When he came up with the idea for Lawless Denim & Co. about three years ago, CEO Roman Acevedo found it a daunting task to find people skilled in sewing and leather making. But with the store’s addition of the first draper loom west of the Mississippi, he can maintain the unique quality and authentic vintage essence of the jeans, while partnering with the Arizona Opportunities Industrialization Center to train people in the industry.
The 3,500-pound machine is a piece of history, originating from Pennsylvania during World War II. Bringing this sought-after, 80-year-old loom into the store on February 4th was not a small feat (it required a forklift), but there are a number of benefits it will bring for the business, its customers and the Phoenix economy.
“The loom that revolutionized the denim industry” will manufacture chambray, denim, canvas and more to speed up the production of jeans. Currently, Lawless sources its denim, which is made from pima cotton from Japan and North Carolina.
“My thought was, we’re an Arizona-based company creating our own jeans here, why not take it a step further and use the pima cotton that we grow in our own backyard and make our own denim?” said Acevedo.
In the next 30 to 45 days, he expects the loom to start producing denim, after having undergone extensive maintenance. Once it’s up and running, he will search for eight to 10 more vintage looms to place in the store, which only opened in October 2013.
“The only thing slowing us down is availability, said Acevedo. “They’re very hard to find.” This particular loom was the result of intense Internet research and making new contacts, which he hopes will prove valuable in his quest for more looms.
“It’s about creating that Arizona product with the very unique experience that every element done here is bespoke.”
“We could very easily charge four or five hundred dollars for a custom pair of jeans, but that’s not helping the economy. What helps the economy is people spending money, which in turn drives production, which in return creates jobs.”
In addition to the custom jeans ranging from $115 to $195, the store offers off-the-shelf jeans for $87, along with belts, denim shirts and a collection of leather products.
The store will offer customized dress shirts ranging from $85 to $145 with the option to choose the collar, cuff, fabric and monogram in the coming month.
The store’s next step in customization is nailing their own buttons made of Arizona copper and silver.
One of the most vital partnerships for Lawless has been with the Arizona OIC- a non-profit job-training program. Acevedo said he does not have the means to train people how to sew, while the OIC trains people in three-to-five month programs, teaching them the skills to work right away.
For Acevedo, creating jobs is his primary goal, and he said denim’s ageless quality couldn’t be a more fitting tool to achieve just that.
By maintaining valuable relationships with the city and the people within it, Lawless has seamlessly contributed to the growth, well-being, safety and style of people near and far with new additions and innovative ideas.
PinkCheeky strives to create locally made clothing so that there’s no need to sweat about the quality and manufacturing of the brand’s products. Some of the pieces the designer makes include yoga shorts, boyshorts and men’s boxer briefs.
Along with the trunk show, you can shop the boutique’s winter clearance and peruse through the new spring arrivals while listening to the tunes of DJ MR PHX.
Not only will you get to enjoy scoping out the cheeky fashions, but you might be lucky and score some goodies to take home with the giveaways and raffles.
Join in on the fun on Saturday, February 15 from 10 a.m.-12 p.m.
For more information, you can reach them at 602-252-1323 or visit them before the event at 1437 N. 1st St. Phoenix, AZ 85004.
Since 1974, Changing Hands Bookstore has been a Tempe institution, offering not only books, but author events, writing workshops and a commitment to engaging with the community. In spring 2014, Phoenix will be lucky enough to have its very own, brand new Changing Hands location.
How is it that in a time when bookstores are more likely to close their doors than open new ones, an indie store is actually expanding? Simply put: the community asked for it.
According to Cindy Dach, co-owner and general manager of Changing Hands and an advocate for the development of downtown Phoenix and the Roosevelt Row Arts District, customers had been asking for a more central location for years.
And for years, Changing Hands searched for that perfect location. “It’s a tough business, it’s not a highly profitable business, so we needed all the pieces to come together to where we felt we could serve the community in the way they wanted to be served,” says Dach.
The store was dedicated to making it happen, but that determination extended far beyond their own efforts, particularly when it came down to the hard details of funding the new project. The customers, who had clamored for a new location, had also asked how they could help make it happen. This neighborhood favorite needed more than just the encouragement of their patrons, but their financial help as well.
“Loans have high interest rates. Loans have a lot of ties. And we did take out loans for the store, but we also wanted an opportunity for customers to feel like they helped build this bookstore,” say Dach.
When Changing Hands launched an Indiegogo campaign to cover some of the costs, over 1100 people contributed, raising more than $91,000 in a single month. In return, they got to choose from a variety of literary-themed t-shirts, note cards and experiences designed especially for the campaign. But most importantly, they and the rest of the valley will get the added value of the new bookstore they wanted for their community.
Dach and her staff have been awed and overwhelmed by the support. “Forget the dollar amount, that number is really just – 1100 people helped build this bookstore.”
The new Changing Hands will be housed in The Newton, an adaptive reuse project in the former location of Beefeaters restaurant at 3rd Avenue and Camelback in the Uptown district. The Newton will also house a restaurant called Southern Rail (by the owners of Beckett’s Table) and a co-working space.
The new location will take the strength of its Tempe store and tailor it to the culture of central Phoenix. “It’s going to be the urban version of (the Tempe) store,” says Dach. It will inhabit a smaller space and have an inventory that reflects the needs of its patrons.
“The community will tell us what it wants there. The market will decide, so with time, it’s gonna be our recommendations and what that community wants from that store.”
Aesthetically, the Phoenix store will have a different feel from its sister location, with the bones of the original building informing the new space. The design concept is being led by Phoenix architect, Christoph Kaiser, whose work can been found in other downtown spots like Postino Central, Kitchen Sink Studios and homes in the Garfield District.
Another addition in the Phoenix location will be a beer, wine and coffee bar called First Draft Book Bar.
Ultimately, the new Changing Hands will provide a place for the Phoenix community to gather, but in a way that is uniquely its own. Says Dach, ultimately, “the community will shape how that bookstore will look and feel.”
Photos by Andrew Pielage. Courtesy of Changing Hands.
Gather a collection of oranges, tangerines, and lemons to bring to GROWop Boutique’s first “The BIG Squeeze” sale, where customers who bring a bag of citrus fruit will benefit the local food bank and also receive 5% off in addition to the already-marked down items.
The clearance event featuring inventory marked down as low as 75% kicks off on Saturday, February 1 and will take place from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. at the 6th Street location.
Owner Kenny Barrett says the lawn sale will have a flea market vibe, where a variety of vintage clothes, housewares, handmade jewelry and other unique finds will be for sale.
If the winter sale results in a good “cleansing” that day, the event will continue on Sunday, said Barrett.
Shop and sip on fresh-squeezed O.J. or a mimosa while helping the store clear out the fall and winter inventory in order to squeeze in room for spring arrivals.
To prepare for a day of sweet deals, make sure to RSVP for the event on GROWop’s Facebook page and follow them on Instagram @growopboutique.
For more information about the store, visit their website or call them at 602-714-5256.
Thanks to the efforts of Jill Johnson (Program Manager) and Doctor Diane Facinelli, students who participate in the course are steeped like tea bags in everything “downtown Phoenix” through a combination of tours and presentations by local historians, business people, city officials, arts community representatives, local community development wizards and urban sustainability advocates.
The goal is to break down any myths and misapprehensions young people who are new to downtown may have about their surroundings, and to give them access to the people on the ground who are transforming our urban core.
The course is divided into six areas, including Downtown Phoenix History; Entrepreneurship & Local Business; Governance, Politics and Activism; Places, Spaces and Adaptive Re-Use; Promoting Arts & Culture; and Sustainable and Vital Living.
Local experts in each area are brought in to meet with students and share their insights about how and why they do what they do and to show the impact they’re having. Students are not only encouraged to get involved, they are introduced to the very people and organizations that can get them started bringing their own passions and skills to bear on making the urban core vibrant.
“Incoming freshmen are sometimes disappointed to find themselves in downtown Phoenix versus the ASU campus in Tempe,” says Jill Johnson, the “connector” who makes the class viable and relevant. “We use ‘Community Encounters’ to dispel their fears, to show them what is happening right outside their student bubble, and to educate them about the wealth of opportunities they have available to them in downtown.”
The value of growing this connection between young ASU students and the downtown community is in reaching a potential new generation of residents who will want to live, work and play in downtown and create sustained vibrancy on our streets.
Jim McPherson, co-author with J. Seth Anderson and Suad Mahmuljin of Downtown Phoenix History, opens the course by sharing the historic context of the city’s evolution. “Students read our book before class,” said McPherson, “and then we take them on a combination bus and walking tour that enables them to see some of the areas featured in the book. We show them how historic places are contributing to the contemporary landscape of the city.”
“The purpose of the class is to provide students with variety of entry points for them to become active, engaged urban citizens,” said Johnson. “The students benefit from being exposed to the rich variety of experiences available to them in downtown, and the community benefits from the talent and energy the students can bring to making the best downtown possible. It’s as they say, a ‘win-win’ situation.”
Find out what this years’ students learned and how the class has impacted their perceptions of downtown at ENCOUNTER THIS! Community Encounters Showcase. At this free public event, groups of students who have worked together will show the community what they’ve learned and share how it has changed their perspective.
If You Go
When: Thursday, December 5, 7:00 pm
Where: A.E. England Building, Civic Space Park
Cost: FREE to public, but reservations are appreciated. Reserve your space now.
Contact: Jill.Johnson@asu.edu; 602-496-0557.