Adventures in NoLo.

Welcome to North Loop!

I've been spending a lot of time recently on North Loop Boulevard, particularly the Highland Plaza area. Technically 53rd Street, North Loop (affectionately shortened to "NoLo") is one of the few neighborhoods in Austin that looks like it hasn't gone through a massive building renovation in recent years. This only adds to its local appeal and vintage charm.

Not too far off the beaten path (one block east of Guadalupe), the NoLo area is home to a hodgepodge of locally-owned businesses, including the darling vintage store Blue Velvet (217 W. North Loop), and new addition Blackbird Clothes & Curios (112 E. North Loop), which is a boutique that serves its customers with the latest trends in women's apparel, menswear, and accessories.

While Blue Velvet is every vintage connoisseur's delight and run by a mother-daughter team, Blackbird is owned by two friends who came up with the tagline "good clothes for bad people" to describe the store's edgy vibe. While each business has a different perspective on fashion, they each make North Loop home and, as the saying goes, keep Austin weird.

This series of photos is comprised of recent visits to both Blue Velvet and Blackbird.

Blue Velvet
Fellow blogger and friend, Lindsey.

Blackbird Clothes & Curios

Juliana Azar and Stacey Breakall, owners of Blackbird Clothes & Curios.


Austin Street Style: Friday on South Congress.

This might as well be a companion post to "13" Years of Blackmail, as these photos were taken before and after the Blackmail "13" Fashion Show that took place on October 29th. These fashionable Austinites captivated me almost as much as the fashion show itself!

Onlookers before the show: I love the hats.

What a wonderful coat!

Decorative tights and shoes.

I am obsessed with corset-styled tops.

My favorite dress of the evening!


"13 Years" of Blackmail.

Gail Chovan, owner of Blackmail and designer of "13 Years".

On Friday, I had the honor of attending the debut of Austin designer Gail Chovan's newest collection.

Titled "13 Years", the exact number of years her boutique Blackmail has been open, Chovan dedicated the collection to the memory of her late father. Chovan further explained how the designs were a culmination of the past thirteen years. In her own life, the past thirteen years have included the birth of her children, breast cancer, a strengthening of her marriage, and the loss of her father.

The theme of "13 Years" was prevalent throughout the entire gathering: local musician Alejandro Escovdeo, a dear friend of Chovan's, even played a song before the show that was a favorite of Chovan's titled "13 Years".

Makeup was done my W3ll People.

A collection of original designs, I did not know what to expect from the owner of the nearly-monochromatic store. While black was predominantly featured, ivory was mixed in and sometimes even took over the look completely. The show was split into five different themes: Leather & Linen, Asiatique, Japan Meets Vivian, Toile Poeme (translates to "canvas poem"), and Dentelle Clarksville, and incorporated layers, sheers, feathers, and lace, among other visual textures.

I can't be certain of the segments through the following photos, but I hope you enjoy the photos as much I did the show. Here's to many more years of Gail Chovan and Blackmail!

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