There's no mistaking the growing need for fashion here in Utah, both from local brands and reaching broader into national and global brands. As our scene continues to branch both in supply with new
designers creating various works, and in demand
for the finest in up-and-coming wears, the need for stores to carry them is on the rise. And while most of the smaller shops are doing a fine job of showcasing fashion along side
art as their main selling points, few actually cater
specifically to melding the two together with little deviation or
side venture. Which is why many were pleased to see a brand new
location pop up that does just that.
--- Taking over the former home of Q Clothing on 13th & 9th, this past October saw the opening of Tempest Couture. A localized boutique started up by two of the minds behind Koi Piercing, with focus not just on designs and one-off creations, but also accessories and jewelery for any combination. Featuring select designers, some who can't be found anywhere else in town, who have turned their works into wearable artistic statements. I got a chance to chat with co-owners Melissa Christensen and (briefly) Patrick Bogdanich about the shop and the plans they have in store, along with some thoughts on local art and fashion. Plus pictures of what they currently have in stock for you to check out here.
Melissa Christensen & Patrick Bogdanich
Gavin: Hey guys, first off, tell us a little bit about yourselves.
Melissa: Hi, my name is Melissa... and I'm a shopaholic.
Patrick: My name is Patrick Bogdanich. I've been a body piercer in Salt Lake for thirteen years, this year will mark my tenth at Koi Piercing Studio. I have three amazing children, and one average child. Kidding! Just the three, with the beauty and amazingness. My lovely partner Melissa and I premiered in October Utah's first independent, artisan fashion boutique: Tempest Couture. That means everything in the store is handcrafted with love and creativity on the cutting edge of fashion, and you'd need to tour from SF, to LA, to New York with several stops along the way to find these collections elsewhere. We are also boasting a growing host of local designers and jewelers that we are quite proud of.
Gavin: How did you each first take an interest in fashion and art?
Patrick: It all started when I made the observation that I wear clothes almost every day... But seriously, I have always aspired to be different in my presentation to other humans. I was naturally drawn to tattooing and piercing in my youth, but these outlets, in there permanency, can fail to move with you on a day-to-day, chapter-to-chapter basis, especially as they grow in popularity. And that's okay, I don't feel cynical about it, but I've always needed more (many in Salt Lake have witnessed my often unfortunate evolution in hairstyles). It's important to have style, not in order to feel secure, that must come from within, but to feel like yourself. I want to have a relationship with my attire, like I do with my tattoos and piercings. It's not a far leap, I love and respect our designers' tireless creative efforts, like many do their tattooers. The wearer gets all the credit!
Melissa: I think I just always have had an interest. You can identify and express feelings through both. It's very exciting.
Gavin: Did either of you seek out any college in art or fashion prior to starting up the shop?
Melissa: I learned and still learn from experience and being hands on.
Patrick: Damn! Where were you like eight months ago?
Gavin: When did the two of you first meet each other and eventually become friends?
Patrick: I've known Melissa for as long as I can remember. We're not actually friends anymore. Hilarity! Melissa has worked at Koi nearly as long as I. We had a great friendship for years before it evolved to something more, the Koi family has always been close.
Melissa: I have known Patrick for probably fourteen years, but only became friends when we started working together at Koi Piercing Studio.
Gavin: How did the idea to start up Tempest Couture come about, and where did you get the name?
Melissa: We have been wearing and loving these designers for years. I always had people asking where I bought the peices, but they were never available in Salt Lake. We thought it would be fun to introduce the lines to SLC, but didn't take it seriously until a space next to Koi opened up.
Patrick: It was actually cheaper than getting Melissa more closet space. And I think you know I got the name from an Integrity song. Really, I love the imagery the word conjures, and it does our store justice.
Gavin: You've taken over the old Q Clothing space on 13th South and 9th East. How did you come across the place and why did you choose it?
Melissa: Both Patrick and I work at Koi Piercing Studio, which is in the same building. It seemed comfortable to stay in our stomping grounds.
Patrick: Well, I've worked next door at Koi for ten years, so I just walked outside, looked in a lefterly direction and there it was. I told the owner of the building years ago I was interested. I wanted to pursue my entrepreneurial longings, but I love Koi and am not ready to leave. This was a way to in two places at once.
Gavin: What was it like for you getting set up and essentially planning out the look of the space?
Melissa: It always takes longer than you think, but the end result couldn't have turned out better. Our fixtures are beautiful old brass, copper, and glass pieces that came from Harold's in Trolley Square after they closed. We sat on them for almost three years before being able to use them. They fit perfectly in thier new home. The gold rays on the ceiling were a bit tough, but Patrick conquered them. We were also graced by the art of tattooists Jon Chaterlain from Yellow Rose Tattoo and Sarah de Azevedo from Oni. They painted our mannequins so well that it's hard to cover them with clothes.
Patrick: It was very gratifying to see all our ideas take shape. We have had years to visualize what we wanted, even purchased the fixtures years ago when Harold's in Trolley square went under. Melissa and I have no "brakes" in our duo. We love to green light each other's ambitions rather than balk at their impracticalities and challenges. Which can lead to a lot of maddening paint layouts and late night welding, but it's fun. We're are truly a team, it's a blessy kinda curse.
Gavin: I read you were looking for more independent designers with a focus on the artistic. What made you decide to take the store's catalog in that direction?
Melissa: It's supporting art. They pay attention to details and you can tell when you wear them. A lot of the pieces look better with wear. These are clothes that are made to be worn. I personally don't want to look like the masses.
Gavin: What was the process like in deciding who to bring in as part of the store, and were there any you wish you were able to bring in but couldn't?
Melissa: We already knew who we wanted. It was picking the pieces to carry that was tough. We want all of it. There are some foriegn designers that have been harder to get a hold of, but all in all, the designers have been excited to get thier lines into Salt Lake.
Gavin: For those interested, who are some of the designers you have on display?
Melissa: Wild Card, Skingraft Designs, Shawna Hofmann, Heathen, S & G, Buddhaful, Jan Hilmer, Steam Trunk. And local designers Carrie Wakefield, 4D and Adrian Prazen.
Gavin: You recently held your grand opening at the end of October. What was the public response like, and how have things been going since?
Melissa: The grand opening was a huge success. People have been really excited about seeing this type of clothing and accessories avaialbe in Salt Lake. We are on a lot of Christmas lists.
Gavin: Are there any plans to expand into other areas or change the layout of the store, or are you sticking to what you have for now to see how things go?
Melissa: We are always looking at new designers to bring in. We are only two months in, so I would like it to really soak into SLC and then take a look at what people like and dislike.
Gavin: Moving onto local stuff, what are your thoughts on our fashion scene, both good and bad?
Melissa: People that visit from other cities are always pleasantly surprised. Salt Lake has a very modified and fashionable population. The only thing I wish were different is some people feel like "they can't pull it off". If you love it and it fits, you have already pulled it off. Don't be nervous to be unique or stand out. Be proud of expressing yourself.
Gavin: Is there anything you believe could be done to make it more prominent?
Melissa: Adveritising, word of mouth, and time.
Gavin: Who are some of your favorite local designers right now?
Melissa: Michelle Boucher, Carrie Eldridge, Carrie Wakefield, Adrian Prazen and so many more. Honestly, there are so many talented people in this little mountain town.
Gavin: What are your thoughts about other local retailers and how they sell local products?
Melissa: I love the local pride that is happening now. I love that we are in a community that local does matter.
Gavin: Do you have any favorite shops you like to work with or shop from?
Melissa: Koi Piercing Studio!
Gavin: What's your take on Fashion Stroll and the part it plays in our scene?
Melissa: I think it's really important. It's an interest that so many people have. It supports small business, big ideas, and creativity. Fashion is an art and where would we be without art?
Gavin: What can we expect from both Tempest Couture and yourselves the rest of the year?
Melissa: I think you can expect to see a lot more of us and expect a lot of amazing clothing and accessories to keep coming out of Tempest.
Gavin: Aside the obvious, is there anything you'd like to promote or plug?
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