Vintage Trend Unearthed in Dallas

December 1, 2010 by · 4 Comments 

By Grace Roberts
groberts@smu.edu

What could possibly be better than acquiring a brand new Chanel Classic Flap Bag right off the shelf? For many of today’s most avid fashion connoisseurs, the answer is easy: a 1960s Coco Chanel Quilted Flap Bag, of course.

Vintage Chanel bags at What Goes Around Comes Around Trunk Show in Dallas (PHOTO BY GRACE ROBERTS / SMU DAILY MUSTANG)

These days, anyone with the luck of a hefty pocketbook can purchase a Chanel bag, tweed jacket or flats. But only the really lucky obtain one-of-a-kind, decades-old pieces from fashion design icons like Mademoiselle Chanel. And perhaps one in a zillion fashion-obsessed girls are blessed enough to be passed down such a treasure from a mother or grandmother.

Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen, Nicole Richie, Kate Moss and Rachel Zoe are some of today’s most popular style icons because of their alluring taste in fashion—and their love of vintage. These celebrities grace the pages of Teen Vogue, Elle and Tatler magazine monthly, as fashion enthusiasts research their latest apparel choices in hopes of imitating their effortless looks.

Over the last decade, the vintage trend has taken off, especially in cities like Los Angeles, New York and London where retro clothing boutiques occupy almost every street corner. From jewelry to dresses to fur coats, the market for vintage products is booming. However, the typical style in modern cities like Dallas often resembles new and fast-forward trends. So, for the fashion fiends native to Dallas, what hidden boutiques house the best vintage finds?

Kerry Bonnell, who has been a vintage-addict since she was a child, founded Archive Vintage in Uptown Dallas in 2007. “I started to go to the Good Will in my town when I was 14,” said Bonnell. “All we had was a mall and everything was the same.”

Photo courtesy of Archive Vintage, Dallas

Stocked with pieces by Dior, Chanel, Gucci, Halston and Yves Saint Laurent, Archive is the ultimate source for high-end designer items in the area. Several designers and stylists such as Calvin Klein, Marc Jacobs and Rachel Zoe have also been clients of the store.

Although Archive’s clientele is obviously not lacking, Bonnell agrees that the vintage trend has developed slower in Dallas.

“I am from New York, so I can see the difference,” said Bonnell. “Dallas may gravitate toward the new.”

However, the storeowner has a positive outlook for the future, saying that she can see the styles “already changing…[as] vintage has become more acceptable.”

Although designer merchandise will always be highly coveted in the fashion industry, current trends put less focus on the brand of a garment and more focus on its aesthetics.

According to Brittany Edwards, the Dallas editor of DailyCandy, “People are looking for more affordable options with the current state of the economy…[And], Dallas girls are also very into fashion, and vintage shopping gives them a unique edge and offerings the next girl won’t have.”

In a 2009 survey by the National Association of Resale and Thrift Shops, second-hand retail shops experienced an average of 35 percent increase in sales compared to the previous year, according to an article by CNN Money.

Edwards, who caught on to the money-saving trend, is the owner of The Dallas Flea, a market located downtown that sells fashion, artwork and vintage finds from local companies.

“I get a thrill finding something from the past and giving it a new life,” said Edwards. “To me, true style is wearing the perfect mix of eras, styles [and] price points.”

Two other vintage boutiques in Dallas stand out among the rest with both lower price points and fabulous retro finds. Filled with furniture, knick-knacks, clothing and accessories from all decades, Dolly Python was named the “Best Vintage Clothing Store” in D Magazine’s 2010 Best of Everything issue.

Funky clothing is just one aspect of Dolly Python vintage store in Dallas. (PHOTO BY GRACE ROBERTS / SMU DAILY MUSTANG)

Proprietress Gretchen Bell opened the antique mall and clothing store five years ago with an immense passion for “old” things. “No two things in [the store] are alike, and everything has a history to it. That’s what I love,” said Bell. “I’m an old soul and I just gravitate toward older things.”

Dolly Python houses everything from racks of 1970s costume jewelry to rows of biker boots—which are quite a steal compared to Miu Miu’s kicks that currently retail for over $1,000.

Great vintage finds for the consumer on a budget can also be found at Zola’s Everyday Vintage located in the Bishop Arts District in Oak Cliff. Owners Annette Norman and Diedra Sutton have a passion for cocktail wear aging from the 1940s to the late 1970s.

As a smaller boutique, Zola’s has a more specific selection—almost all of the products are made in America.

Unique and classic pieces pack the racks at Zola's Everyday Vintage (PHOTO BY GRACE ROBERTS / SMU DAILY MUSTANG)

“We had a thriving garment industry, which we don’t have anymore…The quality has changed,” explained Norman.Tweed jackets, fur coats, delicate lingerie and wedding gowns classify this boutique that looks straight out of AMC’s show “Mad Men.”

Whether you’re looking to score a 1970s Pucci dress or a trendy outfit no one else will have, Dallas’ variety of vintage boutiques offers plenty of options. As many stylists and boutique owners would agree, great style does not have a price tag—even for celebrities like Rachel Zoe.

“As soon as I was old enough to shop I fell in love with vintage. When I was younger…I used to ask myself how I could get this glamour for… not thousands of dollars. Ultimately, that answer kept coming back up as vintage,” said Zoe in an interview with NBC’s “The Today Show.” “For me, it became the way that I could get that unique piece that no one else could have.”

Antique Annie of Dallas: Lula B’s Mary Ann Kaylor

March 21, 2010 by · Comments Off 

by Elizabeth Lowe
elowe@smu.edu

At the age of 21, Mary Ann Kaylor bought a one-way ticket to Afghanistan.  Her sister was serving in the Peace Corps there, and on a whim, Kaylor decided it was time to pay her a surprise visit. Without speaking a bit of Farsi, Kaylor left her home in Greensburg, PA to board the trans-continental flight. Upon arriving in the Middle East, Kaylor relied on a few friendly British passengers to help her navigate the airport and track down her sister. In 1977, it was an unforgettable adventure of youth.

“It’s still very surreal…I’m not sure I would be that fearless today,” says Kaylor with a reminiscent grin.

It was with that same leap of faith, and arguably fearlessness, that Kaylor took over a Dallas antique shop she had grown to love. Together with business partner and longtime friend Patrick Springer, Kaylor transformed Lula B’s Antique Mall on Greenville Ave. in Dalla into the kitschy-chic destination it is today.

The business team had their work cut out for them when the previous proprietor, Marshall Bowdin, passed away only a few months into the changeover. Five years later, Lula B’s has two stores in Dallas where those in-the-know continue to shop for unique knick-knacks, one-of-a-kind furniture and groovy clothes. For Kaylor, Lula B’s created her niche in Dallas’ big city scene, a home in a tight-knit neighborhood.

Before taking over the store, Kaylor was a longtime dealer at the antique store, and still is today.

“Do I still sell? Please! Once it gets in your blood…” says Kaylor.

It all began with pottery and glass. As a girl growing up minutes outside of Pittsburgh, Kaylor went antique shopping with her grandmother. She always loved antique stores and collected her own treasures when she set off on her first independent living venture.

Although she scavenged local thrift stores and garage sales for unique furniture, it was the little extras that caught her eye. Dramatic glass vases, intricately designed bowls and lots of lights: luminous balls, hanging lights, and groovy lamps filled her apartment. Her collections grew. Like many who become dealers at antique malls, her booth days began when she decided to weed out pieces of her vast collection of decorative accessories. It was an avenue to unload and a license to shop.

In many ways, it was a series of coincidences that led Kaylor into her business role today.

“Our ownership of Lula B’s just happened. It was really one occurrence after the other,” remembers her business partner and friend, Springer.

In the late 1970s, after finishing an undergraduate degree in History at Seton Hill University, Kaylor followed her sister’s tracks to the Peace Corps. This time, she was on a plane to Costa Rica. Three years in the warm, tropical climate of Latin America was a welcome change from the harsh cold in Greensburg.

“I just wanted to experience different cultures,” says Kaylor.

Other than the Spanish came in handy when she later worked for an immigration attorney (she would eventually spend 15 years as a paralegal for major Dallas law firms), Kaylor did not speak in much detail about her Peace Corps experience. When her service term came to an end, she traveled toward the U.S. stopping in Mexico for a short period. Eventually, she made her way to Texas where her brother was living in Dallas.

“It was so nice and warm, and February! I think I’ll stay,” she remembers.

When Kaylor approached Springer with the proposition to take over and re-build the antique mall they called home, she came into the business venture with a “go with the flow” mentality. Due to the rising rent rates of the nightlife, bar populated Lower Greenville area, the long-time charter store is now moving to Main St. Kaylor met this challenge with the same “on to the next” mentality.

“It won’t be grunge like it used to be, when it was fun,“ says Kaylor, “but it will make a comeback. All I can say is when one door closes the other one opens.” A quick smile cracks, though it’s all very matter of fact.

A customer walks by the table where Kaylor sits and explains Lula B’s upcoming move.

“What will I do when your influence is no longer felt?” says the man with his backpack strapped tight, walking shoes laced, and headphones hung around his neck.

“That’s Richard,” adds Kaylor to the side. The two begin to discuss his recent seizure, weekly doctors appointments, and oh yes, those wild, giant wooden tribal masks new on display on the far left wall.

“She’s the people person,” says Springer. “She takes over the party planning, keeps relationships with customers, and does really well. I’m more numbers and inventory.”

The pair is the perfect business match to keep Lula B’s afloat. They attract more dealers and fill the space with a variety of antiques and collectables. However, the pair decided the newly reformed Lula B’s wouldn’t be your grandmother’s antique shop. Springer and Kaylor work side by side to buy the best mid-century modern pieces around. Their similar tastes have given the store its honed-in demographic and they apply only one rule: if we don’t both like it, we don’t buy it. Their newest location on Riverfront in Downtown houses Lula B’s largest collection of funky, quirky, yet tasteful collection of furniture and home décor.

On many days, Kaylor can be found in the store from open to close, 11 a.m.-7 p.m. At night, she returns home to two dogs, better known as her two mischievous children. To Kaylor, Lula B’s is home and a network of friends.

“See him over there? That’s Gerald, he’s been coming here for years,” says Kaylor as if the loyal customer is a celebrity client. “Oh and you may know Jane,” she says as she nods toward a petite blonde woman in a Habitat for Humanity t-shirt. “She’s an SMU grad; she sells in the large center area.”

Alongside Springer, Kaylor created a neighborhood for herself as well as for her dealers and customers. She keeps her dealers in the store at least twice a month, interacting with customers and constantly re-thinking their booth contents. It is all for the love of treasure hunting. Kaylor makes it very clear that dealers are on a month-to-month lease, with no long-term strings attached.

“Well if you’re here and you want another month, let me take your money!” says Kaylor half-jokingly to a long-time dealer waiting at the counter.

Tatiana Mores, a young Dallasite who just recently downsized her collection upon moving in with her boyfriend, came to Kaylor as a seller just two months ago.

“Mary Ann? Oh she’s interesting. A tough lady, but she’s cool,” says the new tenant.

Back at the counter, Kaylor points out a few of her favorite pieces.

“Brooches, oh I love, love brooches,” says Kaylor.

While working as a paralegal, Kaylor wore a different brooch from her collection everyday. Sometimes coworkers would notice the variation of pieces of flair to her ensembles, others simply complimented her style.

“I’m not sure that many people caught on, but I loved it all the same,” she says.

Her appreciation for the small beauties in life and love for the unique and history-rich have driven Kaylor to where she stands today. As Lula B’s begins a new chapter in its story, Kaylor follows her taste and faith into the next adventure.

Global News Blog: Chinese Helping World Economy

April 2, 2009 by · 1 Comment 

Posted by Medley Buttermore

In the current state of the economy every little bit counts and helps put the nation back on track and further away from recession. The Chinese have been digging deep into their pockets and have spent 73.4 billion Yuan in the past year alone. Looks like the recession has not impacted other parts of the world near as much as the United States has endured, however, we are all in this together because what reaches one nation impacts another.

More than 27 million people in China shopped online last year and have done a significant part to give back to the economy. The present economic state affects people outside of the U.S. and therefore their increases in economy will also have some impact on us as well. According to China Daily, “The survey, conducted in January among 3,000 people in 21 cities, showed Beijing has become the second city after Shanghai where online shopping spending exceeded 10 billion.” The online world has not only helped the economy, but also is the medium with which we communicate with others all over the world.

Most of the Chinese have been purchasing clothing online, which accounts for a quarter of those transactions. Who knew that technology could be part of the answer to the downturn of the economy?

Shoppers Seize Bargains as Retail Sales Slump

October 31, 2008 by · Comments Off 

By Estela Nunez
enunez@smu.edu

“Sale!” That was the sign that elementary school teacher Jennifer Mireles, 23, frequently saw on window displays during a recent shopping trip to the Galleria Mall in Dallas.

“I purchased a pair of shoes at Nordstrom that I would think twice about buying for myself, but the price was great,” Mireles said.

As she walked around J. Crew at Northpark Mall during a recent shopping trip, junior Katherine Helms also noticed the effects of the failing economy on the retail industry.

“I got a coat from J. Crew the other day that was almost half off, and it’s not even cold yet,” Helms, a journalism major, said.

Gucci, Prada, Louis Vuitton, Tory Burch: these are some of the brands you may expect to see as you walk around the SMU campus. But as the economy worsens, will you still see students toting around their $3,000 handbags or book bags and dressing to impress?

‘It’s going to be bad’

Retailers’ summer started off with a bang but ended with a whimper. According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), retail industry sales for August decreased 0.3 percent. This is typically a good time of the year for retailers because of back-to-school spending.

Now, the holiday season is right around the corner–a joyous experience for most. But maybe not this year. The NRF recently released its forecast for the upcoming 2008 holiday season; an estimated, dismal 2.2 percent year-to-year increase is predicted compared to the typical 4 to 5 percent increase. This is considered to be the slowest increase since 2002.

“It’s going to be bad,” SMU Marketing Professor Ed Fox said.

Students Feel Effects

With the economy in such a rut and jobs disappearing, people have less disposable income. As prices such as gas and the cost of living go up, people spend less on luxury goods and more on the things they need.

“I am a student who commutes to school daily, and the high price of gas is what has affected me because I work for my own money,” sophomore Orlando Rojas said. “In fact, I think I only have about 30 bucks in my account right now.”

Students who work are also noticing the impact the economy is having on their jobs and the amount of money they earn. Budget cuts that companies are forced to make during hard economic times have a significant impact on salaries. So spending money on the things students want becomes less and less of an option.

Senior Yuritza Vargas is a tutor at North Dallas High School. The tutoring program typically runs through the week and on Saturdays. Not for long, though. Budget cuts are being made, and there isn’t enough money to continue the program on Saturdays.

“I now have to be careful with my money and how I spend it,” Vargas, a psychology major, said. “The budget cuts have definitely decreased the amount of income I earn.”

This isn’t the only problem the 22-year-old is facing, as she is in the process of buying a new home. With banks closing and being more cautious than ever to whom they loan money, it hasn’t been an easy task for Vargas.

“I feel like I have been hit twice as hard, with the budget cuts and the strenuous process of buying a new home,” she said. “Shopping hasn’t really been an option for me.”

Holidays Hit Hard

So iPods, iPhones, and little turquoise boxes from Tiffany’s as gifts might be out of the question for some during the holidays this year. Many shoppers will be looking for more practical gifts to give to their friends and family.

The use of gift cards is expected to rise due to the slump in the economy. How does this hurt the retail industry? Well, while consumers pay for the gift cards at the time of purchase, the money isn’t redeemed until the person who receives the gift card decides to spend it. At a time when people aren’t too amped about going to the mall, it’s not looking good for the retail industry.

“People shop depending on how wealthy they feel, and no one is feeling very wealthy right now,” Fox said.

This may be good news for bargain hunters, because retail stores will be having major sales.

Typically, when the economy hits a low point, discount and high-end stores aren’t too badly affected. This time around, that doesn’t seem to be the case.

“I went to Neiman Marcus the other day, and they had been doing well until recently,” Fox said.

The Associated Press reported that during the month of September, Neiman Marcus saw a 12.9 percent same-store-sales decrease.

Nordstrom, another popular high-end retailer, has seen brighter days. Year-to-date same-store-sales have decreased 6.4 percent, according to analysts at Istockyanalyst.com.

“It’s been a tough year, especially now, and with the holiday shopping season we are hoping to see a little bit of an increase in sales compared to the previous months,” NorthPark Nordstrom manager Adrienne Hixon said.

While many students have noticed the change the economy has had on the retail industry, some said it hasn’t had a major effect on them.

“The issues with the economy haven’t affected me as far as retail spending,” junior T.J. Faust said, “but, personally, I don’t really care how I dress whenever I go to class.”