Explore Charlotte

Why Local Fashion Icon Effie Loukas Loves Charlotte

The boutique owner and fashion-show producer talks about hot trends, cool weather and her perfect day in the Queen City.

Over the past decade, Effie Loukas has been instrumental in the growth of Charlotte’s fashion and style scenes. She co-owns one of the city’s longest-operated boutiques, Lotus; and she produces Charlotte’s premier annual fashion event, Style Night Out (Sept. 4), and coordinates other fashion shows throughout the year.

Describe the importance of discovering Charlotte’s local boutiques.

When tourists come into the city, of course they’re going to hit up the malls, which is great. But there are so many great boutiques in the different neighborhoods, like us here in Midtown; then go down the street to Myers Park, and to Dilworth. Every neighborhood sort of has its own style.

How did Style Night Out become such a success?

This is our fifth year, which is hard to believe. I got influenced by what was happening in New York’s fashion scene, and I decided I wanted to do something here for local boutiques. Last year, we had 37 local boutiques participating and we had over 2,000 people attend. This year, we’re going to make it more focused and showcase the top 20 boutiques.

What’s the appeal of your boutique, Lotus?

I used to have a really high-end boutique. We had great clientele, but even I didn’t want to spend $500 on a shirt that I might get tired of wearing after two or three times. I always thought I wanted to cater to the everyday woman, who could come in and buy her entire outfit for under $200. I feel like fashion has changed so much … even the high-end designers are making great pieces for 50 bucks. That’s what I wanted for Lotus, and we’ve been around for 10 years.

What do you think the hot trends will be for the fall?

The particular color I’m seeing a lot of is in the purple family, like that eggplant color. Lots of lace, too; lots of romantic stuff. Also silver, which is the color of fall. Sometimes I think fashion recycles a little bit—they just do it a little bit differently. Also what I’m seeing more of is the two-piece, kind-of-sexy outfit—the skirt with the crop top, from the ’90s. That’s making a huge comeback.

In Charlotte, our falls are warm. How should we dress?

Layering—that’s what I love about the fall here. I always suggest blazers to women because it’s such a cute piece. Every woman needs them in her wardrobe, because you can wear a cute little black dress with a blazer at work and make it look professional. And you could easily take it into dinner afterwards, when it might get a little cold.

Effie Loukas’ Perfect Day

8:30 am, Caffeine Run

I have to have my coffee to get going—I’m only a couple minutes away from the Starbucks in Dilworth. Then I’ll come back home, maybe get caught up on some emails.

Noon, Trail Mix

I recently, for the first time, ate at Luna’s Living Kitchen, which I couldn’t believe it took me so long to try because it’s amazing, and healthy! So, I’ll eat lunch there. And there’s this great trail that runs through South End all the way into Uptown (Charlotte Rail Trail), so I’ll go for a walk there. It’s so wonderful to see all of these restaurants and coffee shops and new apartment buildings. It feels like its own little city. I could also do lunch at Greek Isles, which I love.

3 pm, Quiet, Please

I’m taking a nap! Being Greek, I’m like, can the whole city of Charlotte shut down like we do in Greece? [Laughs.]

6 pm, Happy Time

I’ll get my friends together for happy hour, and we’ll probably go to Vivace. I love sitting out on the patio, and they make great mojitos. If it’s a Friday, I might go to Food Truck Fridays in South End. And I love Soul Gastrolounge. I absolutely love the bartenders, love their drinks, and always think that their food is amazing and very consistent.

8:30 pm, Eats and Beats

I like to go to dinner with friends, when I can. Fahrenheit is great. And I don’t do the club scene much anymore, but I love Bubble. It’s such a cool little setting, where you don’t feel like it’s the club scene but you can have a good time.