Counterculture apparel staple FashioNation announced last week that it was leaving its location at 613 East 13th Avenue after almost thirty years -- but co-owner Paul Italiano promised that the store would be resurrected in a new spot. He was vague about the details, because the lease agreement was not solidified. Then over the weekend, Pam and Paul Italiano announced via Facebook that the store will be moving to 1594 South Broadway -- but not without some drama.
"We were ready to sign the lease, and the guy calls us the day before and says, 'I don't want this to throw you off or anything, but a car ran into the building,'" says Italiano with a laugh. "It broke some tile [on the outside of the building] -- it actually looks pretty innocent. But on the inside, it looks like there was a pillar that was hit that was holding the building up. I'm sure it's going to be fine, but there could be a structural issue -- so the building has to be looked at." Pending any critical construction projects, Italiano says the plan is still to close the iconic spot on 13th Avenue and start FashioNation's next chapter on South Broadway by the first week of October. Ironically, FashioNation is stepping into a position similar to the one it's leaving: Longtime occupant Packrat Antiques lost its lease when the building came under new ownership and the rent went up. But unlike what he was paying on 13th, the Packrat owner was paying "1960s rent prices," Italiano says, and the new rent was affordable for FashioNation. Once its new home is ready, FashioNation should be closed for less than a week for the big move, Italiano says. He has plans to place a scooter that was a gift from Dr. Martens in the window of the new store, but many of the original location's identifiable characteristics will be gone -- like the wall of messages and autographs just inside the shop's doors on the wall and the Dr. Martens mural on the outside. The store's inventory won't change with the move, though. The shop that began in 1987 as a place for friends with a shared love of music to hang out and find unique clothes will continue to carry an incredible selection of Dr. Martens, crazy hair dye in a rainbow of color choices, one-of-a-kind accessories and more.
And how did the place get its name? "In '85, back when the old Batman with Adam West was on TV, it was a big punk-rock thing to watch it. You'd come home late at night from Rock Island and you'd watch Batman at two in the morning," says Italiano, who explains that there was an episode when "FashioNation magazine was sponsoring a fashion show and Catwoman was stealing clothing from it. That's where the name FashioNation came from."
Before FashioNation packs up and brings its special brand of anarchy to South Broadway, be sure to stop by the shop's original location and salute a spot that helped make 13th Avenue the epicenter of cool in Denver.
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