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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Desert Vintage opens time capsule of fashion for shoppers

    Alex McIntyre

    Desert Vintage is a boutique on Fourth Avenue. The vintage clothing hot-spot is open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on most days and carries an eclectic range of fashion.

    Step back into a time when the fashion was classy and elegant. Vintage clothing is a style that keeps evolving into new trends and does not require you to live in the era it comes from to wear it. 

    Desert Vintage, a clothing store on Fourth Avenue, allows customers to explore apparel that derives from the earlier years of fashion but still remains in the modern fashion trends. A customer can find a range of clothes and accessories, including a 1940s mint chiffon gown, a 1920s silk embroidered blouse, an antique tribal necklace and a 1940s Mexican bracelet. 

    The store’s owner, Salima Boufelfel, said the clothes the shop carries are “timeless and quality pieces.” She added that having quality clothing is what she aims for when buying clothes for the shop.

    “We look for a timeless sense of style. We like clothing that could work on either a man or a woman, so a kind of androgynous clothing,” Boufelfel said. “Quality is a big deal for us. We usually do high-end, quality items, and we don’t do a lot of synthetic fabric. Other than that it’s just what catches our eye and what we’re drawn to.” 

    Her partner in ownership, Roberto Cowan, said although the clothes are vintage and come from a certain time, they still aim to dress the everyday, modern woman. 

    “We like to present things that are very wearable as far as everyday life,” Cowan said. “Every time we present vintage, it’s not totally from the era as far as looking as though you are coming out of a movie set—we like to dress things up for a modern woman, so we do carry gowns and we do carry high-end pieces, but its more classic-chic as far as something from the ’40s that’s going to present itself nowadays and still be very relevant.”

    Desert Vintage originally opened in the early ’70s, and both Cowan and Boufelfel were given the opportunity to take ownership of the store in 2012. The two were patrons of the store, and Boufelfel explained she also had a relationship with the owner at the time, who knew that they wanted to open up a store of their own. 

    “She approached us and asked us if we would be interested in purchasing the shop,” Boufelfel said. “We thought it was a good opportunity at the time, seeing that’s where interests lied, and we were working in fashion, so it made sense,” Cowan said. “The opportunity presented itself, so we went for it.” 

    Cowan added it was a “happy accident” to get the offer from the owner. The duo had been planning on opening up a store when they returned to Tucson after living in Paris.

    Boufelfel and Cowan said they believe what they bring to the avenue is something very special, and even in this modern world, vintage will never be out of style. 

    Boufelfel said that vintage style “naturally appeals to men and women who are into fashion.” She also said that the store has a very classic environment and contains a variety of items, including old Americana and ethnic items. 

    Desert Vintage does not attempt to target a certain audience, just those who love fashion and exploring their personal style. 

    What makes Desert Vintage stand out from the rest is the intimacy of the store and the ability to appreciate each piece of clothing. 

    Cowan said the size of the store allows them to display a smaller collection to their customers, and added that he feels they respond well to the merchandise that is “narrowed down.” Customers can also expect to see new displays of the clothing at the windows and inside the store. 

    Cowan said, because of the small size of their store, the duo works to make the atmosphere accommodating. He said they work to display items in windows and on walls. Cowan also said they constantly try to showcase new items in hopes of creating a surprise for shoppers on every visit to the store. 

    “We’re kind of like a museum you can shop in. We love to carry very special things, and I think people who have great imaginations can come in and just think about where that piece of clothing has been,” Cowan said. “We like to carry pieces that you can look at and think, ‘Wow, I wonder where that piece has been.’”

    Follow Erika Parra on Twitter.

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