Wear local: Profiling local clothiers

Many years ago, when I was in my longhair days and living off clean air and hopefulness and not much else, a leatherworker friend gave me a bag of leather scraps. The pieces were in all different colors and pretty, so I started to use them to patch my favorite pair of blue jeans, which were fraying at the knees.

Over time, the pants frayed in other areas, but rather than toss them out I just kept patching, and before long I owned a colorful pair of leather harlequin trousers that lasted for quite a while, given my amateur stitching.

That was my one and only experience with making my own clothing, but it gave me an appreciation of the pleasure to be found in doing so—and then in wearing what I’d made.

Some people enjoy designing and making clothes so much they do it for a living. In this issue of our monthly business publication focusing on the “Shop Local” movement, we showcase four Chico women who design, make and sell—and wear themselves—unique clothing items that are extraordinary.

We also profile three locally owned clothing stores that have managed to survive and prosper for many years, despite the competition from corporate outlets. The secret of their success: in a word, service. They know their customers and will do whatever it takes to make them happy with their purchases.

All of these people—those who make clothing and those who sell it—are involved in an intimate relationship with their community. That’s what the “Buy local” movement is all about: Doing business with the people you live among, sharing the wealth among those who share your love for and concern for Chico and its residents.

We’re not saying people shouldn’t shop at the mall or one of the big-box stores. That would be hypocritical of us. We go to Costco and Sears sometimes. But what we encourage readers to do is to think of the value of shifting some—or as much as possible—of their shopping to locally owned stores. It’s good for Chico, which means it’s good for all of us.