Uniquities has an answer to all the cutting-back blues: Private-label clothes that cost a whole lot less than traditional designer pieces.
The locally owned chain of clothing boutiques introduced the line of Uniquities-brand staples in the fall, bringing in T-shirts, sweaters and scarves, many of which are priced under $100. The pieces are scattered throughout the three stores among the more expensive designer brands Uniquities has sold for nearly two decades.
Store owner Julie Jennings says it's a move that has paid off well, so far. Customers are still shopping for their favorite Paige Premium denim and Nanette Lepore dresses. But for basic pieces, the new Uniquities brand gives them a cheaper option with a designer look.
"It's no different from what everyone else is doing in other industries," she says. "Customers get the same looks for less. When you can provide that kind of value, it just makes sense."
She says shoppers still are willing to spend money on designer pieces, especially on denim and handbags, but the pieces have to have the right look and the right name. Enter the $69 Uniquities sweater, which looks remarkably close in color, cut and fabric to the designer sweater that costs three times more.
Jennings, who will be in Los Angeles and New York this week stocking up on more private-label basics, says it's a plan she hopes to stick with even after the economy improves. "We're never going to stop doing it. It's going to be part of our business forever."
Art to Wear relocates
One of the state's most popular fashion shows is moving to an even bigger location.
N.C. State University's Art to Wear, one of the biggest shows of its kind in the state, will take over Reynolds Coliseum in April, a move that will almost double the show's seating capacity.
Amy Quinn, who is this year's student director, said the space for the show at Reynolds has the potential to seat about 7,000 people. Last year, the show, held at the Court of the Carolinas, attracted 3,000 to 4,000 people.
While the move inside poses a new set of challenges for the student-run production, there's one problem organizers won't have to make provisions for: rain. But Quinn worries that the new venue for the show might not draw the usual crowds. Typically, because the show was outside, students would walk by and stick around to watch the show.
To solve that problem, show organizers are planning to put models outside Reynolds in student-designed fashion to draw in would-be attendees.
Keep up with the April 22 show and which designers will be showing their work at
Charlotte's trunk shows
Perfectly timed for last-minute Valentine's Day gift-givers, Charlotte's is having a few jewelry trunk shows with local jewelry designers Friday and Saturday. Mollybeads will be at the Charlotte's store in Cameron Village. And Moon and Lola will be at the North Hills Charlotte's store. … At Ciao Bella in Cary, look for a trunk show Wednesday of jewelry by Sylvia Benson Designs.
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