When we head off to work to our little boutique at 9:30 am everyday, we try to plant our feet in a neutral clothing space of slower fashion at reasonable prices and fair trade in the boutique brick and mortar space. It's hard to find calm and sensibility in the midst of the ever changing chaos of the retail clothing world, especially as a consumer.
Why shop boutiques and not the mall?
There's nothing like stepping into a cool, beautiful boutique with all your favorite looks, listening to fun music and taking in the artistic effort each owner has made with their decor and curated fashions.You're almost certain to be offered a drink, a chair, and advice on the best eateries around town.
Is this actually what consumers want?
The short answer - yes. We've noticed something that can't be ignored. After 30 years of listening to real people in real shopping spaces, we take note when a common thread is being shared. The word on the street is: people are tired of fast fashion taking up space just for capitalism and consumerism. Yes, we know, lots of people need clothes to go to work in, that are not expensive. But that's not what's selling in fast fashion. It's ripping through at breakneck speed because it's FUN. It's hot girl summer and sexy, skimpy, tight and inexpensive. We get it - and we are not opposed to all of the above. But it's not work wear - as the retail giants will try to tell you. It's just fun - and we are all about fun and sexy and inexpensive. But not at a very steep cost to our planet. The best spaces for inexpensive quality work wear are still resale and non-profits like Working Wardrobes.
For fun, inexpensive, quality clothing made in small batches, sustainably, ethically and locally made, people are turning to small boutiques. Well known in the past for being expensive store fronts for budding designers, most boutiques are not that at all anymore. While greenwashing can be a thing, most boutique owners we know are doing their best to move away from the "talk" and walking the walk, meeting somewhere between completely sustainable to mostly sustainable to provide options and affordability to customers.
Then let's go Boutique Shopping! More and more women owned, family owned small stores are making their way back in to tiny store fronts such as Mimi & Rae in Laguna Beach, California. Providing quality clothing that provides an entire outfit for less that $100 they fill the need for small batch, no waste, local fashion. While it's almost impossible to stay in business by being 100% green - the efforts are being made and people are taking notice. It might just be the next big thing in retail.