Tired of the same-ol’ shops that sell the same stuff purchased at market? Change up your style by visiting these local boutiques that carry a variety of imports from as far away as Japan, Argentina and Denmark.
This new kid on the block is filled with unique fashion and housewares for both men and women that will get people asking, “Where in the world did you get that?” Owner Lucy Jolis stocks independent labels from New York and California, along with imports from around the globe, lending a modern bohemian vibe to the tiny shop. “It’s timeless stuff I like,” Jolis says. A groovy chair made with plant fibers by Leon Leon (Mexico) sits in the corner across from an assortment of woven pillows (Morocco, Turkey) and Turkish bath towels that are light enough to be worn as a wrap. You’ll also find embroidered leather dog collars (Argentina), kente cloth bowties (Ghana) and woven Bone & Stone men’s shorts (Guatemala) that could be worn on the beach or, well, anywhere in Austin.
“It’s Scandinavian design meets Japanese simplicity,” says Nannie Inez owner Deeyn Rhodes, describing the printed polyester trash containers by OYOY (Denmark) she sells. The same phrase could be used to describe her one-year-old shop, filled with the next midcentury-inspired housewares and home accessories, evolved for the current millennium. Rhodes favors European designers you won’t find easily in Texas. She sells colorful nesting trays that you can mix and match like a puzzle made by Hay (Denmark), cushions with whimsical geometric designs by Donna Wilson (United Kingdom), cute notebooks by Noritake (Japan) and socially conscious bath products by Stop the Water While Using Me! (Germany). Why would you ever go to IKEA again?
Europhiles love Kick Pleat. It’s one of Austin’s standbys for that outfit you want to wear, like, tonight. Owner Wendi Koletar keeps her racks freshly filled with simple, ready-to-wear pieces, such as Sophie D’Hoore’s (Belgium) gorgeous yet minimal shift dresses, trendy coats by Sisii (Japan) and sexy leather pants made by Acne (Sweden). Kick Pleat also carries some unusual finds: on a recent trip to France, Koletar picked up several authentic vintage army jackets and sold them each for a mere $180. This spring, expect to see new lines by PB 0110 (Germany), Studio Nicholson (United Kingdom) and Marlota (Spain) — just to name a few designers Koletar deems cool for 2014.
Mercury is known locally for its sophisticated gifts, furnishings and unique accessories — but it’s the shop’s international imports that keep us coming back. Where else in Austin will you find a midcentury Danish chair covered with Tibetan lamb’s wool? Right now we’re loving Mercury’s baroque African ceremonial beads, gorgeous Bengali quits made with a kantha running stitch and tiny metallic coin purses from Venice, made by the same company for 150 years.
How do hip young women from South America dress? Step inside Maga La Boheme to find out. Austin transplant Mariela Webber, who opened the store in January, carries several lines from her native country, Argentina, as well as from Brazil and the United States. It’s “city style” clothing for women, Webber says, with a twist of rock and roll. Think short, colorful and sequined dresses paired with chunky jewelry and leather accessories. This fall she has sweet frocks by Zinco do Brazil and Moreno Rosa (Brazil), bohemian leather bags by Peppina (Argentina) and lots of silver jewelry from Buenos Aires that you can imagine Stevie Nicks wearing. We’re looking forward to trying on sumptuous leather jackets Webber hopes to bring in this fall.