Remember When

Style Rewind: Local Designers, Seattle Shopping, and the Style that Shaped 2014

Deborah Roberts, Zara, Laura Cassidy, Suk Chai, Far 4, Your Feast Has Ended, Gary Howse, and dozens of other people, places, and things that defined last year

By Amanda Zurita January 6, 2015

We felt supercharged, gold-clad and airy last spring; artsy, elegant, and mashed-up in the fall. We wore textured joggers, blinding neons, dope sunglasses, and sneakers with...well pretty much everything.

Hang back in 2014 for a moment as we take one last look at the designers, boutiques, looks and news that styled our city last year. 


After breaking the news way back in 2013, we kicked off last February with the Zara opening frenzy. There was a great party, an even better video by Carmen Daneshmandi, and then it all faded into just another place to shop Downtown. Say what you will about fast fashion, knock-off drama, et al, but the Zara opening is another example of Seattle pinging the radar on a global scale. Big brands (DVF, GucciBluemercury, Scotch and Soda, Moncler) are taking notice of our corner. Just don't forget all your local shopkeepers!

(Still no Uniqlo ... even though our web traffic indicates that you all are holding out hope. We'll keep checking and crossing fingers/ordering online in the new year.)

Zara welcomed shoppers with spring-ready yellows back in February.

First Ave and Virginia became a big-deal shopping corner (who would have guessed?) after Jack Straw reopened next to Baby and Co in March, and Design Within Reach expanded in July. Butch Blum also moved last year, into a modern new space conveniently close to our Restaurant of the Year.

And if we were to name a Retail Destination of the Year, it's Pioneer Square. Boutiques are catching up with restaurant openings in the old/new 'hood with shops like Velouria and Clementine relocating there. West Seattle's Fleurt added a second location in PS, and newcomer Calisea is on Yesler. 

We had many other new neighbors: 8telier, Haute Hibou, Sticks and Stones, Bait, Blue Snow Montana, Pipe and Row, Fjällräven, and Chome Industries. Liten joined the Les Amis family in Fremont. Sub Pop opened a record store at Sea-Tac Airport. We fell in love with stylish rain gear and accessories at Freeman on Capitol Hill.

And there was Moorea Seal, who opened her namesake cool and airy accessories shop in Belltown with the goal of becoming the next Oprah.

Of all the store closings, we were the most heartbroken to see Far 4 shutter. Owner Jenny Klimenkoff bid adieu to the First Ave shop in July, leaving us at a loss to fill that undefined, clever, ahead-of-its-time retail void. Luckily we ran into Klimenkoff at the Little Green House Popup in December—the company name is now Farfour and I don't think we've seen the last of the charming porcelains, taxidermy creations, and vintage scores

Generally, the openings to closings ratio this year was in the retail market's favor. Call it a comeback.

Speaking of popups. WHOA, December. We covered a total of 16 different popups around town. Totally crazy. And exciting. And a testament to the wonderful, supportive scene of makers and doers around here.

If we were to name an Item of the Year for last year, it was Homefield's 12th Man sweatshirt at Tarboo. The store could hardly keep them in stock, only to be bolstered by a Super Bowl win.

There is such thing as a stylish sports fan (see also: Ebbets Field Flannels)

Finally—and don't get me wrong here ... I love my Alexander Wang x H&M scuba pants—I'd say that by 2014 we were over the big-time designer collaboration. Altuzarra and Peter Pilotto x Target left much to be desired. What even happened with Kate Moss x Topshop? But what we do hope to see more of: local collabs like Seattle artist Peter Robinson's Converse collection and that time Macklemore teamed up with Ebbets.


It's true that third time's a charm. Not to say that prior Independent Designer Runway Showcases weren't stellar, but IDRS hit its stride in September with 10 designers who really showed up this year. See more on them below.

Also, WHOA September. We renamed it Runway Month and even made a flowchart to help manage the bevy of fashion shows around town.

Nordstrom Designer Preview brought some of the best sartorial people-watching in July. Famed, formerly local photographer Adam Katz Sinding of Le 21eme showed up to document the city turning it out, leaving us with an exclusive slide show of arrival style that rivaled the runway that night.

Seattle Met Bride and Groom hosted the second annual First Look boutique wedding show. The warm rooftop afternoon at the Fremont Foundry had many couples (even those without a ring on it) dreaming up summer receptions.

Moving from fashion shows to art-meets-fashion shows, something I love about this city (something you don't always get in a New York or a Los Angeles) is that the line between the style people and the art people doesn't really exist in Seattle.

Last year we saw the crossover, both locally and in a big-show way, with Beauty and Blackness at M.I.A. gallery, A World of Paper, A World of Fashion (started in 2013 but running through February 2014) at Bellevue Art Museum, Your Feast Has Ended at the Frye, Seattle fashion history lectures at MOHAI, and more.

Perhaps as an homage, we shot our fall fashion feature in the Frye's founding collection.

Wait! Wait! Don't Shoot (An Incantation for Jazz and Trayvon) by Maikoiyo Alley-Barnes at the Frye's Your Feast Has Ended

Love City Love hosted its last show in the Capitol Hill multipurpose space—like Far 4, an ahead-of-its time venue that played home to popup shops, fashion shows, photo shoots, and chic gallery shows. The pioneer venue had a short stint in Georgetown and has since found a home, albeit temporary, on Eastlake. 

Sierra Stinson (named one of Seattle Met's 50 Most Influential People in Seattle in 2013) also evolved her innovative project, Vignettes, where she hosted one-night galleries in her home. The final show wrapped in December and Stinson is now focused on Vignettes Collection, an online gallery and store to promote underrepresented artists on an even larger scale.


The biggest individual news (at least around our office): the late-September departure of long-time Seattle Met style editor and Seattle Met Bride and Groom editor-in-chief Laura Cassidy, who now lends her off-beat eye and clever copy to Nordstrom as the company's new blogs editor. I don't know that I've ever been able to eloquently express what a force—a true champion and a visionary—Laura was (and still is!) as an editor and tastemaker. During the "reply-all" email frenzy that spread around during her last weeks, colleagues shared sentiments like, "There are boutiques that are still alive because Laura supported them," and that she "changed the way the city thinks about itself." All true.

We are excited to see the natural progression of her well-deserved growth, and are looking forward to her coverage as she takes on Fashion Week in New York and beyond this spring. We also miss seeing what she's wearing every day.

Read her final Seattle Met piece: Why I Don't Think Seattle is Fashionable

Which brings us to me (on my phone in the photo below). After working alongside Laura for over two years as assistant style editor, I've stepped into her editoral shoes with the goals of building on that forward-looking legacy, continuing to support Seattle shops and designers, and uplifting our corner's unique sartorial sensibilities. 

Former Seattle Met style editor Laura Cassidy, and her successor Amanda Zurita at July's Nordstrom Designer Preview show.

At IDRS, Deborah Roberts nudged out the tough competition with her surreal, well-made collection, Silvae. She wasn't the only one to make waves. Tom Orodonio had a red carpet debut when Hollis Wong Wear sported his sexy, blinged-out dress at the BMI Hip-Hop Awards. April Pride hung out at the Four Seasons. And the rest of the talent is facing custom orders and more creative expansion.

And the Designer of the Year not present at IDRS: Suk Chai. After 14 years at Nordstrom, Chai launched her own line, christened Schai, early last year. The collection is warm, modern, structural, and thoughtfully constructed. We'd wear every piece all day all the time. 

It was also a great year for local jewelry and accessories from lines and shops like Pine and Boon, Schmancy, Joanna Morgan, Carolina Wallin, Jamie Joseph, and Baleen

Sadly, it wasn't a year without loss. Seattle hair designer and cofounder of Gary Manuel Salon, Gary Howse passed away in the fall. He was, both directly and indirectly, responsible for the skills behind some of the city's best stylists, and we will continue to see his legacy on the well-coiffed heads of chic Seattleites everywhere.

We haven't forgotten Annie Vizenor. The Ballard High School junior inspired us when she confronted the administration on the gender inequality and victim blaming she saw stemming from the school's dress code policy.

Our city also played host to some interesting visitors. Sarah Jessica Parker and the Jenner girls caused quite the frenzy at the Nordstrom flagship (people camping outside, beefed up security guards, and all that). The Downtown location also welcomed Charlotte Olympia, Erin Fetherston, and, perhaps the most unexpected visitor of the year, 50 Cent. Across Lake Washington, Kate Spade stopped by Nordstrom Bellevue and Derek Lam talked spring fashion at Neiman Marcus.

Diane von Furstenburg surprised us all with her insider Seattle knowledge, and we fell even harder for her during the most candid, charming appearance at Elliott Bay Books where she was interviewed by Laura Cassidy and shared that her favorite part of being a woman was that she "wasn't a man." DVF, please move here.

Oh, and Yoko Ono called us

In closing, for us at Seattle Met, for myself in particular, and, yeah, for the city as a whole: 2014 was a year of change and revitalization and growth

I look to our 2014 spring fashion feature as the embodiment of this electric and palpable energy coming out of Seattle's style scene. I hope you feel it too, and I can't wait to see how we all ride that charge into the new year.

How are some of the city's best dressed putting it on in 2015? Look forward with our roundup of Style Resolutions.