July 16, 2008 (RALEIGH, NC) — Some people love the flattering styles, high-quality fabrics and meticulous detailing. Others appreciate the history and the impact the designers made on the fashion industry. Still others see it as another way to live “green” by recycling yesterday’s clothes rather than buying new.
Whatever the reason, vintage clothing from the 1930s through the ‘70s has become widely popular. And collector/vendor Cecelia Murphy of Raleigh intends to offer Triangle area fans a gold mine of pristine vintage apparel at Purple Armchair, an emerging marketplace in the heart of downtown Raleigh on West Street.
Her current inventory at Purple Armchair includes women’s dresses, pants, skirts and blouses, and a collection of men’s shirts that have been pressed and packaged as if they were brand-new. Prices are moderate, ranging from $10 to $50. Sizes run from extra small to extra large.
“We’re delighted to have Cecelia’s vintage clothes among our inventory,” said Patrick Lawton who owns and operates Purple Armchair, an open market and membership association of artists, craftspeople and other vendors of unique merchandise. “With our careful attention to merchandising and interaction with customers, her items are selling very well.”
According to Murphy, seven of her dresses sold in the first seven days of her membership.
“I started with Purple Armchair because it gives people who have some entrepreneurial energy a chance to open up for business on a small scale, without assuming the risks of the entire retail space, marketing, staffing, etc.,” she said.
“I approached Patrick with some bravado, not hinting that I’d never sold vintage before. He took a leap of faith on me, and I think we are both glad he did. Since I started, the staff has been so supportive. They even providing me with a new spiral clothing rack — which are hard to find and not cheap!. They are encouraging and flexible, and their enthusiasm about the store is contagious and inspires confidence.”
Purple Armchair also carries handmade clothing and jewelry, Mid-century and Danish modern furniture, antiques, pottery, tableware, and fine art, among other items.
“There’s a great synergy in the store among all the different items for sale,” Murphy said, “which are professionally arranged for merchandising by an interior designer. Patrick likes to refer to ‘props,’ which is an apt term, because with all that space, you can really get almost theatrical in your presentation.”
Purple Armchair is a member of the Downtown Raleigh Alliance, DowntownRaleigh.com, and First Friday Art Walk. Business hours are Wednesday-Saturday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sunday noon to 5 p.m. (closed Monday and Tuesday). For more information, including membership opportunities, visit http://www.purplearmchair.com.