When I relocated from Los Angeles to Phoenix, it was a jarring culture shock. Differences between the art, fashion, and music scene were blatantly obvious. I remember my favorite people watching hub was the Albertson’s on Hillhurst off of Los Feliz Blvd.. You better believe everyone showed up to buy their almond milk in black skinny jeans, a methodically ripped vintage rock t-shirt, and finishing the spectacle with a Céline handbag. It was nothing short of awe inspiring. Let’s just say that in this region, I feel way too comfortable taking a page from the People of Wal-Mart book when I go to the neighboring grocer.
Be that as it may, I give a huge crap about personal style and fashion. It was important for me to find local boutiques and stores that carry clothing, accessories, and home goods that dialed in to my aesthetic. Spaces that inspired me to lift my eyes to something greater than Living Spaces and Tilley's. It took rigorous research and scads of asking around. But I eventually found my people-doing their retail thing. And I’m beyond pumped to have these stores as my personal resources.
Greater Phoenix Area.
T. Madison. I heard about T.Madison when I was serving tables at Postino East a couple of years ago. A woman came in with a distinct brass necklace, and I queried where she got it, thinking it was in the style of an L.A. jeweler that I follow. It was, and she told me she purchased it locally from T. Madison. I looked up the shop online, and my two year old and I hit the scene post haste. Taylor Madison, the owner, has created a gorgeous sanctuary for women. Focusing on fashion forward clothing, accessories, shoes, and home goods. Taylor has a strong focus on providing inviting visuals. Curating a sexy monochromatic brick and mortar shop, shooting sensual look books for each season, and maintaining an ideal Instagram account that positively delights.
Phoenix General. I read about Phoenix General’s opening at the beginning of this year. And I was totally pumped because they offered menswear. Men care about personal style too. This store is Arizona’s answer to Silverlake’s Mohawk General Store. Described on Phoenix General's website as, “Apparel, home, and gift for life in the desert.” I love that their products are as local as possible. Utilizing artists and designers from our own capable talent pool. They have their own line of Phoenix General basic shirts that are ethically made in Los Angeles. If you need a rad outfit for the weekend, or want to refresh your jewelry game-head on over. In earnest, I go to the shop on bad days for inspiration.
I’m also a fan of the store’s cheeky candles that not only smell incredibly alluring, but evoke a lifestyle. Take The Boyfriend Candle: The Cuban for example: “A gentleman enters a smoke shop’s humidor to select a cigar and exits a changed man. Base notes of tobacco leaf with hints of spicy cinnamon, warm cloves, aromatic incense, and earthy patchouli. Pair with salsa music, close your eyes, and pretend you’re in Miami.” Yes. Just yes. Who doesn’t want that candle (and back story) in their life? Check out Phoenix General’s new arrivals on their Instagram.
Framed Ewe Optical Boutique. Next door neighbors to Phoenix General, you have to make a stop at Framed Ewe. If you’re in the market for bad assed frames beyond the Kathy Ireland collection at LensCrafters, then consider yourself privy to a righteous adversary. I heard about the shop through my friend Derek, who has the most legit black framed glasses I’ve ever seen. Not only is Framed Ewe's interior space so damn cool, but the staff that works there are incredibly kind-and have zero chips on their shoulders. They are there to educate the public, and help you find a rad pair of frames to enhance your life. Also, once the frames are gone-that’s it. You’re not going to see forty people rocking your signature look. Which, I think is a huge plus. Visit their Instagram account to see what they’re cooking up.
Camelback Flower Shop. Yes. They make flower arrangements. But it’s so much more than that. You may have already heard of them via reading their article feature on Domino. The space is positively gorgeous. Think vintage green pendant lighting, macramé treatments in the windows, large communal wooden tables for education classes, art, pots, air plants, clever gifts, and tools to amp up your gardening game. It’s nothing short of glorious. Camelback Flower Shop is filled with a staff of innovators and dreamers. Learn more about the vision on their blog and follow along on their Instagram.
Hub. Warning: The cool kids shop here. And I don’t know if I’m cool enough yet. But I go there anyways. This boutique is conveniently tucked next to Upwards Projects concepts Churn and Windsor. Make an afternoon of it by eating at Windsor, then shopping at Hub, finally ending the experience by noshing on homemade ice-cream and in house crafted gummy bears at Churn. I digress. Hub. They offer brands that are not easily accessible in Phoenix. Think Blackbird, Rag and Bone, Acne Studios, and Imogene and Willie. The aesthetic is fashion forward utilitarian with an edge. The jewelry collection is perenially covetable. You can also pick up Aesop products to refresh your powder room. (The only purveyors of Aesop in Arizona.) Take a peek at their Instagram, and definitely stop on in seasonly.
Tucson. (Approximately a two hour drive from Phoenix)
Bon Boutique. This gorgeous shop is what dreams are made of. Owned and operated by a enigmatic mother daughter duo, Bonnie and Crystal Flynt. The family operation has a balanced mélange of inventory that feels very old world meets new world. While simultaneously emoting a freshness and nostalgia. Bonnie was a former merchandiser for Anthropologie for flagship stores in the Los Angeles and New York markets. Her practiced hand in visuals is apparent with every vignette she creates. Crystal is known to have the green thumb, and constantly brings succulents, cactus, and bits of earth into the store. I love visiting their space. And without fail, I always snap inspiration pictures to implement into my own work. You have to add Bon on Instagram. Their account could positively stand alone.
Avenue Boutique. Hands down, my absolute favorite store in Arizona. It’s as if the owner Alexis Mosij stepped inside of my retail fantasies, and extracted the ultimate shopping experience. Avenue Boutique is filled with handmade pieces, found vintage, independent clothing designers, and small home goods. I love their flawless, crisp merchandising, the epic hammock, and the grown up, yet laid back feel. Two of my favorite go-to pieces of jewelry came from this store. I'm dancing on air with every visit. Check out their Instagram for new pieces, and styling inspiration for home and apparel.
Desert Vintage. This isn’t your basic neighborhood vintage store. It’s a stunner of a resource, boasting hand selected men’s and women’s garments. Any of which will undoubtedly enhance your existing wardrobe. The shop is constantly evolving and fusing the antiquated with modern trends. Desert Vintage’s Instagram cannot be missed. I’m in awe of their daily artistry.
While Arizona isn’t known as a shopping destination point, it absolutely has innovative, and exciting boutiques to draw from. Each boasting a flavor that is unlike any that you’ll sample in the rest of the country. I look forward to observing how these stores continue to evolve. And I'm curious to witness how these jewels will pollinate ideas for future business owners. This region has a market that cares about being fashion forward. Thusly, having local options that are conscience of the on-trend market is of great importance. Lets make sure we get out there and support these local businesses with our patronage.