Last weekend I missed ALL of the Nashville fashion festivities and have been kicking myself ever since. I had planned a trip back to my pre-Nashville city to spend some quality time with my older brother and dear friends. And although my time in College Town, USA was well-spent and ever-so-fun, I must admit that I am absolutely bummed I missed the Emmaline holiday party, East Nashville Boutique Crawl, Rumor Has It fashion show, Shop and Wine Open House, and Nashville Lifestyles’ Ladies Night Out. Why were there so many good events the weekend I was gone?!? But missing out on all of these events, actually made me grateful for something- that we have all of these fashion options to choose from! I’m not just talking about the Friday and Saturday night events and shows, but the idea that there are a multitude of local retail destinations to choose from in this city. Sometimes you don’t realize how fortunate you are until you look back at where you came from.
I spent the previous seven years in Lexington, Kentucky, earning my Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Fashion Merchandising from the University of Kentucky. And just as much as I love shopping now, I loved it just as much in Lexington. As I’m sure you can imagine, Lexington just isn't the city that Nashville is. There is more to do in Nashville- culture, shopping, restaurants, entertainment, etc.. And what I’ve found to be decidedly different about these two cities- the culture around and support for locally-produced goods and local retailers.
I attempted to hit up my favorite local boutiques in Lexington and was shocked at my discovery. The upscale Helen’s Boutique, featuring darling dresses and one-of-a-kind pieces, had long been abandoned. Brown paper covered the windows; who knows how long the building had sat untouched. My college favorite, General Eccentric, where I could purchase unique clothing at an affordable price, had been transformed into a UK merchandise store. Blue sweatshirts and cartoon wildcats filled the windows that were once so charming. And the eco-friendly clothing store? That’s now a hair salon.
It can only be expected that things change, new retailers pop up, and old ones shut their doors. But it was astounding to see how many local boutiques had gone out of business in a town where all of them catered to the college demographic. Looking at the abandoned shops and new store owners got me thinking about the magnitude of support given to local Nashville retailers.
Through social media and blog avenues, local Nashville retailers easily spread their message and update clients on sales, events, and new merchandise being brought into the stores. Local blogs like mine, Stella Shops, and Fab Glance Nashville frequently highlight Nashville fashion happenings, and provide another voice for these retailers and designers. Sites like Nashville Fashion Events keeps you updated on local fashion events, and even provides videos and articles for your viewing and reading pleasure. And the upcoming Nashville Fashion Week has a multitude of events planned to highlight local designers and retailers, and discuss the importance of supporting these individuals in their endeavors.
There are Nashville boutique staples, like Stacey Rhodes Boutique, Posh Boutique, and Local Honey; designers like Billy Reid, Jamie and the Jones, and Valentine Valentine that have garnered a major following in the recent years. It is just so lovely to see these boutiques and designers flourish in a city that appreciates the idea of shopping local and supporting the unique individuals that make Nashville a rising fashion destination. And with the emergence of new boutiques like Made or designers like Tidwell and Perryman and the press they have received, it is nice to know that Nashville customers appreciate local-made items and support the cause.
Tidwell and Perryman
So, this holiday season, this is what I am grateful for- a city where local retailers and designers can take a chance on a new venture, and be supported for years to come!
Coquette Designs - http://coquettedesigns.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/10/IMG_5436.jpg
Spinthread Necklaces - http://thespottedfox.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/spinthread.jpg
Valentine Valentine - http://www.facebook.com/pages/VALENTINE-VALENTINE/60225461224#!/photo.php?fbid=482717946224&set=a.443579726224.230137.60225461224&pid=5952266&id=60225461224
Made - http://www.facebook.com/pages/VALENTINE-VALENTINE/60225461224#!/photo.php?pid=26339&id=100001761033458