Shop Stop – Runway Boutique L.A.

You know when you dream about the perfect shop that could literally be your dream closet? Where every item is something you would wear and every corner is full of so many goodies that your arms are overflowing when you finally make your way to the register? Well, my dreams came true when I finally visited Runway Boutique L.A. last month!

I have been following the shop on IG for a few years and finally got to experience it in real life and it is such a treasure I had to share it with you.  Owner, Fatima Dodson has curated a truly eclectic shop full of vintage, contemporary and unique handmade items.  There are amazing pieces everywhere you look and while her regular prices are very reasonable there are also fun sale racks and trunks to browse through.

I made out like a bandit on my first visit to the shop and I can’t wait to go back!  If you are in Los Angeles and looking for one of kind gifts or that unique piece to add to your wardrobe, look no further and if you are ever visiting Los Angeles, do yourself a favor and make a stop at this wonderland. You can thank me later.

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I asked Fatima to share a bit more about the shop and you can read our conversation below.

Q. What inspired you to open Runway Boutique L.A.?

A. My mom was a designer and artist and growing up she made my clothes. I have always loved fashion especially unique items. I started out styling my friends and then worked doing styling and costumes in the film industry.  I love mixing vintage and contemporary fashion and I wanted to share that with more people so I opened my shop.

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Q. You have a literal runway in the middle of the shop. Do you have fashion shows?
A.  Yes, it’s a functioning runway. A couple times a year we have fashion shows. I love stories so there is usually a theme behind them. It’s also been a place for up and coming designers to showcase their work.
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Q. You have such a beautifully curated selection of items with such variety.  How do you decide what makes it into the shop?
A. I always look at fabrication, material, structure and how a garment is made as well selecting items with color and print. We are known for having lots of prints and colors.  Californians are laid back and classic in how they dress and I wanted to encourage them to incorporate prints and colors into their wardrobe so the store is full of that.
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Q. Do you sell only vintage or new items as well?

A. We sell vintage, new, contemporary and handmade. Combining these creates a unique style. I don’t think one should wear vintage head to toe, but rather mix items that enhance one another. I provide workshops at the shop on how to mix and match, to show people how to incorporate items into their wardrobe. We help people find something new, something different. The store is merchandised as a treasure hunt, with various items mixed together to inspire you.

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Q. What’s your advice to someone who has never worn vintage? How can they incorporate it into their current wardrobe?

A. First, wear something you are comfortable in, that identifies with your style and colors you like. Its very important to mix and accessorize a vintage piece something modern so you don’t look like you stepped out of another era.

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Q. Your shop is full of one of a kind pieces. How often are new items added to the shop?

A. We get new items daily. Our turn over is fast. We sell on Instagram and online, as well as in the shop so items move fast. We have clients that come in a few times a week and there is always something new.

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Q. You and I discussed the idea of curating one’s wardrobe. How would you recommend someone start the process of curating their wardrobe to reflect their style?

A. I would start with organizing your closet. Color coordinating helps you see what you have a lot of, what you gravitate towards, what accessories you have and what you don’t wear any longer.  Often times we forget we have some amazing pieces that are lost in our closet.  If you are looking to experiment and change up your wardrobe I suggest finding inspiration from images that you would like to try and save them. With this lookbook you can start to incorporate items into your existing wardrobe. Don’t copy the looks, just pull inspiration from them and make them your own.

Q. Your inventory is very thoughtful, with a balance of prints, colors, textures and styles. Is Runway Boutique for every woman?
A. Yes. We do have classic pieces for more conservative dressers and wild prints for the more adventurous. Our clientele is very diverse and has grown over the years. Runway Boutique L.A. is for those women who are open to trying something new with fashion. Those that are maybe afraid to step out of the box or afraid of rejection. My hope in having this shop is to encourage women trying something new and to show them how being open and taking risks in one part of your life can lead to changes in other parts of your life. It’s not just about fashion, it’s about empowerment.
You can visit Runway Boutique L.A. at 807 S La Brea Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90036 or shop on their website.  I also recommend following on Instagram to stay up to date on all their amazing events!
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Owner of Runway Boutique L.A., Fatima & myself at the ‘Shop My Closet” event last month!
If you check out Runway Boutique, I’d love to know what you think and if you have a favorite shop you think I should check out I’d love to hear about it in the comments!
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Shop Stop – Coast to Coast Vintage

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Coast to Coast Vintage is a mobile vintage shop on wheels serving up men’s and women’s vintage pieces that are sure to start a conversation!   I found CTC on Instagram a while back and fell in love with their unique, colorful pieces and wild prints.  Based in L.A., it was about time I go visit Baby Girl (CTC’s lovingly converted vintage camper a.k.a. the coolest shop ever!) down at the Melrose Trading Post, where she can be found most Sundays!

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CTC is curated by Jaimee and her partner Adam, who have a love for vintage and traveling the across the U.S.  Each item is hand picked by these two and their selection does not disappoint!! I mean, can we talk about this Ah-Mazing outfit my girl Jaimee has on! She has a great eye for design and her shop is full of one of kind pieces like this.

Outside the camper, you are greeted with colorful garment racks, fun accessories (ice cream tattoos, rainbow pins and killer sunnies) and quirky shoes to complete your look.

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Of course, keeping it California cool!

Once you step into the shop your greeted with an even greater selection of vintage treasures from polka dots to floral to tribal and if you’re in need of a mini rainbow piñata they have you covered on that too!  There selection is based on the season as well, so you can find the perfect Spring dress right now and a fabulous coat in Winter, making your shopping that much easier!

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Flanked by their signature palm trees, CTC is a kick ass spot to add something awesome to your wardrobe. It is for sure, a must stop shop!

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Which one is your favorite?

 

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Selection of men’s shirts. Find something for your Boo too!

 

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This is one of my favorite parts of CTC. Each tag shows you where your piece was found and the journey it took to get to you! Love this!!

I asked Jaimee, Founder and Curator of Coast to Coast Vintage, to share a bit more about the shop the below.

Q:  How did Coast to Coast come to be?
A: C2C came to be after I had saved up a good amount of money and was officially over my retail job! I was living in NYC at the time and feeling both trapped and suffocated by the city life. I had been making trips out to California more and more frequently and could totally see myself living there! Owning my own vintage shop had always been a dream of mine, but seeing as I had zero experience buying or selling beforehand, I thought a mobile shop would be a fun way to test it out before committing. Some might have just gone for an Etsy shop to start but I like to think big 🙂 I bought the trailer in 2012, and one year later Coast to Coast was born and we were on the road and off with a bang!

 

Q: Do you have a background in fashion?
A: I do! I went to FIT for Fashion Design. I decided after completing the program that I didn’t love it enough to put my all into it, and that I really just loved appreciating clothing that was already made. And even more so, the concept behind personal style and how people put pieces together! I then went into a Visual Merchandising career in retail that spanned 7 years and focused on the science behind what makes people buy certain items and why? So all of this combined helped in the creation of C2C 🙂
Q: Do you have any favorite designers that you seek out?
A: I love anything Diane Freis, Flora Kung, I.Magnin, Liz Claiborne (and all her subsidiaries), Silkscapes, The African Village, Josefa, Catherine Ogust..the list goes on and grows everyday as I learn of more!
Q: You have an amazing selection of prints and color. How do you pick the pieces for your shop?
A: Thank you so much! The best way to explain it is that I select the pieces that make my brain go “!!!!”. I like to find items that are conversation pieces, as well as items I haven’t seen before. I mix in quite a bit of vintage basic or subtle pieces for our in person events, but it’s all the vibrant stand out pieces that make it onto our web site so it really pops!
Q: Can you share a memory of your best vintage find?
A: Oh wow, there are so many!! I once found an amazing mint condition Cross Colours printed and semi-rare two piece shorts set on a super rainy and miserable day in NYC that ended up bringing me a pretty penny.
Q: Without giving away too much, do you have a favorite city to treasure hunt in?
A: We love shopping out here in LA, as well as anywhere in the Midwest!
Q: Do you sell all over the U.S.?
A: Technically, because I have an online shop, I sell all over the world!! 🙂 In person, we have currently sold in 14/50 states to date and are always looking to add more to the list!
Q: What’s your favorite part of having a mobile shop?
A: Having a mobile shop reduces my overhead while giving me maximum control! Plus, it’s a fun way to meet people and to stand out at events when everyone else has tents 🙂
Q: What is your go to accessory?
A: My go to accessory is a three-way tie between a silk scarf of bandana, a pair of statement sunglasses, and my red lipstick! 🙂 
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Where ever you are in the world you can visit their online shop for one of kind vintage pieces!
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To stay up to date on what city Baby Girl is in, make sure you follow their journey on  Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

What I Bought At The Melrose Trading Post

In an effort to get out of the house and get some sunshine, my husband and I decided (ok, I decided and nicely asked that he accompany me!) to visit the flea market yesterday.  The Melrose Trading Post (MTP) has been around for a while here in Los Angeles and I have never visited so it was time to check it out.

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What I Wore: Skirt/Top/Bracelet/Earrings/Thrifted, Shoes/Bag/Target, Hat/Santee Alley

 

MTP is located on the grounds of Fairfax High School on the corner of Melrose and Fairfax and is open for business every Sunday, 9am-5pm, rain or shine. Well, the sun was definitely shining on us as we perused the various stalls of global goods, vintage finds, antiques, furniture and handmade goodies.

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My thrifting adventures are a solo activity for me where I get in the zone of treasure hunting but shopping the flea market offers the opposite experience.  Yes, I am still treasure hunting (always) but it’s such a social experience and I get just as much pleasure from talking with vendors, meeting different people, learning their stories and the history of the items they are selling as I do from actually buying. It’s a more connected shopping experience and the MTP did not disappoint with an interesting crowd.

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Bright patterned pieces from Coast to Coast Vintage. I’ll be sharing all the details on this quirky and colorful mobile vintage shop in an upcoming “Shop Stop”.

 

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Mini masks by Kenyan artist, Ngene Mwaura. Stay tuned for an upcoming interview on his creative process and his art.

 

Compared to other flea markets in Los Angeles, the MTP feels very curated. Each vendor has selected their items with a theme or style in mind, offering a quality selection. There are antiques, plants, lots of clothing, textiles, beads and handmade jewelry. I am of course always drawn to the global elements found at any market and there are plenty here.

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Global hodge podge of Indian pieces, Buddhas and Indonesian masks.

 

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African beads, baskets and textiles. I especially liked the hand painted barber signs!

 

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Clothing, bags and pillows from Central America. Yes, please!

 

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Beautiful textiles!
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Leather and textile bags

The market is small and definitely manageable compared to some of the larger markets in L.A.  I personally like a bit bigger market to explore but this was a good way to spend a couple of hours.  There is parking onsite but it is limited. We arrived at noon and were able to get a spot. There is also street parking available.  The entrance fee is $3 and supports the school. There is live music and a small food area you can enjoy as well.

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Stunning beadwork from West Africa.

 

I actually did not end up buying much at the market. This trip was really about checking it out.  I did fall in love with these small, very unique bags but they wanted $30 each and that was too pricey for me.

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The only item I ended up buying was this amazing straw hat from Madagascar. The bold colors and super wide brim sold me. I purchased the yellow one and I am so happy with it! It will get a ton of use in the coming Summer months.

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Sheena’s Side Notes

~ In my personal opinion, the clothing items at this market were a bit overpriced.  It could be the thrifter in me or the area of Los Angeles we were in, but a lot of the clothes, while unique, could be found at thrift stores or estate sales for a lot cheaper. If you aren’t into the hunt for things this is a great place to find unique pieces if you’re willing to pay for them.

~ There was an eclectic selection of antiques, from old movies reels, to candelabras and vintage bar carts. Perfect to find that unique item for your décor.

~ If you are looking for a rug (think Moroccan, Turkish) there were a few vendors selling these. I have amassed my own rug collection from my travels and have run out of floor space. If not I would have purchased one of these. They were all drool worthy!

~ Plan to have lunch in the area. If you are visiting Los Angeles, there are a lot of iconic restaurants in the area, within walking distance that you can try out.  There are also lots of other shops in the area, down Melrose and down Fairfax if you need to get more of a shopping fix while you are in the area.

Friday Fly Away – Grand Park

Every two years, I have the pleasure of being assigned jury duty at one of the many courthouses in Downtown Los Angeles.  My last visit to the concrete jungle was sprinkled with a surprise of the floral type.  Since I had last been there, they had created an oasis of gardens, with colorful and textural surprises around ever corner.  Grand Park is filled with groupings of succulents. wildflowers and trees, where you can nestle yourself, enjoy your lunch, read a book or people watch. 

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Court of Historic American Flags
Court of Historic American Flags

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They also have a farmers market on the lower level of the park.
They also have a farmers market on the lower level of the park.

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I love Downtown Los Angeles for many reasons and Grand Park has been added to that list.  If you are visiting the city, Grand Park is only a couple of blocks from the Disney Concert Hall and MOMA and is worth the short stroll.IMG_8827

All photos in this post were taken by me.