Looking for something beyond department stores and discount chains? Seattle's independent nature extends to fashion, where boutique owners and designers are curating and creating looks for men and women that you won't find just anywhere. Here, a few favorites.
The ethos behind this line’s modern staples is “easy to wear, easy to care,” and every piece at 8telier versatile in styling options and machine washable.
“I’m really designing for the easy to wear because I design everything that I want to wear, so I get to be the guinea pig and test out all the items and say ‘nope, that’s not going to work, it’s just too high maintenance,’” said Jean Glover, who owns 8telier with her husband, Craig.
The fall collection includes a pair of trousers with a draped pocket detail, which is stitched to ensure the drape stays through washing, and a number of versatile pieces like a dress/tunic and dress/duster coat: “This is actually a dress that you can wear as a sleeveless duster coat,” Jean said,. “You can wear it as a dress, all the way zipped up or with the front open, or it’s one of those jackets you throw over anything … this is one of those pieces, once you get to know it, you realize you get a lot of use out of it.”
Gibran Hamdan’s polo shirts might look familiar—Alial Fital is a sponsor of PGA Tour pros Bo Van Pelt and Jim Renner. But his polos are appropriate for more places than the golf course. With options in a poly-cotton blend or a tech fabric, highlighted by dress-shirt collars, they can go from the green to the conference room.
“I started as a designer really making the same dress polo shirts I am doing today, which came from a desire to make comfortable pieces for men that were stylish and dressy at the same time,” Hamdan said.
All of Alial Fital’s clothing—from the polo shirts to the pants—is made in the United States in limited edition quantities of 100.
Fall’s collection is called “Flight as a Feather.” Hamdan said his inspiration came from a National Geographic Instagram photo. “It displayed a Quaker Parrot’s secondary flight feather, that displayed green, blue and silver contrasts. The collection will center on those colors and how they play against each other.”
Alial Fital is available on the website or at the Phinney Ridge showroom by appointment.
Owned by Cat Wilcox and Chika Eustace, Velouria specializes in independent fashion and accessories, and stocks lines from around the United States and Canada.
“[Customers] care that it’s made in the U.S. or Canada, which doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s ethically produced, but it’s kind of our answer to trying to get a hold of knowing where your stuff is coming from, making sure everybody along the way is really taken care of, and I think our customers really care that that is happening,” Wilcox said.
The attention to detail, and the quality, is apparent throughout the store.
“Our designers, I think, really consider their customer when they’re designing, so I think they picture the woman,” Eustace said. “Designers really seem to consider their fabrics and how they lay on a body and what they need to create the structure they desire.”
Said Wilcox, “Fairly often people come through and say they bought a dress years and years ago, even before we took over the shop, and they still wear it and they still love it and they still get compliments every time they wear it. That’s kind of the goal. We want you to have something you’re going to have for years, that’s going to last for years, that’s going to look beautiful for years without going out of fashion.”
Davora Lindner and Camilla Eckersley co-founded this company 10 years ago, on values of hard work, conservation, utility, creative expression and collaboration, said Lindner. The clothing is all manufactured domestically. “Making a dent in the ethics surrounding clothing manufacturing is challenging, but producing domestically seemed the best place to start,” Lindner said.
Prairie Underground is found in boutiques across the United States and Canada. “We design the collection with a broad demographic in mind, in terms of age and body type, but our collection has always suited a Northwest climate,” Lindner said. “Our end user works at home or in casual environments. Almost everyone expects garments suited for multiple activities and shifting social spaces.”
As such, the fall collection, titled “Worn Two Ways” contains a number of pieces designed with options, including a dress with a different print when worn backward.
“Others can be worn both as a top and a bottom,” Lindner said. “Another dress separates to become a skirt and cropped jacket. Two styles with detachable swags reinvent the design from day to evening or simply day-to-day.”
Horseshoe’s selection has one overarching theme: comfort. While shoppers can find everything from evening-appropriate dresses to denim, “everything we have has a really nice hand to it,” said Jill Andersen, owner of the boutique. “The texture and the softness is essential. Whether it’s a woven or a knit, they all have a comparable silkiness or buttery-ness to them that makes people say ‘oh yes! I want to put that on!’”
This fall, Horseshoe’s selections include the poncho/cape/shawl, which continues to be popular. “Everything from Pendleton, who is making beautiful woven wools out of it, and sweater knits to the inexpensive brands that have beautiful prints,” said Andersen. She also said a lot of items have faux fur. “It’s all really soft and cozy, and there’s a little bit of that luxurious glamour this fall. It’s an easy way to feel dressed up with your jeans and boots without being over the top.”