Friday, November 16, 2007

And so it goes.

Last night I attended the closing party for one of the coolest boutiques in the DC area – Unsung Designers. Unsung has lived quietly behind two pink doors in a small alley in Adams Morgan for the last two years, it’s savvy founders (Grace Wang and Alishia Frey) bringing emerging designers to DC audiences like no one else. They also ran an on-line boutique highlighting these designers. The boutique stays. The Saturday-only shop goes. You would think that being open only one day a week – and on special occasions – would not disrupt the peace of DC’s fashionistas. How wrong you would be. In a town where every boutique in Georgetown is like absolutely every other boutique in Georgetown to the point where you get a certain sense of disorientation – “wait, wasn’t I just in here?” – Unsung was a harbor for raw talent. Styles that were edgy (edgy in that good way, not the bad 90s way). Clothing that was made with that hungry urge to create while still maintaining a certain sense of sophistication. So why am I mentioning this in a sustainability blog? Because a shop like Unsung is the direction fashion needs to go in. Their clothing was not disposable – it was not mass produced or made in China – the higher price tags reflected the work behind the piece, but also made it a purchase that needed to be adequately considered. Unsung carried clothing for the mature, design-oriented individual, comfortable in their fashion rhetoric, not falling prey to meaningless diversions of the season.

The on-line shop will still be open. But there is nothing like that experience of trying something on, running your fingers over the stitches, rubbing the material over your skin, seeing that perfect drape in the full length mirror and knowing that this will be an investment you are comfortable making. I will definitely miss the place.

On the bright side, I met two great design teams last night: Verrieres & Sako and gr. dano, both from San Francisco. Their designs are exactly what sets Unsung apart from the rest of the boutique crowd. Verrieres & Sako’s designs are a modern take on 1940s silhouettes, amazing craftsmanship, sumptuous fabrics (including eco-friendly bamboo), and cuts that seem to sit right on almost everyone. gr. dano’s styles are more reminiscent of the 1960s - before the hippies monopolized the country’s fashion. Both teams are also actively pursuing the use of eco-friendly fabrics and processes. I will have to write more about them later on, but check out their sites in the meantime.

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