The Garfield Galleria is home to many talented artists, including three fashion-forward designers. I sat down with a T-shirt creator, jewelry maker and a gown seamstress and got an up-close look at their operations.
Brian Cresson, 28, is the sole designer and curator for Alter Ego, his handmade T-shirt line that is expanding quickly in the Downtown community. He uses completely original designs and stencils on each shirt, and even makes his own tags with his vintage typewriter.
Downtown Phoenix Journal: How did you come up with Alter Ego as your brand’s name?
Brian Cresson: At the time I was still at my other job, which was managing some restaurants at a local resort, I kind of started doing this and I decided to make the move down and get a little more involved in my art. So at the time it was sort of my alter ego, later on I realized that out there was my alter ego but in here doing this was the real me.
DPJ: When did you first begin creating art?
BC: It is something I have always been into. I have always been making things, building and painting things. As far as really getting into this it has really been over the past few years.
DPJ: How long ago did you decide to become a full-time artist?
BC: It has been about 3 months now. A lot of things have really happened in just a couple of months. I was juggling both of them and it felt like my other job was taking away from my creative time. It wasn’t fair to keep doing that.
BC: My main focus is the clothing right now. I was painting for a while . . . I had been pushing that for a long time trying to get people to catch on to what I was doing. I then started cutting sleeves off of my T-shirts and jeans into shorts and I decided to make a stencil to put my studio on my shirt then I thought oh I can add a little more to that and I added a few photos of them on Facebook and within two days I had about 10 requests for shirts. It was just like this is it. I have always been into fashion and I have stood out at times, so when that hit it was a light bulb moment and so I hung the paintings up and started figuring out how to do clothing. I just taught myself and I learn something new everyday.
DPJ: How do you choose your fabrics for the shirts?
BC: Everything is handpicked. I collect vintage shirts from around town; thrifting all around from the Downtown shops to Mesa. I pick depending on the feel of the shirt, how worn is it and what the print is on it. I like a lot of local stuff and I find really neat pieces that are of different things that have happened in the past in Arizona and the world, like one from Arnold Schwarzenegger running for California governor to beat the heat shirts from the heat wave in Arizona in 1991. A lot of my time is picking the right shirts and colors.
BC: First I hand pick the shirt for the design, from there I am hand drawing whatever symbol or design that is going to be on there and then making that into a stencil, which I also hand cut. Then working right on the floor, I use actual screen print ink and I paint it by hand with a paint brush. It is quite a tedious process.
DPJ: How long does each shirt take to make?
BC: Anywhere from one to four hours, but that varies with each shirt. The thing is I am not doing the same thing over and over again, so it changes every time. I just keep on trying something new, which is my fault. It is evolving really quickly.
DPJ: First painting and now T-shirts, what is next for you?
BC: I want to expand to more types of clothing, more feminine cuts for shirts and tanks, creating shoes, bags and dresses. I will also use more interesting fabrics in the future.
DPJ: Are you involved in the Downtown community?
BC: Yeah, I really have fallen in love with the people and scene down here. The whole community I have come into is a great feel. I have been involved with Roosevelt Row CDC and the Valley of the Sunflowers, from the planting of the seeds to maintaining the field and the harvesting this weekend. Everyone Downtown is very supportive of what I am doing.
DPJ: Other than in the gallery, are the shirts available anywhere else?
BC: They are featured at GROWop right now, but it is all so new so finding the right places to carry them is still in process. I also have my ETSY shop. I will be having a First Friday show on Friday, July 6 from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. at GROWop as well.
Take a peek inside locals’ shopping bags and learn how they use health and beauty products in everyday life.
Name: Ronda Hampton
Occupation: Bartender at Legacy Golf Resort
Her Neighborhood: Central Phoenix
Where spotted: Haven Boutique (pictured below)
What she purchased:
• Tokyo Milk Le Petit Handcreme
• Love & Toast Cherry Lemonade Lip Balm
• Love & Toast Sugar Grapefruit Handcreme
• Two handmade bracelets
• Vintage sterling ring
Why she chose these products: The jewelry would probably make great gifts, but I picked these up for myself because they were so pretty. I picked the beauty products for the scents. They are so summery, light and cool, which is great in the hot Arizona summer.
Her must-haves: The hand cremes will be something I use everyday because I will probably just throw them in my purse. It’s something that’s great to always have right there with me when I need it.
How she benefits: I’ve bought a Love & Toast handcreme before and I love it because its non-greasy and it’s not too heavy at all. Now I’m picking up a new scent, but I already know I love the product. The lip balm is something new I had to try because the scent is irresistible. Its ingredients are all-natural and the list is simple and straight-forward. The Tokyo Milk also has an ingredient list with only four things listed on it, which I think is great because it’s not hard to understand what it’s made of.
Why they fit her style: The mix of vintage (jewelry) and new products makes my purchases unique and shows I like trying out the new while still using old favorites. And I’m all about the natural and simple ingredients in my beauty products because I like to be able to understand what’s in them.
Jos. A. Bank is opening its sixth Valley location on the lower level of CityScape next door Charming Charlie’s (the former home of Republic of Couture). The store is set to open in early September and will be stocked with business apparel, sportswear and vacation apparel. They will also be providing tuxedo rentals.
“We are a pretty traditional men’s store; one your father shops at and your grandfather shops too,” said Tom Kilwein, Jos. A. Bank regional sales director. The company caters to a range of business customers and is working towards more fashion-forward collections to draw in the younger customers.
Kilwein said they chose to open a downtown location because that is where their customers are. Phoenix will be added to a list of major cities across the country that have stores in their downtown areas.
One thing that sets the store apart from other similar stores is that every product, except the shoes, in store is a Jos. A. Bank label, Kilwein said.
“The people we have talked to are excited and we really think it is going to be phenomenal,” Kilwein said.
Urban Phoenix is home to a great group of bike shops, whether you’re a newbie looking for a beach cruiser or a seasoned racer looking for that carbon fiber seatpost that will surely guarantee your PR to the South Mountain towers. Having been in both those categories, and having five bikes hanging in the garage, I knew this assignment was right down my path.
April was Valley Bike Month. Events included the Great Bike Chase that took bikers from Hance park through the streets of downtown to Chase Field to experience a Diamondbacks game, and PedalCraft which brought together bicycles, art, and community to celebrate the city’s growing urban bike scene.
The biking euphoria continued straight into May with National Bike Month, which is more appropriate for those states that just recently de-thawed. Though, we’re lucky enough to have year-round bikeable weather for commuting, racing and bar-hopping, and it feels like there are more bike riders on the streets of downtown than ever before. Businesses are cluing in that adding bike racks attracts business, ASU’s downtown population is growing and downtown-adjacent residents are joining in and leaving the car at home.
We bike locally, why not buy locally? Local First Arizona acts as a great reminder to source as much of your daily needs as you can from local growers and purveyors. Local goods are likely to be fresher and feed our local economy.
Think of your local bike shop in the same way. No, squeezing the seat won’t tell you if the bike is ripe, but the local knowledge, customer service and selection are enough reasons to put these four Central Corridor shops on your go-to list. The common theme in talking to these shop owners and managers was the passion that they have in giving a quality customer service and products to the buyer. They are all dedicated to the development of a cycling friendly Phoenix.
From south to north, this local line-up of full service cycling shops between 7th and 7th can satisfy all your cycling needs from bikes and accessories to repairs and advice. Honorary mention in this list is State Bicycle Co., a Tempe-grown, urban bike manufacturer, in keeping with the Local First Arizona theme.
130 North Central Avenue #104, Phoenix, AZ 85004
Owner: Palmer Martines
Hours: Mon-Fri 11 a.m. – 7 p.m. Sat 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Phx Bike is an urban cycling boutique with a wide variety of bikes ranging from BMX, commuters and fixed gear bikes. This downtown shop is a blend of a traditional cycling shop and art gallery. Bikes and original 35mm photos are displayed with an organized, modern slant. Palmer’s detail for design carries forward with custom build options of all price ranges, as well as complete bikes from a diverse supply line. Same day service and proximity to light rail are a draw.
712 West Indian School Rd., Phoenix, AZ 85013
Manager: Tim Furguson
Opened: 1912, 1955 at current location
Hours: Mon-Sat 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. Sun 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Since 1912 Landis has grown up with the valley. From its original Central Phoenix location, they have expanded to four shops. The 7th Ave location has adapted to the trends over the years and now specializes in bikes for the whole family, including cruisers, commuters, kids bikes, and great accessories. Don’t worry, you’re still able to drool over the selection of Lance-worthy road and mountain bikes. Landis also features a unique “Women’s Only” section featuring specific bikes, clothing and accessories for the ladies.
4412 North Central Ave., Phoenix, AZ 85013
Owner: Eric Angermeier
Opened: 1999, current location 2010
Hours: Mon-Fri 10 a.m. – 7 p.m. Sat 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Sun 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Slippery Pig Bike Shop has a prime location next to Lux Central, Pane Bianco, and a short walk to a light rail stop. You’ve got fuel and transportation and none of it involves a car. A wide variety of bikes and accessories are found at Slippery Pig with an extensive mountain and road selection. Eric has been an advocate of 29er mountain bikes since their inception and is a great resource.
5833 North 7th St., Phoenix, AZ 85014
Manager: Joe DeLong
Hours: Mon-Fri 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. Sat 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Joe keeps an inventory of mountain and road bikes, but the impressive selection of cruiser bikes and accessories make this showroom a destination. If you are looking for something unique like a stretch low-rider, or a cruiser with a built-in cup holder, Sun Cyclery is the place. They also have a great selection of recumbent bikes and trikes, for a more relaxed or stable cycling experience.
2167 E. Cedar St #4, Tempe, AZ 85281
State Bicycle Co. is a Tempe based manufacturer of high quality, stylish, and affordable bicycles. Started in 2009 by three ASU graduates, State Bicycle Co. has quickly grown to offer a single speed/fixed speed bike as well as a fixed gear freestyle bike, which are both gaining a strong urban following. State Bicycle Co. likes to keep things fresh by running production of their colorways for only 3-6 months before they are retired and new models are introduced. You don’t have to travel to Tempe, PHX Bike and Slippery Pig Bikes carry a selection of these hot urban bikes.
Photography by Jack London
Did you hear that Travel + Leisure ranked Phoenix/Scottsdale number nine in the nation for worst dressed? Well, that is certainly a disappointing (and questionable), but let’s see if we can switch up our style by taking advantage of these fabulous sales and events going on in June.
District: Evans Churchill
(6th Street south of Roosevelt Street)
• Men’s and women’s bathing suits are 20% off the entire month
(1st Street South of McDowell Road)
• Rachel Malloy [owner] is celebrating her 30th birthday by offering a special online coupon
(West side of CityScape)
• Mention Downtown Phoenix Journal and receive 10% off your purchase
• Storewide T-shirts are 20% off
• Shirts from the Culture Fresh brand are 30% off
• New women’s collection will be available in the 2nd week in June
District: Historic Roosevelt
(Central Avenue south of Roosevelt Street)
• Every Saturday in June is buy 1 get 1 50% off any dress when you mention the Downtown Phoenix Journal
• New Summer Hours:
(Central Avenue south of Roosevelt Street)
• 15% off for ASU students with a valid i.d.
• All long sleeved items are 25% off
(Located inside Vintage by Misty)
• 15% off for ASU students with a valid i.d.
• All neckwear items are 10% off
• 30% off of jackets and vests
District: Melrose/7th Avenue
(7th Avenue north of Indian School)
• Everything in store is 20-50% off through June 30
(7th Avenue south of Indian School)
• Nightwear items are 50% off all month
(7th Avenue south of Camelback)
• 25% off denim, handbags and bath & body products the entire month
• Pink Tent Event on June 21 and 22 — 25-75% off everything at the event
District: North Central
(Bethany Home Road west of 16th Street)
• Mention Downtown Phoenix Journal and receive 15% off your purchase, excludes homemade items