Nestled in an old house next to the local popular coffee shop Bongo Java in Belmont is the brand new location of Local Honey. If you loved them before you will love them even more now. With more space and a newly decorated shop, inspired by old war bunkers, Local Honey is the place to go for local designers like Jamie & the Jones, Tidwell & Perryman and White Rabbit all making appearances at Lexus Nashville Fashion Week. Make sure and check out the shoe wall in the back next to the spacious white dressing rooms. Last time I was there I saw some stunning Frye boots. Too bad they were not my size or they would be on my shoe wall at home. We recently caught up with Owner Shea Steele to ask her the usual questions.
The original concept for the store was simply to provide good, on-trend clothing for good prices. No one in Nashville at the time was catering to a young, fashionable demographic, or to the weak of wallet, so I wanted to step up and do it myself! The best way to keep the price point down was to go used, and my enthusiasm about local design, art, and handmades rounded out the inventory and increased the one-of-a kind appeal. That concept is still 100% intact.
How do you like your new Belmont location?
The Belmont location is a dream come true really. Its spacious and beautiful, and in my favorite neighborhood in Nashville. You can't get much better than that. I really love the neighbors and all of the students. There's an increased sense of community even beyond what the store already had and that relationship has always been at the core of Local Honey. I'm still chipping away at the transformation and getting settled in, but so far so good!
Describe the vibe of the store in five words or less.
Bright. Homey. Inspiring.
I have maintained a LOCAL ONLY rule for the designers I carry because I feel it enhances not only the store's mantra, but also the sense that you're getting something truly unique. These designers are your peers and are forging their own creative niche in our community, so supporting them and providing others the opportunity to do the same is increasing Nashville's presence in the fashion industry. We are all working more diligently each year and honing our skills. The garments we put out on the racks are a varied and rare mix of concepts and tailoring styles, and it's all fun to wear. The kind of clothes that put you in a good mood!
I'm an appreciator of all eras. I think they all had their own flair and there's good design to be found in all of them. I'm not a stickler for what is vintage and what is not. I just sell good clothes, regardless of their age. Yes, there is a substantial amount of "vintage" in the mix, but overall you can expect to find a range of affordable, cool, off-beat attire. I'm appealing to the shopper, who wears what she buys until it's threadbare, not the collector or someone looking for a costume.
Honestly, I feel the longer I do this the less I have prominent influences. I'm making a concerted effort to find my own voice as a designer and as an artist. So the things that are inspiring me are predominantly internal. In the design world I think there has really been no stone unturned at this point, in terms of sources of inspiration. I'm really trying to carve out my own path. But I'm a glutton for expanding my mind, wether it be traveling or watching an art documentary in my living room. So inevitably these things influence me on a subconscious level. That said, colors and bold graphics are a staple in my work. That's a constant.
Can you tell us a little about the sewing school upstairs?
The sewing school upstairs, STITCH, is run by Alexia Abegg. She offers beginning to advanced classes in sewing, pattern drafting, and quilting. There is a nice range of commitment levels as well, in terms of time and money. If you don't have time for a weekly class over the course of 2 months, you can sign up for a basic instructional afternoon course and, for example, learn how to hem your own jeans or make a purse.
What Spring/Summer trends can we find at Local Honey?
Oh, I'm all over the map. So you can expect all the usual suspects, just in greater quantity. We are doing even more customization these days. Expanding on our meticulous need to make our inventory JUST RIGHT before you buy it. But I think most obviously the oversized widths from Fall are converting into length for the Spring. Everything is LONG.
Tequila with pineapple juice. You may have never thought to order it, but it's surprisingly refined and good, and you'll probably start ordering it all the time.
What are five of your favorite Nashville places?
Belmont Blvd- I remember this being one of my answers the last time you asked me this question! Now, that I've made it to the promised land, it's even truer. I love it.
The Belcourt Theatre The downtown library Gojo Brown's Diner I could easily keep going. It's hard to narrow down.