Western Avenue isn’t yet known as a shopping street for fashion (for worldly gorgeous rugs, sleek European furniture, and awesomely ingenious kitchen solutions: that’s another story) but Jill Wenger is working on changing that. Come September 15, her hugely successful Fremont boutique Impulse will join her second storefront, Totokaelo (it comes from a Latin term that means “everything under the heavens,” and the “l” is silent, folks) on Western between Madison and Marion.
Key to Wenger’s success is her international clientele. Totokaelo’s online counterpart, totokaelo.com has, in the year or so since its launch, put Seattle on the map in a whole new way. Shoppers from Spain, Belgium, New Zealand, and Ballard become members on the site and complete public profiles about signature pieces and style icons while shopping for global designers like Yohji Yamamoto, Isabel Murant, and Maison Martin Margiela. (Used to be you had to become a member, as of this June you may choose not to; you won’t be privy to special sales, but you can shop and browse without a profile.) It’s like a fashion-obsessed Facebook, and 30% of the users are outside the United States.
Why do women in Barcelona and Brooklyn visit — virtually at least — Seattle to shop for artfully draped dresses and clever cardigans that are abundantly available in their home cities? Yeah, I asked Jill that, too.
“It doesn’t take a shortage of supply to create demand for Totokaelo,” she says. Styling (photographers like Charlie Schuck snap loyal shoppers and mover-and-shaker types, as above – and yes, you do recognize Linda D – in Wenger’s edgy, elegantly engineered outfits) and user experience (it feels exclusive and inclusive all at once) fuel the need, the clicks, and the worldwide community.
Impulse’s southern migration will make it easier for Wenger and her crew to handle domestic and international shipping as well as you, the drop-in shopper in search of the avant-garde, and also the photo shoots that have become so integral to the brands’ allure.
But wait – what makes it easier for you to join in the celebration of all this is a giant sale tomorrow afternoon.
On Thursday Sept 3 from 4 to 7p, all sale merchandise from both stores will be gathered at Totokaelo and marked down an additional 20% off. This event will not be under-attended, un-exciting, or an un-excellent opportunity for style spotting or, duh, deal-acquiring. In other words: Don’t sleep on it.
In conjunction with Fashion First, ten percent of proceeds will benefit The Starlight Children’s Foundation of Washington.