Things have changed quite a bit on the strip of 13th Avenue between Washington and Pearl streets over the last few decades. (Even mainstay Kelly's Superette closed up shop last week.) But even with all the ebb and flow of gentrification, Fashionation has maintained its black-painted storefront at 613 East 13th Avenue, a destination for music-inspired clothing and off-kilter acoutrements since 1987.
And next month, owners Paul and Pam Italiano will throw a 25th anniversary celebration of this little counterculture institution, with an in-store appearance by Ministry and more.
"Ministry is only doing a short tour and it's kicking off at the store, so that's pretty cool for us," says Paul Italiano. This won't be the first time Al Jourgensen and company have come to Fashionation; over the years, the influential industrial band (and another incarnation, Revolting Cocks) has made special stops at the store, along with members of acts like Skinny Puppy, Face To Face, The Ting Tings and Love And Rockets.
Did these bands come to the store because Paul has a personal connection with them? No, he insists, explaining that he goes about things the old-fashioned way, hitting up band management when he sees an act coming through town that might be interested in checking out the store. Or, as in the case of Billie Joe Armstrong of Green Day, sometimes artists hear about Fashionation on their own and stop in to shop.
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That kind of word of mouth has kept Fashionation afloat in a retail world that, at one point, was swamped by subculture-lite mall versions such as Hot Topic, and later saw much of its business taken by online sales. But that didn't stop the Italianos from stepping up their game as merchants. Once one of the biggest independent brick-and-mortar retailers of Doc Martens in the country, Fashionation went online fourteen years ago, as vixensandangels.com, and web sales have been going strong ever since. To this day, every week the store ships Doc Marten orders to individuals around the world, who buy up its selection of footwear.
Doc Martens has also partnered with the store for this big birthday, and Fashionation will be giving away several pairs of the brand's footwear at the June 17 party. For more information on the festivities as they materialize, check Fashionation's online retail and news source, vixensandangels.com.