Époque Évolution epitomizes the growing wave of thoughtful fashion. Chic. Versatile. Created from eco-friendly fabrics. Responsibly made in ethical factories. Designed to be worn for decades, these are clothes for life that look terrific over time. Just as cool as the clothes are the two founders, Nancy Taylor and Hannah Franco. Both former designers at Athleta, they transformed their love of technical fabrics and clean lines into a luxuriously wearable womenswear line that could perform well in life. Think super-soft wools that are machine washable, high-style trousers you can sleep (comfortably) in on a red-eye flight, or a perfect little black dress that wears like athleisure and looks like a million bucks. The new Jet Set Trouser — which looks and wears like an ultra comfortable legging — is a great example of the clothing's multifunctionality. On one hand, the material is entirely opaque (finally, leggings that truly are not see-through), and the cut would look terrific in a boardroom. On the other hand, you can swim in the material, it's quick to dry (so you can wash it on the go), the material is 50 UPF, shielding you from the sun, and it's made by an OEKO-TEK certified mill (meaning the material is free from chemicals that are harmful to your skin and to the environment).
Époque Évolution keeps its inventory intentionally low and "we have small, efficient runs so we don't create waste," explained Taylor. "Another example of how we reduce waste is to use seamless technology for our sweater tees so they are knitted to shape." You can learn more about its responsible fashion practices on the website. The brand currently carries sizes 0-16 but will be adding petites and possibly extended sizes in the near future.
As the brand grew, the founders want to hear from shoppers. "We want this to be a two way conversation," said Taylor. The Bay Area duo doesn't have plans to open a brick and mortar but wants instead to connect with customers online and through pop-ups. The founders invite East Bay retailers who would like to host a Époque Évolution pop-up to reach out. Furthermore, "we want customers to get to know us. Check out our website and come meet us at one of our pop-ups." Besides shopping for the great clothes at the pop-ups, customers learn a big part of the fun is learning firsthand about the loving detail that's gone into each item. These ladies love fashion design, and it shows. www.EpoqueEvolution.com.
Enjoy the benefits of shopping local — while enjoying the ease of shopping online with same-day home delivery — through IAmLocal. It's a new retail delivery service for the East Bay. The easy-to-use IAmLocal website allows shoppers to search real-time inventory of their favorite local boutiques and then purchase items online. Shoppers can either pick up the items in the store (for free) or have the items delivered on the same day to their home or office for a nominal fee (think cost of food delivery). Delivery fees are transparent prior to purchase. You can also use the website as a way to pre-game what different stores have in stock before you shop in person. Already 55 retailers — including Oaklandish, Flax Art & Design, Mischief, and more — are partnered with the site.
Co-founders Ashesh Patel (owner of the now-shuttered but much-loved Hatch gift shops) and Sanjay Garje are East Bay residents who see all too clearly the challenges that online shopping giants create for small, local businesses and their communities. "When local shops go out of business, everything from schools to infrastructure to roads are impacted," Garje said. "By making it easy for people to shop local, we are also able to help our community." And when $68 of every $100 spent locally stays within the community, Garje said, the positive impacts of shopping local add up fast. In addition to the financial power of shopping local, most local store owners curate and carry products that you can't find from large, online retailers. Shopping local is special and unique.
The IAmLocal site blends Garje's tech know-how with Patel's retail savvy to create an online marketplace platform that benefits both shoppers and businesses. "It takes an enormous amount of effort for an independent retailer to maintain an e-commerce site," said Patel. This platform takes the pressure off having to keep an online store updated. "We want to have as many merchants and retailers as possible on the platform. Everybody in the village is what makes the village," Patel said. The duo recognize how precious time is for retailers and stated that the goal is to be easy and frictionless as they bring new businesses on board. To that end, IAmLocal provides full automation, and there is no upfront cost to retailers. If you'd like to have your goods available for purchase through IAmLocal, email firstname.lastname@example.org. As for you, local shoppers, rejoice. You can now shop local while lying in bed, because all your shopping needs will be handled at www.IAmLocal.io.
Curated Alameda, a vintage and high-end furniture and design store, opened its doors on Park Street in 2019. Owner Bradley Long curates the space with mid-century and high-design pieces from the United States, Denmark, Scandinavia, and Europe and focuses on providing them at accessible prices. Curated Alameda also fixes, repairs, and refinishes furniture.
"I like to say that we rescue a lot of things that might have ended up in a landfill when all that was needed was a repair," said Long.
You'll also find lounge chairs, sofas, desks, dressers, credenzas, Danish wall units, 20th-century art, dining tables, lighting, and unique items of decor.
"When buying authentic vintage you get three things," explained Long, "craftsmanship, quality materials, and longevity. For example, we have a 1964 Eames lounge and ottoman in now that look just as good as they did 55 years ago."
Long comes by vintage furniture from an artistic career. He studied film and then worked as a TV actor for two years in a 1990s series called Dangerous Women. Subsequent sales work led him to working with furniture and design stores and he started to sell, collect, and design furniture of his own on his days off. The (now closed) VINTIQ Collective invited Long to join their collective retail space, and when the business shut down, Long had the opportunity to take over the old Lee's Auto Supply on Park Street. "The location was in quite a state of disrepair," Long said, "but it was a great opportunity, so I took my life savings and went for it. It took almost five months to get it ready for retail." The grand opening was in April. Long is excited to share his furniture finds with you. Head to Curated Alameda for your home design needs at 1523 Park St., Alameda, 510-859-7686, www.CuratedAlameda.com.
Clothes from Époque Évolution are made for a lifetime (photo courtesy Époque Évolution). Curated in Alameda has cool vintage finds (photo courtesy Curated).