Wednesday, August 10, 2011

James Rowland Shop

Amy Blaustien at James Rowland Shop in Berkeley

Who's style do you most admire or have been inspired by?

My mom is probably my biggest source of inspiration in terms of someone's individual style. She has an incredible intuitive sense of how to express a specific message through style. She's totally unstudied but very successful in conveying whatever image she's going for. She went blonde in her early 40's and never looked back - I think this was a real turning point for her style-wise. She always looked sharp and put together but with a good dose of her own brand of free spiritedness. LOTS of blazers - she probably has 80 black blazers. I tried to help her edit her closet once and i was like,"Really mom? Do you really need THIS black blazer?", but she had a specific reason why she needed each one.

What were you like when you were a kid?

I'm an only child- born in Berkeley raised in the East Bay suburbs by two Jews from New York City. Definitely had a tinge of alienation growing up due to the differences in my family from those I saw around me. I loved horses and rode as much as I could. LOVED dressing up, playing in my mom's closet and "styling" my friends.

What is your spirit animal?

Probably horse - I'm a Sagittarius so there's definitely a deep connection to the equine realm. I also feel connected to the big cats - lions in particular.

What is the aesthetic of your shop?

The aesthetic of the shop is constantly in flux depending on our interests. We tend to follow our inspiration wherever it leads us which can sometimes be really odd or ridiculous places. For instance - I'm having a love affair with the idea of collecting cheesy formal purses from the nineties - the kind a teen might wear to their junior prom in 1994. I just think they look real cute with an every day outfit right now. In general we try to stick with quality items that are authentic and interesting in present time. I am forever fascinated with re-contextualizing artifacts from the past and playing with the synergy between then and now.

Who is your customer?

I wouldn't say that the store has developed an ultra specific demographic. I love that teenagers will come in with their mothers and both will walk out having found something they love. Lovers of "Fashion" tend to appreciate the store because we definitely draw from that world, but we seem to also have an audience of people who just like interesting things that seem fun to wear. 

Amy co-owns along with Dan Peck.

Dan has been selling vintage shoes for 6 + years.
 He comes from a long line of Italian shoemakers/ cobblers
 so an appreciation for beautiful footwear is definitely in his blood.