From Jamie Hurst. Email her at jamiehurst[AT]borderstan.com . Follow her on twitter @highheeldtravlr
My interest in writing for Borderstan stemmed from an interest in getting to know the great citizens of our community here. Who are the people that work, live, and play in our fine city? First up, Nicole Aguirre, founder of Worn Magazine and co-founder of Worn Abroad talks to us about how she showcases the Washingtonian art, music, and fashion scenes as well as where to find the best Chana Masala in Adams Morgan.
Borderstan: Tell me about Worn Magazine and Worn Abroad?
Aguirre: I started Worn Magazine in 2009, and it was because I saw this vacuum for a local fashion and art publication that was really highlighting what was going on in the creative community in DC. I had all these fantastic friends doing all really creative things. That was my world in DC versus the political government world. I wasn’t seeing any publications, print publications specifically, covering that and really lifting it up and celebrating it as a real movement in the city. So I decided I would give it a shot myself and that’s where it started. I applied for a young artist grant from the DC Commission for Arts and Humanities and got it. So then after that there was really no turning back!
So we did one issue, then another, then another, now we are working on our fifth issue starting this week, which will come out in early April. Then last year I teamed up with Eric Brewer, who is the founder of an organization called Dandies and Quaintrelles. We’ve been friends for years and started a company called Worn Abroad. It’s under the Worn umbrella except it’s an e-commerce online retail company that sells clothing from designers all around the world, inspired from [global] street style. So we started off our first three months with pieces mostly from Asia and some U.S. designers and are slowly expanding inventory to include other parts of the world.
Borderstan: I like that you are bringing new fashion to DC but staying within a certain influence or style.
Aguirre: That’s the idea, to give access to styles that aren’t easily accessible in DC, starting off, then across the country as well.
Borderstan: Tell me a little bit about your perception of DC style. There is this running joke that DC has no style, but it obviously does. There is a huge art and music community here, and creatives in general.
Aguirre: DC style is still really forming itself. I think that a lot of the creative elements in the community that you mentioned like, music, art, and theatre have been growing really quickly and have started to define themselves. I think that fashion is sort of the one that’s still sort of lagging, still trying to catch up. But it is moving forward, very quickly, actually. One of the events that really showed me that was Georgetown’s Fashion Night Out last year.
A lot of people talked about how many individually stylish people came out to that event. It was sort of felt like a coming out, a real arrival of DC style. Eric and I thought that it was the perfect time to be in DC and starting a retail company because people are really hungry for that style and I think people are ready for it.
Borderstan: I know I am! So what made you want to establish your business in the Borderstan area?
Aguirre: Well, when I first moved to DC in 2005 to go to GW I lived in a small studio on Columbia Road and 16th Street NW. I would ride my Vespa to campus in Foggy Bottom everyday which for GW [George Washington University] student was a really long commute, but that made me get to know the area really well.
After that I lived in Dupont for a while, then moved back to Adams Morgan in 2007 when I moved into this space. I just think it’s the perfect location because everything is really accessible, like you have shopping and restaurants… and 18th Street is now starting to shift, too. I moved here with the idea that the neighborhood was in transition and was going to evolve. And I love how diverse this neighborhood is in general. There are Indian restaurants, the Ethiopian community, and families with children.
Borderstan: I agree. That is what is appealing about Borderstan, everybody’s here. It’s a melting pot.
Aguirre: Exactly, and it just so happens that DC is so small that your friends are always like, oh I live a block or two blocks away.
Borderstan: You don’t have to go very far! What are you favorite places to eat and shop in the area?
Aguirrre: One of my favorite places to eat in Adams Morgan is Himalayan Heritage. It’s at 18th and Kalorama. It’s incredible!
Borderstan: Any recommendations?
Aguirre: The Chana Masala because its gluten free and vegetarian! When I get the chance to get out of my studio, I like shopping the 14th Street boutiques.