The Lab Is Dead. Long Live the Lab!

When Tran Wills first sent out the word that she’d be closing the doors of her six-year-old indie fashion boutique, the Fabric Lab, at the end of the year, there was a flurry of panic among a certain hipster/design-savvy sector of the community. How could Wills close the groundbreaking East Colfax shop, where homegrown style has lived for so long? But the panic, she notes, is premature. “I’m not disappearing!” Wills says. She plans to continue doing what’s she’s been doing all along — supporting local designers by selling their clothing and hosting fashion events like her Prototype trunk shows — but without the store as a base.

Instead, Wills hopes to instigate a series of pop-up boutiques that reach beyond the boundaries of the Fabric Lab neighborhood, among other things. “Instead of having the physical store, I’d do something maybe every two months. It would be fun, and I’d choose designers to fit the environment.” Meaning what? Think designers who work with recycled materials, using a Whole Foods Market for a runway, or funky craft pieces showcased at the library. Or, she adds, high-end couture pieces at a museum.

But before Wills moves on to her exciting pop-up future, she’s throwing one last bash, the Fabric Lab Store Closing Reception, a combination farewell party and uber-Prototype blowout, featuring a bevy of friends and favorite designers. “It’s a celebration of everything we’ve done, of all the people we’ve met and who’ve helped us and supported us. It’s a chance to give back to them and at the same time explain what’s going on next,” she says of the event, which takes place tonight from 7 to 10 p.m. at Mod Livin', 5327 East Colfax Avenue.

Come down, pay your respects and look forward with Wills; admission is a $5 donation for the ACTS Food Bank and Resource Center. Visit or call 303-321-3604.
Sat., Nov. 14, 7-10 p.m., 2009

KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Susan Froyd started writing for Westword as the "Thrills" editor in 1992 and never quite left the fold. These days she still freelances for the paper in addition to walking her dogs, enjoying cheap ethnic food and reading voraciously. Sometimes she writes poetry.
Contact: Susan Froyd