Environmental consciousness is a built-in feature for shops that purvey vintage clothing. Shop owner Crystal Early looks for classic, durable vintage garments with natural fibers—cotton, silk, linen. There is no polyester in her stock of statement dresses, blouses, and timeless casual wear.
Early, who worked for the U.S. government for many years, is using her retirement funds to finance her business. In addition to her shop on first Street, she sells her wares once a month at the Rose Bowl Flea Market. In addition to vintage clothing, Early creates distinctive garments utilizing rice bags and flour sacks.
“It’s a tradition that’s been carried on since the depression when women made clothing out of flour sacks because of the fabric shortage,” said Early. “It’s emblematic of making the best with what you have, but the garments are very chic. We’ve sold lots of pieces recently. We have open-back pieces, pagoda sleeves….yet you could garden in these clothes. They’re very practical, with resilient fabric, but you can also go out on the town…..You’re certainly going to stand out if you’re wearing a fitted dress that’s made of rice sacks.”
It was Early who summoned her eco-conscious business brethren for a group discussion about business practices and getting their Earth-friendly word out to the community.
“We want to have a conversation to match the energy of new people coming in, people willing to be there for the community, collaborate and help each other,” said Early.