All photos from Style.com)

Inspiration: Prabal Gurung

New York fashion week just started off with a bang, and I couldn’t have been more excited about Prabal Gurung’s Spring 2015 Ready-to-Wear collection.  I just about melted over his sporty, Himalayan-inspired Fall 2014 Ready-to-Wear, so I was ready to see what Prabal Gurung would do next.  And I was nothing short of amazed! His mix of sporty pieces with flowing detail creates the perfect concoction of style.

LUX_0038I’m equally adoring this architectural urban warrior look.  

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But what really caught my eye were these two high-neck, flowing gowns.  (They are seriously works of art.)  The accent colors in each dress are strokes of design genius – and they just look downright cool.  

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Prabal Gurung even launched a new shoe line that was featured in his runway show.  So enjoy that little bit of eye candy, too!

(All photos from Style.com)

Spotlight: Preserve.Us

Preserve.Us just launched and I couldn’t be more excited about it.  (Seriously the homemade-lovin’-fashion-girl in me is squirming with pure elation.)  Preserve sells it all – clothes for both men and women, home goods, kitchenware, jewelry, and even some tasty looking hot fudge!  

Preserve is teamed up with different artisans and small business owners from the around the U.S.  They have set their first goal to give 5,000 children a meal, 2,000 children a blanket, and 2,700 children a cozy sweatshirt.  Their hands-on philanthropic goals are both reasonable and grassroots-oriented.  

I’m all about the Briella Maxi Dress and the soon to arrive Stone Bangles, both pictured above.  They’re even perfect when paired together!

And on a final note, the company’s take away message is just as inspiring as the items its selling:

“We acknowledge that we are human and are flawed. But please accept, our intention is to do something pure. So we ask you, let this be a conversation. Help us grow. Help us give. Please critique us, teach us and be patient with us in the process, as ultimately we are all in this, this spinning sphere, together.”

Spotlight: Melody Ehsani

I need to preface this post by saying that I’m not usually one for too much bling-bling.  But then I came across these Melody Ehsani earrings, and I knew I needed them! These super chunky, fun earrings are perfect for channeling your inner Miley (because let’s be honest with ourselves for a second, we all adore her style at least a little bit….).  And I must admit, the moment I put them on I felt like I could take on the day.  It was a “we flawless” moment.  I wore mine with a deep red-hued flannel, black soft shorts, and cream high-tops.

Check out Melody Ehsani’s online shop for some more design eye candy – you won’t be sorry!

 

Inspiration: Indonesia Part II

Little known fact: Indonesia is the largest Muslim country in the world! Despite its overwhelming heat and humidity (96%….ouch!), it’s appropriate to cover your shoulders and legs while in the city.  Because of the intense mugginess, that meant lots of drapey layers, which ended up being rather comfortable.  I was wearing relaxed and loose clothing that I practically could have been sleeping in, so I coined the term PJ chic!

Since being back from Indonesia I have certainly continued to embrace this PJ chic attire.  I try to stay away from over-patterned, bright harem pants because they are hard to pair with sophisticated tops and jackets, so neutrals are the way to go (if you don’t want to look like MC Hammer, that is).

So my advice for wearing easy lounge pants that you can convert to a more formal setting?  Keep them neutral, and try to stay away from crazy patterns.  I always like wearing mine with booties, but you can also spice them up with chunky heels for a boho vibe.  I own the Talula pants posted above in black, and I kid you not, I wore them for 3 days straight after buying them.  They are unbelievably comfortable, and they hit the ankle at just the right spot! Here are a few of my other favorites:

I promise, once you start wearing these pants, you’ll want to say sayonara to your jeans!

– Kasey

Above: Talula Los Feliz Pant

Catherine Malandrino – Gisella High-Waist Harem Pants

Loft – Lou & Grey Linen Drawstring Pants