Category: Fashion & Shopping

Blond Genius Denim Bar—More Than Just Jeans (PHOTO GALLERY)

When Katie Whitson moved from Iowa to Bloomington to be closer to her family, she realized that many of her favorite clothing brands weren’t available here. She opened the first Blond Genius store outside of Iowa in Fountain Square Mall in December 2015. In August 2016, she relocated to Renwick Village Center.

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Lee Loves

Spring has sprung in Bloomington—the time of year when Mother Nature struts her stuff. The shelves of local retailers are burgeoning with merchandise that embraces the season and all it has to offer.

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1818 Apparel Co. Offering Eco-Friendly Clothes & Gifts

Every shirt with the label 30A Dumpster Diver is made from eight, 16-ounce plastic bottles retrieved from landfills. The hats and bags from Real Deal Brazil are made from repurposed heavy canvas trucking tarps. And the lip glosses, perfumes, and soaps from Columbus, Indiana-based Garb 2 Art are packaged in recycled materials.

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Opportunity House Celebrates 50 Years of Thrifty Style

Opportunity House was founded by a group of church ladies in 1968 to help low-income families with small children, but for five decades it has also been on the radar of Bloomingtonians looking for a fashionable bargain. The nonprofit resale shop, located in a rambling gray building at 907 W. 11th St., has several rooms stocked with donations of designer clothing, trendy accessories, vintage goods, jewelry, housewares, and books. Sales benefit the child care programs of Monroe County United Ministries (MCUM).

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Skirt & Satchel Targets City’s Young Professionals

Andy McManis says fashion has always been a big part of her life, from making her own clothes with her mother to working at a boutique that offered styling services for celebrity clients, including concert promoters, music video producers—even the World Music Awards. Now, as owner of Skirt & Satchel, McManis has brought her fashion sense to Bloomington, targeting the city’s young professionals. 

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Bloomington Hardware: Offering Services an Online Store Can’t

As the owner of Bloomington Hardware, Vickie Davison says she’s been competing with big box stores and the internet for years. “But Bloomington really celebrates local businesses,” she says. “And that’s huge, because it doesn’t matter what the business is, if people don’t shop there, then that business will close.” Still, she points out that being a brick-and-mortar hardware store carries one advantage: “If you need a plunger, you need it now.” 

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Gifts for the Kids in Your Life

O’Child Children’s Boutique, on the south side of the downtown Square at 101 W. Kirkwood, features upscale clothing, toys, and books sourced from manufacturers in the United States and around the world. When mother-of-two Hyun Kwon heard the Fountain Square Mall store was closing last year, the former customer became the new owner, and reopened the business in June.

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Beidler Made Books Hand-Made the Age-Old Way

Twenty-first century products are typically mass-produced, manufactured from man-made materials, and designed to be disposable. In contrast, Brien Beidler’s books are made in the manner of a pre-industrial bookbinder—they’re handcrafted from natural materials, and they’re meant to last. 

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My Sister’s Closet: Bargains for a Cause (PHOTO GALLERY)

Many Bloomington residents know My Sister’s Closet as a place to find bargains on gently used women’s clothing and accessories. What some might not know is that it’s more than a resale shop—it’s also a nonprofit organization that helps women achieve economic self-sufficiency.   

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Gather Moves to New Space in Storefront on the Square

When Athena, a long-time Bloomington establishment located on the downtown Square, closed in the spring, Talia Halliday was disappointed. But as the owner of Gather, a shop featuring the handmade work of more than 250 local and regional artists, Halliday also saw an opportunity.

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How Finding Rare Books Became Artist Dale Steffey’s Profession

Dale Steffey is one of the rare few who has managed to turn his passion into a profession. A couple of times. The 65-year-old native of Shelbyville, Indiana, came to Bloomington to study at Indiana University, and graduated in 1975 with a degree in secondary education. However, he was working at Trilogy Gallery in Nashville, Indiana, when he became interested in the art of stained glass—and in artist Dawn Adams, who became his wife. So instead of teaching, he worked with Adams as a glass artist for 30 years.

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