Jacket: Yohji Yamamoto Y’s Red Label, Pants: Helmut Lang, Bag: Laurence Dacade Paris, Sunglasses: Efva Attling

Last week when reading the articles on shopping in the fashion bibliography, I am nostalgically brought back to one of the classes I took at the Fashion Institute of Technology, “Starting Your Own Vintage Stop.” This was really the class where many of my ideas about how to present myself in the world of fashion began to crystalize and it was here that the refrain, “You should start a blog”, became a personal actionable decision. Given that I was not in a position to open my own brick and mortar space, I decided to make a virtual one. Compared to my greater vision though, what I have constructed is more of a pop-up store, something in route but not quite there.

The talented Sarah Andalmen, who opened the department store/boutique, Colette with her mother in 1997, compares the store to a magazine and sees the windows as the cover that leads to pages filled with fashion, design, food and other objects of delight. I identify in some small way with the amount of work it takes to change her windows weekly. I like that concept because it takes a two dimensional idea and makes it three dimensional. It makes the space more about styling, curation, mixing and mashing up and involves the transformation of a garment and other objects into a personal statement that stimulates desire; a very different way to think about retail.

Alongside articles about the dismal state of U.S. retail, the gems of Colette and United Arrows (another feature in this week’s reading), stand out from malls and large department stores because they are meticulously envisioned to incite daydreams, aspirations and evolutions. They use physical and virtual space in ways that triggers imagination and as the author of the article about United Arrows, Noah Johnson says in GQ, “inspire you to take your personal style to adventurous new heights” and “stimulates the fashion and design zones of your cerebral cortex.”  Both stores offer those of us who style eclectically options across price, international reputation and introduce us to emerging designers, often with a splash of interesting vintage.

Colette’s website is like an independent fashion magazine and United Arrows publishes a seasonal style guide (both print and on-line versions) with everyday people (like myself) wearing their clothes mixed in with curated selections of individual items. Some of you may remember that last year they featured me in a very humorous series of comics and photos taken at my University.

So today, arising to a dreary rainy and grey day and feeling very uninspired, reading the two articles again remind me that the secret to longevity in the digital world is to constantly evolve, and like an app, continue to offer new versions and updates.

Do you have a favorite store that “stimulates the fashion and design zones of your cerebral cortex?