Five Points is developing fast, but a new store puts some creative funk back into one of Denver's oldest neighborhoods. Colorado native Jesse Taenzer opened Pair O' Dimes at 2727 Welton Street last month; inspired by community, connection and free expression, he selected pieces by local designers for both men and women for his festival fashion boutique.
The fashion here is not for the timid or conservative; the designs are bold statements for innovative individuals. The store currently spotlights clothing by Patcha Play, Om Collection, Discerpo Necto Decrepitus, Amplified Elegance, Ankahsa Designs, Llama Sparkle Depot, Rachdiculous Designs and Re:treive, as well as accessories by Rad-wear Pocket belts, Geoddities, Darling Designs, Protozoa and Jucifer's Toolbox Creations. "It was beautiful to watch all fourteen different artists come together to cultivate different parts of the store," Taenzer says. "We were here vibing and enjoying bringing something new to the world."
Taenzer, who grew up in Silverthorne and Aurora and studied at the Art Institute of Colorado, has thought about opening a shop for eight years. "I wanted to have a community space," he explains. "There is a beautiful community here in Denver, full of bright, shining artists who are diving into what they love. When I saw that this space was for rent, I became very enthused to make it happen here because I really love the Five Points area."
"I've always been around the Five Points area and love the culture, history and jazz scene here," he continues. "There is a uniqueness here with Cervantes' down the road; I have been going there since I was fifteen years old, so it is definitely one of those spaces that has been a center point for the community in Denver. It was a privilege for me to find this space and to be able to cultivate this kind of environment here."
He kept that in mind when he designed Pair O' Dimes. "This store is about community," he says. "I want this store to bridge the gap between ages and genders. You only have one life to live, so make it special."
Taking a break from browsing, we asked Taenzer more about the inspiration for his store:
Westword: Why is the shop named Pair O' Dimes?
Jesse Taenzer: I wanted something to bring a little bit of mystery to the store. Like, what is paradigm? But also, we're shifting things and we're crushing a lot of old modes of thought, like what is acceptable. It starts with how we dress; we are shifting paradigms and cultivating a new culture. We like to play and challenge things here.
How do you decide what to stock in the store?
I have been in the festival scene for seven years. There is definitely a unique vibe of color spectrums and things that provide more comfort on a day-to-day basis. I also read New York Couture and things like that to get a feel of what is styling right now and what is about to be in style. Most of the artists we sell here are artists that I have gotten to know over the past seven years, and so during the time period when I was getting the store ready to open, we talked about what their style is now and what they feel is in style. We worked together to come up with what is in the store today.
What kind of fashion do you see at festivals?
There are a lot of leather vests and hip belts, pocket holsters, lots of really flowy pants, ties, fisherman pants, harem pants, things like that that have very open crotch lines or none at all, or open slits on the sides of the legs, open legs, things like that. More tribal designs that lead to more comfort, patterns and loose and flowy clothing.
Do you carry more local or international designers?
At least at this point in time, it is 90 percent Colorado-based designers. I have a few more brands coming in the next few months that are from California, New York, Philadelphia and Oregon as well. I really want to stick with artists and designers who are doing all of the production themselves or at least doing all of the designing themselves.
Have you always had an interest in fashion?
When I went to the arts institute downtown, most of my friends and roommates in the dorms were fashion majors. I've always had an inclination to be more fashionable, which has led me to the vision of the store. Being in fashion is all about being in love with yourself. Wearing what you feel looks good on you and what you think people will adore, so it is a balance of looking into yourself.
Have you always had an interest in art, in some shape or form?
Absolutely. Ever since middle school, I have always been a devout artist. Throughout high school I took AP art classes, and then I went to culinary school, and all of my extracurriculars were photography, graphic design and things like that. I've always enjoyed the way that colors come together and the ways that people pull a different energy from themselves by wearing certain colors or designs.
Do you make any art or fashion currently?
I am actually a jewelry designer. I do wire-wrapping and some fabrication work. I am also a unique clothing costume designer. I only do one costume production at a time, a three-piece or four-piece costume for a performance.
Do you make custom pieces?
Most of the time I am designing for me, so a larger male body type. That is the direction I want the store to go, 50 percent women and 50 percent menswear. I feel like the men out there are still wearing jeans and button-ups, and branching out of that will help them become stronger male figures on their own. There is not as much in men's fashion as there is for women, but that is just how it is worldwide. We are trying to bridge that gap here.
What is your style mantra?
I love the way that I look, I love the way that I am. I have a very unique perspective on life, and I always have, so for a while it was something that beat me down. By repeating this to myself, I am reinforcing in myself that inherent love for the present moment, in the existence that I am perpetuating and the magic that I am creating for myself and all the other people I am lucky enough to touch.
I feel like purples and greens are natural-feeling and have a regal tone to them, but I love all colors.
As far as a wearable accessory, it's definitely my pocket holsters. I wear a lot of pants without pockets and it is very useful. It feels very Wild Wild West, but not for guns, just my gear. As far as jewelry goes, I have a few really permanent rings that I have gathered over the years.
Where do you shop, other than Pair O' Dimes?
I love Umba in Boulder; they have similar styles and designs. I like to shop at music festivals all over and at shows at Cervantes' when some of the artists bring their designs and couture. Outside of festivals and shows, it's all online. There really aren't that many stores in Denver proper that carry fisherman's pants, different styles of leggings that are coming out even for men, hooded vests, even everyday wear. Everyone can feel a little fancier in their life, especially guys. I am trying to cater to that side of the demographic. Guys can have something new to wear to make them feel better in general.
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What is your jam of the moment?
I have been on a jazz kick lately. I love the horns and bebops and scatting, and I am excited for the Juneteenth Music Festival this year.
Pair O' Dimes is located at 2727 Welton Street, right down the street from Cervantes' and the Roxy. It's open from 2 p.m. to midnight Wednesday through Saturday for all your late-night concert-fashion needs. Find more information about Pair O'Dimes here.