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CO-OPhx Hosts Spring Clothing Swap to Renew Wardrobes and Spirit in Phoenix Community
Five Swaps, 500 Swappers and 2000 pounds of donated items
Spring is the perfect time for renewal and CO-OPhx is hosting their fifth clothing swap and clothing drive to renew guests’ wardrobes and spirit in the community.
For over a year now, Kelsey Wong and Karla Rasmusson, co-founders of CO-OPhx, one of the largest networking organizations in the Valley, have been spreading the love for secondhand style and giving back to their community by hosting clothing swap and clothing drive events in Phoenix. The events that benefit local charities like Big Brothers Big Sisters, Fresh Start Women’s Foundation, Sojourner Center and Clothing Cycle.
With four swaps under their belt, 500 swappers and over 2000 lbs of items donated, Wong and Rasmusson have planned one of the largest “Spring Swaps”. On Sunday, April 21, from 11am to 4 p.m., the front yards of GROWOp, Annie Boomer Vintage and Cellar Door Vintage will be filled with the once-loved clothes of participants for others to swap and take home. Not only will gently used clothes be swapped, but also heartwarming stories of the clothes’ journeys between the attendees.
“It’s really rewarding to see Phoenix coming together. Locals are really craving new ways to connect and be a part of something. Our events are different than your typical guest and entertainer, they are interactive. Every attendee gets to engage,” stated Kelsey Wong, Executive Director, CO-OPhx.
This time around it’s not just the clothing exchange swappers are excited about. “We’ve learned a lot from our past events, we’ve streamlined and cut out the excess. The swap itself is the main event, but now there are separate men and women’s swaps. At past swaps, the women outweighed the men. We’re trying to balance the scales, plus it’s not really fair to the guys,” said Karla Rasmusson, Co-founder, CO-OPhx.
CO-OPhx isn’t stopping at the swap, there are four style tutorials from local boutique owners including Amir from Amir La Voute, Ashley Eaton from Merry May Shoppe, Joshua Hahn from GROWop and Adrian Leisong of Superstition Vintage. Swappers will learn a little bit of everything from how to tie a bowtie to how to shop vintage. If that wasn’t enough, swappers will also get to test out their craftiness with do-it-yourself upcycling booths and of course vintage shopping at the three host stores.
“We love what the clothing swap team is doing to bring fresh faces to the area and show locals that not only is downtown Phoenix community a cool place to be, but that there is a budding vintage district and treasures to be found,” states Joshua Hahn, Owner, GROWop boutique.
After the day of community and fashion, whatever items are not swapped will be donated to ClothingCycle, a non-profit that recycles or reuses 100 percent of items regardless of condition.
“Clothing Cycle is excited to participate in the Spring Clothing Swap because all items donated will be reused or recycled. Every organization we partner with gets paid for every pound collected and 100% of the items will be kept out of landfills,” says Laurie Quartermain, Operations Director, Clothing Cycle.
“Phoenix is all about rebirth and revitalization. We are doing that for clothes and for people’s spirits. That feeling of renewed confidence is priceless,” stated Wong.
Tickets are $10 online, $15 at the door. To register for tickets, swappers can visit swapphx.splashthat.com.
Founded by Kelsey Wong and Karla Rasmusson in February 2012, CO-OPhx is an organization of inspired individuals with a mission is to foster meaningful connections and build community in Phoenix through fashion, art and food events.
Do Phoenix art lovers have limits? The visual arts certainly garner our attention, and the culinary arts might be the most widely popular, but the subset of those who approach their dinner as an art form is still relatively small.
Fashion is often overlooked here, but for some it is the most stimulating art form. Designers – artists – create the most otherworldly items at times, and for that we give thanks and prepare to shop.
DPJ readers know Downtown’s Vintage By Misty is a must for any art lover/buyer. This shop on Central Ave. is filled with the out-of-the-ordinary, and, really, who needs another ordinary? From there it’s just a hop/skip/jump to this weekend’s main event at Union Biltmore. (Do we dare venture out of downtown?? When properly motivated, yes.)
Union’s For The People is debuting a Christian Lacroix runway fashion and haute couture jewelry trunk show curated by David Sheflin with Phoenix-based Vintage Fashion Inc.
The launch event is today, from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Weekend shoppers can stop in and browse Saturday or Sunday from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. Take a peek at a few choice pieces below or contact For The People for more information at 602-954-4009.
Or just stop by Vintage By Misty and check out their fantastic inventory.
Either way, we dub this Friday “Fashion Appreciation Day.”
If you go
*Handy parking directions from Vintage By Misty’s Facebook page:
1. Head south (on Central which turns into 1st Avenue)
2. Continue onto S 1st Ave 0.2 mi
3. Turn left onto E McKinley St 390 ft
4. Make your 1st left into our back alley off McKinley (you will see Athenian Express signs…Follow)
Destination will be on the Right Side (east side) we have a huge parking lot that you can park in behind the shop. Look for Vintage by Misty Signs and Back Door 818 N Central Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85004.
Misty Navon Guerriero brings a wide range of designer and non-designer pieces to her downtown Phoenix vintage store at 818 N. Central Avenue, Vintage by Misty.
“The type of store I have, I don’t really feel like there is one out there,” Guerriero said. “So I felt like I had a great business concept and everybody would respond to it well, and they have.”
Since 2010, Guerriero has been the owner and curator of the vintage retail store, Vintage by Misty. She has built up a successful business on Central Avenue in downtown Phoenix, and online. She sells hand-picked clothing and accessories from the 60s to late 80s, with prices ranging from $40 to $400.
She wanted to cater to the local neighborhood surrounding her including Arizona State University’s downtown Phoenix campus, which is another reason Guerriero likes to keep a wide range of prices in her store.
“I never like to put a demographic on a business because I feel like if you do it right you can have something for anyone that walks in your door,” Guerriero said.
When Vintage by Misty opened in 2010, the economy was recovering from the recession and downtown Phoenix was on its way to new development. Although she had originally been working in Scottsdale, Guerriero chose to locate in downtown Phoenix to bring a small business with a new unique concept to the area.
“A lot of people and restaurants are coming to downtown because you can get amazing buildings and spaces at a great price,” Guerriero said.
Since Phoenix is a seasonal state, in the off summer months Guerriero has kept a profit by pushing her retail online. She joined Etsy, an online store for handmade and vintage items, and has been successful selling to people all over the world. Her in-store retail is still more profitable because people want to see and try on vintage, Guerriero said.
As an entrepreneur, she handles all aspects of the business. From being the face of Vintage by Misty, to doing the accounting, networking and marketing she has taken on multiple jobs within her store to form a brand.
“With a vintage store too you are really the only person that is marketing you,” Guerriero said. “You can’t compare a vintage store to Nordstrom; I mean it’s two completely different businesses. You have all those lines that Nordstrom carries promoting themselves and then you have Nordstrom on top of that promoting it.”
But the atmosphere in Vintage by Misty cannot be compared to any department store. The store is decorated with fun colors and décor of different cultures and eras. Racks of beautiful designers like Chanel, Gucci and Dior hang throughout the store. The moment you step into Vintage by Misty you leave downtown Phoenix and walk into a new bohemian, chic world.
“It’s the little things that make a huge difference, because everybody needs a break,” Guerriero said. “This world is so crazy. We’re all stressed out and I think this is what makes Vintage by Misty so fun. You come into this whole different world and you just play and you feel pretty.”
As far as expanding Vintage by Misty, Guerriero doesn’t have any plans as of now. She does private trunk shows known as “pop-ups” and will continue to brand herself online and in the Phoenix area.
“There’s no limit if you know how to market yourself,” Guerriero said.
Arizona naturally has a western edge to its culture, but in the urban setting of Downtown Phoenix this can oftentimes be lost. Sarah Stokes of Ranch Road Boots is determined to change that one pair of boots at a time.
Ranch Road Boots is a rapidly growing company with a down-home feel, staffed full time by Stokes and her dog Skillet. Their boots are made in Texas – ensuring that each pair has a little of that Texan heart and soul stitched right into them – but their operations are based out of Levine Machine in downtown’s warehouse district.
“Downtown Phoenix is small but mighty,” Stokes proclaims. “It’s the coolest downtown and maybe one of the United States’ best kept secrets.”
Her customers live across the United States, and Stokes came up with an innovative way to bring them the luxury of a custom fit and style in the comfort of their own home.
Stokes created a “fit kit” that she sends to customers where they are able to watch a video and read a guide on how to measure their feet to ensure a perfect fit. The kit also includes swatches of leather for the customer to choose from, ensuring the boot is exactly what the customer wants.
“These boots are beautiful, wearable and as at home in New York City as West Texas,” Stokes said.
Each pair of Ranch Road Boots takes roughly 12 weeks to be completed from the start to finish, and comes with a sterling silver nail on the inside of the left heel. Stokes said that it is a reminder that you are wearing a serialized pair of boots handmade just for you.
“Ranch Road Boots proves classics don’t have to be boring or purely utilitarian,” Stokes said. “Our leathers, craftsmanship and customer service is second to none.”
And as boot buyers know, if you want serious boots you’re going to pay a fairly serious price. But hey, that’s the cowboy way.
For those who are lucky enough to live in the Valley, you can visit the mobile Boot Saloon at special locations that change frequently. To find the next stop for the Boot Saloon, follow @ranchroadboots on Twitter for updates.
After opening in December 2011, Nostra Style House has brought a new edge to the shopping options on 6th St. in Roosevelt Row. The modern shop is unlike any others on the street, as they do not carry vintage goods, though a few designer pieces are vintage-inspired.
They are hosting a fashion show, Rare Bird, this week at the Monarch Theatre. It will be based on colors and vibrant prints and will be composed of clothing from the store as well as funky accessories made from craft store finds, like feathers. The avant-garde looks will be reminiscent of exotic birds from the wild, but with refined style of course.
“It’s all very fashion-forward. Not too upscale because it is still chic and it has a fresh, urban style,” Liliana Gomez said. Gomez is a sales associate at the Nostra Style House who can be found there most days creating unique outfits for customers.
Although this is not the first show that the boutique is hosting, they are thrilled to be working on it and can’t wait to show everyone the unique items they carry.
“It’s time to get the people over here [6th St.] to know that this isn’t just another vintage shop,” Gomez said. She hopes that the show will not only bring more customers into Nostra Style House, but also into the other stores on their street and in the area.
The night will be filled with music, dancing and of course, fashion. Dancers from the Dulce Dance Company will be performing pre-show to get the party started and then a total of 12 models will walk the runway wearing 20 looks.
Make sure to show up in your best attire as fashion designer Tiffe Fermaint will be photographing her favorite looks from the evening. Those photos will then be uploaded onto the Nostra Style House Facebook page and the photo with the most likes will win a free dress. Winner will be announced on Friday, August 10.
Each look seen throughout the show will not be available for purchase the night of, but will all be available in the boutique.
IF YOU GO
Where: The show is at the Monarch Theatre at 122 E Washington St. Nostra Style House is located on 6th and Roosevelt Streets.
When: The show is on August 3 (First Friday) at 10 p.m.
Cost: Free for ladies all night