Shopping in Fremont’s Funky ‘Downtown’
This funky strip is truly the center of the universe for vintage wear and statement accessories.
By Seattle Mag
August 22, 2012
Start on Fremont Place North and Lenin (that would be the statue, not a street) and head southeast a block to embrace your saucy side at (1) Bellefleur, Jennifer Manuel Carroll’s charming lingerie boutique. Carroll is an expert at fitting and knows her merchandise thoroughly—which includes flirty panties and push-up bras ($18–$120). (Psst: Bellefleur also offers after-hours shopping events for private parties.)
The ever-revolving window displays next door at hip boutique (2) Bliss draw in shoppers, who delight in Neil Silverman and John Tseng’s posh accessories (such as a glitzy petite knuckle clutch, $68), breezy tunic tops and a wide array of beauty products.
Cross Fremont Avenue N and step into Stephanie Hara’s clothing and accessories goldmine, (3) Show Pony. A longtime supporter of local designers, Hara fills her racks with a who’s who of the Seattle scene: Suzabelle frocks ($80–$150), Daly Bird leather earrings ($28–$55) and Prairie Underground’s soft cotton hoodies (starting at $230).
Next, head underground to the classic Fremont Vintage Mall, where former Capitol Hill favorite (4) Atlas Clothing has found a new home for its vintage apparel, which ranges from 1930s flapper chic to the loud 1970s hippie styles, with prices hovering around $50.
Just up the block at Silverman and Tseng’s other Fremont boutique, (5) Dream, statement pieces with longevity rule, such as coral linen blazers and soft cashmere sweaters (priced near $200).
Now located in the former Tininha space on 35th, (6) Lamb’s Ear is the place for both fun (say, A Détacher pearl pointed toe heels with a minty suede ankle tie, $435) and funky shoes (such as Plomo coral ankle boots with a wraparound ankle buckle, $286).
Sometimes you shop for the gal you want to be (polished and eloquent, yet laid-back and carefree); that mythical woman would be covered in merchandise from the (7) Thistle Accessoire, (8) Essenza and (11) Les Amis (shown above) boutique trio. All owned by Becky Buford, the shops radiate easy confidence from their rustic, shabby-chic spaces. We covet Essenza’s dainty statement jewels, the soft, supple frocks from all-stars such as Gary Graham at Les Amis and Thistle’s print scarves.
Classic elegance exudes from longtime neighborhood staple (9) Merge; owner Patricia Wolfkill recently introduced luxe, supple leather Cowboys bags from the Netherlands ($250–$300).
Is it any surprise that (10) Burnt Sugar, with a giant rocket attached to its roof, would house an eclectic selection of wares ranging from cheerful printed Orla Kiely handbags ($95-$280) to Van Gogh kids’ books ($6.95) and Jonathan Adler cat salt and pepper shakers ($48)? As owner Kathy Faulk celebrates 15 years in business, she continues to delight and surprise.
Around the corner next door to Les Amis, snag an ironic T-shirt (long live Sunset Bowl!) at (12) Destee-nation, then head back toward 36th to Susie Jarvis’ Western-inspired (13) Vintage Angel Company. The year-and-a-half-old vintage basement boutique is perfect for country girls, boho chicks or anyone who enjoys pairing colorful cowboy boots (often sold for $20!) with a peasant frock.
Beauty bonus: Get bold balayage highlights without torching your budget at (15) Cristy Carner Salon; stylist Sydney Frey offers the super-popular French technique—which adds depth, dimension and a sun-kissed finish to your locks—for the same price as foils, a deal at $140, compared to the normal $200-plus price tag.
Park and go
Plentiful two-hour parking is available both north and south of 36th between Lenin and Cristy Carner’s corner on First Avenue NW; we head north on Francis, Dayton or Evanston for non-metered, easy-to-find spots.
This bustling little neighborhood draws legions on Sundays as the Flea Market sets up along 34th Street next to the farmers market; in addition to furniture and décor, vintage frocks, old boots and funky macramé handbags abound.