by Borderstan.com June 11, 2013 at 2:00 pm 0

From Rachel Nania. Check out her blog, Sear, Simmer & Stir. Follow Nania on Twitter @rnania, email her at rachel[AT]borderstan.com.

southern

Since I can’t go back to Charleston anytime soon, I’m bringing Charleston to me. (Rachel Nania)

Despite a tropical storm aiming straight for the southern part of the East Coast this weekend, I braved my way down I-95 and took a road trip to Charleston, S.C.

Yes, ma’am — I had plans for sun, paired with Southern cuisine and a side of Seersucker.

Boy, was I disappointed.

What I always remembered as a traditional, southern little city did not live up to my “leave your pinkie out while you sip your tea” and “remember to tie your bow” expectations.

In fact, it was quite the opposite. Charleston has transformed into the capital of cool.

Sure, the Seersucker, manners and bows are still around — and will always be preserved — but on top of all that is a top-notch local food movement, a booming boutique business, a cocktail scene like no other, skateboarders, and, oh yeah, beaches.

The whole trip home I was wanting to turn around and just head right back to Charleston. But since I can’t get back there for a few more months, I’m going to do my best to find a bit of Charleston in DC.

That’s right, I am on a mission to get southern in Borderstan.

Bourbon: One thing they take very seriously in Charleston is bourbon. And thankfully, so does Bourbon on 18th Street. Not only does this place have lots of — well, bourbon — it also serves bowls of tots, fish and chips and grilled BBQ salmon. 14th Street’s Back Whiskey also has you covered in terms of beverage selections and locally sourced small plates.

Locally-Sourced Southern Food: Shrimp and grits, crab cakes, fried green tomatoes, hush puppies — I could keep going. But I’ll stop. Thankfully, there are several places in the area that serve up some great southern food. Next time you have a hankering, try the cornmeal fried oysters and Spoonbread at The Pig.

Still hungry? Eatonville has Hushpuppies, po boys and catfish and grits. And we absolutely can’t leave off Oohs and Aahs on U Street. The fried chicken will make you say more than “ooh.”

Chic Boutiques and Local Businesses: Finding chic designs isn’t too difficult in Charleston — and it’s pretty easy to find the same in Borderstan. Classy outfits? Check out Ginger Root Design. Something a little more edgy? Redeem. Home decor? Good Wood.

Greenery and Gardens: One of my favorite parts of Charleston is the courtyard gardens, visible from the streets in downtown Charleston. While the gardens in DC. are not as popular as the ones in Charleston, you can catch some great greenery up and down the side residential streets in Dupont Circle or at Meridian Hill Park.

Surfers: Sorry. Charleston still wins on this one.

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by Borderstan.com April 19, 2013 at 4:00 pm 0

"Fashion"

Dafna’s Fashion Alert: Four events in the neighborhood. (Luis Gomez Photos)

From Dafna Steinberg. Follow her @AlizaySteinberg. Email her at dafna[AT]borderstan.com.

Sorry folks… I have had a crazy week… between working at Union Station all day yesterday for a “vintage is green” fashion show and pop up shop to having an exhibition tomorrow (which you can read about here on Borderstan), I have been swamped. Which means that I didn’t have a chance to write an advice column or trend alert.

So here are a few upcoming events to check out in the meantime!

  • Friday, April 19: Tonight, Ginger Root (1530 U Street NW) will be having a Champagne Toast & Spring Line Premier for YB Green, the makers of beautiful recycled glass jewelry. Stop by between 6 and 9 pm for a glass of Champagne and some awesome accessories!
  • Saturday, April 20: Caramel (1603 U Street NW) will be having a sweet Saturday with desserts by pastry artist Sarah Krueger and jewelry by ADMK from 1 to 7 pm. Designer Megan Kurtz will be on hand to talk about her new designs. There will be special discounts throughout the store and a 10% discount off the Spring designs from ADMK! 
  • Wednesday, April 24: Room & Board (1840 14th Street, NW) is having their summer kick off party! RSVP here
  • Sunday, April 28: Nana, a boutique that formerly had its home on U Street, will be having a trunk show for Meg, one of their favorite labels. Designed by New York designer Meghan Kinney, the line will be showcasing its Spring 2013 looks at Cork Tasting Room (1805 14th St NW) from 1 to 5 pm.
  • Happy Fashion Partying! Will get back to you all in a couple weeks!

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by Borderstan.com April 8, 2013 at 10:30 am 0

From Luis Gomez. Catch his photos at One Photograph A Day. Follow him on Twitter @LuisGomezPhotos.

"Ginger Root"

Ginger Root Design at 1530 U Street NW. (Luis Gomez Photos)

Ginger Root Design announced last week that they will be closing their lower level boutique at 1530 U Street NW in the middle of May.

Erin Derge and Kristin Swenson, owners of the GingerRoot Design, are ready to take upon another step in their carers: They plan to focus on their clothing designs and tailoring shop.

Focus on Design

“Our hearts are telling us that we want to be clothing designers,” said Kristen Swenson. “We want to make a difference in DC through our locally-sewn designs, and show the public what modern tailoring can be.”

Ginger Root opened in September 2010 and has been a key business for fashion in the area. They expanded the shop and started offering sewing classes last year. The store has attracted a clientele of customers and friends.

Derge and Swenson have been working on their new collection and plan to release a new and complete collection for summer 2013. The line, will be eco-friendly, and available for purchase in the tailoring shop, in their online store and at various markets and pop-ups throughout the summer

The new tailoring shop is by appointment only and is open Monday and Thursday through Saturday from noon to 7 pm.

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by Borderstan.com March 14, 2013 at 4:00 pm 0

From Rachel Nania. Check out her blog, Sear, Simmer & Stir. Follow Nania on Twitter @rnania, email her at rachel[AT]borderstan.com.

"Borderstan""Ginger Root Design"

Ginger Root Design. (Luis Gomez Photos)

This Friday, it’s the guys’ turn for a spin in the fashion spotlight. Ginger Root Design is hosting a Men’s Night Out on Friday, March 15, from 7 until 10 pm.

As far as fashion goes, the U Street design shop and vintage fashion store will have bow ties by local artists, two different vintage vendors, an influx of new designs from Ginger Root’s in-house line and men’s accessories.

The evening will also have whiskey and PBR, snacks, bow tie tutorials, free suit measurements and pocket square folding demos.

The event is $6; tickets can be purchased online. Ginger Root design is at 1530 U Street NW. So as Barney Stinson says, “Suit up. It’s going to be legen — wait for it — dary.”

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by Borderstan.com November 13, 2012 at 4:00 pm 1,066 0

From Rachel Nania. Check out her blog, Sear, Simmer & Stir. Follow Nania on Twitter @rnania, email her at rachel[AT]borderstan.com.

"sewing"

Learning to sew is easy at Ginger Root Design. (Courtesy Ginger Root Design)

If the thought of learning to sew has you in stitches, don’t be so hard on yourself – consider starting from the beginning and learning from the experts.

Ginger Root Design – the U Street design shop and boutique – will offer two Hand Sewing 101 classes this month. These classes are perfect for sewing beginners or for more seasoned seamers interested in learning how to finish off projects with a professional touch.

“We have a ton of great customers who come into the shop and think, ‘What a fun thing, to learn how to sew.’ But before you break down and buy a sewing machine, we want people to learn the basics and make sure they actually like sewing,” said Kristen McCoy, co-owner of Ginger Root. “And if we convert those newbies into life-long sewers, we will expand our curriculum and offer more advanced classes.”

What Will You Learn?

During the classes, participants will learn how to:

  • Begin and finish seams securely
  • Complete four different stitches (including two different hemming stitches)
  • Attach buttons and affix other closures

Ginger Root has four Hand Sewing 101 classes on the calendar:

Each class is $50; registration is required and can be completed online. (Insider tip: Use discount code HANDSTITCHED at the online checkout to receive five dollars off your first class.) For more information on the sewing classes, call (202) 567- 7668 or visit the website.

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by Borderstan.com August 28, 2012 at 5:00 pm 0

From Rachel Nania. Check out her blog, Sear, Simmer & Stir. Follow Nania on Twitter @rnania, email her at rachel[AT]borderstan.com.

A week without DC’s soul-sucking August humidity is enough to have me say “sayonara” to summer, while running with open arms towards fall.

Yes, we can all finally look forward to a frizz-free hair and fewer melting makeup disasters, and embrace new pallet of colors, textures and styles. Yes, bring on the tweed, the corduroy and jeans! Oh, how I have missed my jeans…

But best of all, there is no need to venture to a suburban “mall” or even an overpriced designer storefront to find some of this season’s best looks — it’s all in the neighborhood. Here are some of this season’s trends worth checking out in the area.

Accessories

Neighborhood boutiques are overflowing with colorful, textured clutches and vibrant, chunky necklaces. One of my favorite finds is a tad-bit unconventional. Yes, it’s a Turkish bath towel — the perfect multi-purpose accessory that can be used as a scarf, a shawl or a fall picnic blanket at a local park or vineyard.

These great accessories are from Table Top (1608 20th Street NW), Lou Lou (1601 Connecticut Avenue NW), Redeem (1734 14th Street NW), Current Boutique (1809 14th Street NW) and Axis Salon (1509 Connecticut Avenue NW).

"Accessories"

Colorful, textured clutches and makeup bags. Makeup bag (top left) from Table Top. Clutches from Lou Lou. (Rachel Nania)

"Accessories"

Chunky, colorful necklaces from Redeem and Current Boutique. (Rachel Nania)


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Women’s Clothing

For early fall, women’s styles are trending towards comfortable patterned dresses (and chunky necklaces, above). Pair these with a pair of boots and a cardigan and you are set!

Men’s Clothing

Bold colors and traditional plaids, tweeds and prints are in for the gents. Here is an example of a show-stopping outfit from Ginger Root Design. Don’t forget to grab a comfortable, textured sweater for the chilly evenings, like this one from Redeem.

"

Get ready for Fall. (Rachel Nania)

Pictured: A patterned fall dress from Current Boutique pairs perfectly with a bold, colorful necklace; patterned fall dresses from Current Boutique; a bold men’s outfit from Ginger Root Design; a textured men’s sweater from Redeem.

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by Borderstan.com August 15, 2012 at 8:00 am 1,242 0

From Rachel Nania. Check out her blog, Sear, Simmer & Stir. Follow Nania on Twitter @rnania, email her at rachel[AT]borderstan.com. 

"sewing"

Ginger Root Design on U Street NW. (Luis Gomez Photos)

If the thought of learning to sew has you in stitches, don’t be so hard on yourself – consider starting from the beginning and learning from the experts.

Ginger Root Design – the U Street design shop and boutique – will offer two Hand Sewing 101 classes this month. These classes are perfect for sewing beginners or for more seasoned seamers interested in learning how to finish off projects with a professional touch.

“We have a ton of great customers who come into the shop and think, ‘What a fun thing, to learn how to sew.’ But before you break down and buy a sewing machine, we want people to learn the basics and make sure they actually like sewing,” said Kristen McCoy, co-owner of Ginger Root. “And if we convert those newbies into life-long sewers, we will expand our curriculum and offer more advanced classes.”

What Will You Learn?

During the classes, participants will learn how to:

  • Begin and finish seams securely
  • Complete four different stitches (including two different hemming stitches)
  • Attach buttons and affix other closures

The two classes will be offered on Tuesday, August 21 from 6:30 to 8:30 pm and on Thursday, August 30, from 7 to 9 pm. Each class is $50; registration is required and can be completed online. (Insider tip: Use discount code HANDSTITCHED at the online checkout to receive five dollars off your first class.) For more information on the sewing classes, call (202) 567- 7668 or visit the website.

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by Borderstan.com May 4, 2012 at 2:00 pm 0

"Borderstan""Ginger Root Design"

Ginger Root Design's new logo. (Luis Gomez Photos)

From Luis Gomez. Catch his photos on Picplz and at One Photograph A Day. Follow him on Twitter @LuisGomezPhotos.

Last week we spoke to Kristen Swenson, one of the owners of Ginger Root Design who gave us an update on the store’s expansion and invited us to celebrate Cinco de Mayo at the store tomorrow. The cause for celebration is the store’s expanded space along with a four-artist Trunk Show, from 3 to 7 pm.

The store, at its 1530 U Street NW location, is currently half shop and half sewing studio. But it will expand to fill the entire space, allowing them to carry even more locally made and eco-friendly goods. They have taken over the space upstairs which, after renovation, will be a floor devoted entirely to tailoring and design services.

“With the new sewing space, we will be able to hire the additional sewers we’ve needed, but just didn’t have enough room for. We are also taking the opportunity to update our branding, with a new Ginger Root Design logo,” said Swenson.

The show will include locally made goods from their newest artist Ciao Nina, alongside YB Green, Lauren Joan and Clara Cantor.

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by Borderstan.com January 5, 2012 at 10:00 am 1,445 0

"Borderstan""Ginger Root""U Street NW"

Ginger Root on U Street NW is owned by Kristen Swenson, top row right and bottom row left; and  Erin Derge, top right left and bottom row right. (Luis Gomez Photos)

Borderstan welcomes a new contributor, Mary El Pearce, who will be writing about small businesses in Borderstan. She also blogs about being a single girl in DC on her site, Cupcakes and Shoes. By day she works in public affairs, and the rest of her time is spent scouring Miss Pixie’s for vintage finds, indulging her sweet tooth at CakeLove and riding her bicycle around the neighborhood with her dog, Noli, in tow.

From Mary El Pearce.  Follow her on Twitter@CupcakesDC and email her at [email protected].

In this economy, you might think it’s crazy to start a business. The numbers show that only 50 percent of small businesses in the United States will make it after five years. On the other hand, 50 percent of small businesses survive, and that brings in an even larger percentage of new jobs and revenue to communities.

This may not be an enticing option for a lot of us Washingtonians, who are accustomed to the security of our government jobs, not to mention the illusion that each of us are saving (or at least impacting) the world with our super-impressive titles. But even here in DC, where power ties and sensible haircuts are non-negotiable staples to reach the next rung of the career ladder, some people are breaking the rules of fiscal conservatism, taking momentous risks, and starting businesses in a bad economy and a traditionally uptight city.

Profiles on Small Businesses

Twice a month I’ll be profiling these small business crusaders in hopes that you’ll not only visit them, but that you’ll be inspired by their drive, vision and courage. DC isn’t just about politics anymore — it’s about becoming something bigger than you were before you came here, and small business owners know this better than most.

Ginger Root Design

This week’s profile is on two ladies from the Midwest who have an affinity for local designs and vintage silhouettes and are teaching Washingtonians how to pull it off. They’ve passed the one-year mark as of September, and business is booming in their tiny U Street basement space. Owners and designers Kristen Swenson and Erin Derge “love to repurpose and show people how eco-friendly can be classy.” Whether it be a “Lady Tie” or custom made jewelry, Ginger Root‘s style will make you reconsider doing all your shopping at Ann Taylor.

Borderstan: How did the two of you meet and get into business together?

Swenson: We met in Minnesota at sewing school and became friends. I moved to DC with my now husband in September 2009 and worked as a waitress. A month later I took on a second job as the in-house seamstress at Treasury Vintage, and by November I started my own tailoring business (under the name of ReVamp) out of my apartment in the Shaw neighborhood. Three months later I needed an additional tailor and called up Erin in Minnesota. By the end of the conversation, Erin agreed to move out to DC within the month. We very quickly became busy with new customers and discovered our niche of repurposing old, forgotten items from people’s closets into their new “favorite” items.

Derge: After two months, it became clear we had outgrown our apartment-based tailoring shop. Once we both let it slip that we each had dreams of opening our own store, we accidentally set the bar a little higher. Very shortly thereafter, we found the perfect space and realized there was the slightest possibility of having our own store – the catch? We had to transform the space in six weeks… while still tailoring 60 hours a week each! So, though it was obviously a little crazy, we went for it, and thus Ginger Root Design was born.

Borderstan: How did you get into fashion design?

Derge: We both come from sewing backgrounds and both really enjoy fashion, so I guess it was more of a natural progression over the years. I think the disappointment of shopping in normal stores, whether it be poor fit or bad quality items, has inspired the extra attention to detail in our designs. We knew that we could do better and maintain a cool aesthetic.

Borderstan: Why did you bring your business to DC?

Swenson: The question we were faced with was why not? Life brought us both to DC, and there is a great community here that loves to shop locally and supports unique, eco-friendly goods.  We can’t really explain it, but it just seemed like the right thing to do.

Borderstan: What special meaning does “Ginger Root” hold for you?

Swenson: When we decided to open the store, we wanted to make sure it could be a home for our tailoring and clothing design and also a place to showcase up-and-coming local artists. The store became Ginger Root Design – two redheads getting back to the roots of handmade.

Borderstan: What challenges have you faced being a small business on in Borderstan?

Derge: I think our biggest challenge was that there weren’t enough hours in the day for us. When we first opened, we both did everything – we were the tailors, the designers, the seamstresses, the receptionists, the marketers, the shop girls and the owners of the business. We didn’t realize it was impossible to do all of that indefinitely and not break down. So, in order to preserve our sanity, we had to hire people. Now we have a good start at building our team. We have been faced with many learning experiences, some of which can be scary, but you just keep moving forward.

Borderstan: How do you see Ginger Root growing in the current market?

Swenson: As we continue to build out our sewing team, we would love to be more accessible in the tailoring community and revamp more people’s closets.  We’ve had a waiting list for our tailoring ever since we opened in September 2010, and we would love to help more people shop their closets and rework what they already have.  Once we have the people, we would love to expand.

Borderstan: Do you have any advice for other local fashion designers?

Derge: Keep designing, and wear your stuff, because you are your best calling card. DC has a great momentum right now where people have a hunger for local design, so just keep doing what you love.

Borderstan: What words of encouragement can you give to someone considering starting a small business?

Swenson: Don’t expect it be easy, but don’t let that discourage you!

Details

by Borderstan.com December 15, 2011 at 10:15 am 1,011 0

See LBD Always Okay; Color, Lace, Patterns Make You Fashion Forward from Kate on Monday… and Let’s Get Some Shoes (and Bags): Check Local Boutiques for Holidays from Laura on Wednesday.

From Eliza French. Follow her on Twitter @elizaenbref; email her at [email protected]

New Year’s is the one night of the year when it matters most to look your best. The more sartorially-minded among us recognize that where you are, who you’re with, and what you wear when the ball drops set the tone for the entire year to come.

"Borderstan""Junction""Coat"

At Junction: Short- haired ermine 1950s swing coat. Cuff can be worn rolled or unrolled. Size 8 – 12, $265. (Courtesy of Junction)

After Christmas shopping and time off of work, you might not be able to justify splurging on a new outfit for one night out. If that’s the case, try dressing up your basic, go-to party outfit with distinctive jewelry and bold accessories.

Think of jewelry and accessories as smaller investments with potentially bigger returns than a pricey pair of heels or designer dress. The right necklace, colorful belt or pair of vintage gloves will make you stand out in the crowd on New Year’s Eve and could even become your new signature piece in 2012.

"Borderstan""Jewlery""Treasury"

At Treasury: Long metallic chain necklaces with single charms, $52 – $128. (Eliza French)

Current Boutique, 1809 14th Street NW. At Current Boutique, gold, dangly earrings ($25.95 – $35.00) have been selling quickly this holiday season. The store also features statement necklace  ($48 – $62) and a pair of elbow-length black glove with crystal embellishment – ladylike charm meets New Year’s bling.

Some of the pieces are less unique, but they are also less than expensive than the handmade items at some other boutiques in the neighborhood.

As a cheaper option, you can buy someone this season’s trendier jewelry and accessories without having to worry that they might get lost on the dance floor somewhere between 2011 and 2012.

Ginger Root Design, 1530 U Streeet NW, Basement. Ginger Root Design is the perfect place to pick up one-of-a-kind jewelry. The boutique focuses on local artists with unique designs. For New Year’s, Ginger Root’s staff pointed me toward sparkling rings and pendant necklaces by Rachel Pfeffer ($92 – $173). Pfeffer works with materials like amethyst, pyrite, and drusy.

"Borderstan""Junction""Gloves"

At Junction: Gloves are making a comeback. (Eliza French)

Large, geometric earrings by Jennifer Jeremias ($65 – $90) were another stand-out. These handmade metal earrings look delicate, but are durable enough to take the wear-and-tear of fighting the New Year’s crowds. Finally, tangled metallic necklaces by Lauren Joan ($120 -$150) tie any look together and are appropriate for any occasion – from a night out on the town to a big meeting with your boss at the office.

Junction, 1510 U St NW. A wall display at this vintage boutique showcases several classic holiday styles with on-trend accents.  Store Manager Megan Gay highlighted a few key pieces that compliment a vintage-inspired ’50s silhouette and could add a retro touch to a contemporary outfit.

Like other neighborhood stores, Junction’s display of evening gloves suggests the ‘evening glove’ comeback. From black and wrist-length to winter white and elbow-length, gloves are easy and affordable ($28 – $36) items to add a bit of elegance to your look.

Gay also recommended the store’s selection of gold and emerald vintage jewelry for subtle New Year’s glitz. If you’re willing to spend more on a truly

"Borderstan""Treasury""Belts"

At Treasury: Colorful skinny belts are great for little black dresses, $18. (Eliza French)

distinctive piece, you can browse the collection of vintage fur ($98 – $215). Junction refurbishes gently-used furs, a material that Gay said can’t be recycled because of the chemicals applied during the tanning process. A rabbit-fur cape and a beige wooly jacket present dressier alternatives to that North Face puffer jacket.

Redeem, 1734 14th Street NW. Redeem carries a careful selection of edgy and distinctive jewelry, like the artisan SURevolution brand. Memorable items include necklaces ($95 – $125) and leather, stud, and suede cuff bracelets ($165).

Treasury, 1843 14th Street NW, second floor. This vintage shop tucked away upstairs next to Café Saint-Ex features a small selection of clothing, accessories, and jewelry, and offers a wealth of options for holiday wear. Saleswoman Joyce Guzowski noted that the shop’s collection of vintage brooches ($16 – $58) can make any outfit pop. Similarly, colorful skinny belts ($18) add festive sophistication to little black dresses or skinny jeans.

"Borderstan""jewlery""Rue 14"

At Rue 14: Long charm necklaces and chunky bracelets. (Eliza French)

Treasury, like Junction, has a few pairs of gloves in stock. Long metallic chain necklaces with a single over-size charm ($52-$128) have been popular lately, and Guzawski suggested using them as a bold statement piece for New Year’s Eve. Treasury also carries its own line of customizable rings, Lithics and the chunky metallic designs.

Stem, 1412 U Street NW. The tiny shop adjacent to DC Noodle stocks flower beaded rings ($18-$38), colorful beaded and woven cloth necklaces ($48 – $55) and delicate bead and wire bracelets that add a touch of whimsy  to the usual New Year’s glam. Knit scarves ($75 – $135), chunky knit or funky structural designs, are also a good way to accessorize a plain peacoat.

Rue 14, 1803A 14th Street NW. Rue 14 carries trendy, contemporary brands for both men and women. The store has the popular long charm necklaces ($49-$129) and chunky bracelets ($110).  For men, Mister Vintage cufflinks ($50) add a subtle special touch to a French-cuff shirt.

Lettie Gooch, 1517 U Street NW. Big, dangly earrings and long necklaces are your best bet here. These pieces are noticeable enough to embellish a simple black outfit, but are also easy to mix and match for more shine.

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