FashioNation
Courtesy FashioNation/Babysitter's Nightmare Facebook page

For over thirty years, FashioNation has served as the go-to spot for gothic and alternative enthusiasts in Denver. Husband-and-wife co-owners Pam and Paul Italiano opened the shop in 1987 and still keep it stocked with studs, spikes, clothing, jewelry and accessories. Dark details like black leather and mesh adorn most of the fashion, making it look so good it's scary. A wall signed by rock stars who have visited the shop deserves a gander, as do the creeper-style shoes and spooky graphic tees in sizes ranging from infant to adult, making FashioNation the perfect haunt for goths of every age.

Modern Nomad
Courtesy Modern Nomad Facebook page

Here in Denver, we're all up to date on food halls — but what about a design hall? The design warehouse Modern Nomad redefines the design-mall model for the 21st century, first by operating as an open-air collective of related businesses with a modern outlook on style, and second, by hosting pop-ups for savvy design merchants and makers from Denver and around the world. Modern Nomad has so far partnered on a permanent basis with the longtime Denver mid-century showroom Mod Livin', La Lovely Vintage and the newcomer Homefill, a retailer of eco-friendly home goods. Everything blends together in the space, much as it would in your own home, making every visit a revelatory lesson in creative, up-to-the-minute home design.

John Fluevog Shoes
Mauricio O. Rocha

John Fluevog started designing shoes in 1970 in Vancouver, and his designs have attracted a large following ever since. For five years, his Larimer Square location has allowed Denver to indulge in the intricate leatherwork and details in every pair of these unique, costly shoes, available in a wide array of boots, loafers, wing-tips and dress-ups. While the prices might seem outrageous ($250, on average) they stick to the founder's mantra of buying better and buying less. Not carried in department stores or third-party retailers, you must go through Fluevog himself to get these shoes sent from shoe heaven.

Blank Label
Courtesy of Blank Label

Originally from Boston and a newcomer to LoDo, this custom-clothing brand removes all of the frills of the made-to-fit process, making custom-fitted clothing as feasible for the common man as a three-piece-suit imported from China, since its prices are as competitive as those of off-the-rack designers. Clients can create customized blazers, trousers, jeans, overcoats, button-ups or polos, and the brand offers new clients a $100 credit toward their purchases. It's time for the men of Denver to suit up.

Best Last-Minute Tailoring
Courtesy Mia's Creative Tailor Facebook page

A good tailor is a nice thing to have in your back pocket, but a good tailor that is also reasonably priced and fast? That's a game-changer. Mia's Creative Tailoring is as fast as it gets: This South Colorado Boulevard shop will take on same-day alterations — and it can turn out something as complicated as a wedding dress in less than 72 hours, without compromising the quality of the stitching. Beyond fast fixes, this tailor handles everything from simple clothing repairs to intricate alterations, including sequins, lace and beading. Mia's is a lifesaver in a pinch, but the flawless execution makes it a go-to for taking in, letting out and little tweaks — and it's affordable enough to use for everyday wear, not just special-occasion items.

2717 South Colorado Boulevard

303-758-5614

facebook.com/miacreativetailor

Extra Vitamins
Extra Vitamins

Julia Belamarich and Kyle Warfield are Extra Vitamins, a two-faced venture that includes a graphic-design studio and a retail business dealing in hand-screened artwear and merchandise based on their shared love for semiotic imagery and zine-making. The result? Crossover ideas that get mixed up together in a beautiful way: colorful limited-edition tees, blankets and beanies, mugs, totes, art banners and prints, along with the pair's graphics-heavy, one-of-a-kind zines, ready to buy online or, if you're lucky, at a pop-up market.

ReCreative Denver
Courtesy ReCreative Denver Facebook page

Whether it's out of a need for cheaper art materials or just the joy of making something from nothing and helping the environment along the way, recycled objects, fabrics, art supplies and random junk have all become the essential nuts and bolts of modern assemblages and art in general. Call it an environmental statement or whatever you like, the trend does help the earth — and hardscrabble artists — by default. ReCreative aids both causes by collecting and selling such materials for a fair price, but it goes a step further by also providing communal makerspaces with tools to share, low-rent studios, gallery space and an artist marketplace. Classes cover all ages and skill levels and include Woodworking for Women, Intro to Sewing and a Kids Studio.

Readers' Choice: Fancy Tiger Crafts

Thompson's Hobbies and Crafts has staying power. When we gave the store Best of Denver awards during consecutive years way back in 1988 and 1989, it had already been around for decades; it was founded in 1965. And if anything, it's even more of a treasure today — an antidote to chain-box-store conformity. In addition to an incredible variety of hobby and art supplies offered at extremely competitive prices, Thompson's is also the place to go for modeling kits, dollhouse accessories and the sort of what-the-hell-is-it items that supercharge the creativity in the crafty among us.

1585 Wadsworth Boulevard, Lakewood

303-238-5821

thompsonshobbiesandcrafts.com

Readers' Choice: Meininger Art Supply

Best New Home for an Old Denver Business

Caboose

Caboose
Caboose Facebook

In 2016, it looked like the end for Caboose Hobbies: The store lost its lease, suffering a now all-too-familiar fate for many older Denver area businesses. After decades in the model-train biz, owner Duane Miller decided it was the end of the line, but customer Kevin Ruble saw a better future and snapped up the storied retailer. The new location may be farther from the city center and a much smaller space than the expansive Broadway shop, but Caboose (Ruble dropped "Hobbies" from the moniker) has the same amount of inventory and still attracts model-train enthusiasts from across the county.

Rosehouse
Rosehouse Instagram

When owner and chief herbalist Lynn Flanagan-Till opened Rosehouse a year ago on South Broadway, she had big shoes to fill as the successor to the well-loved boutique Ironwood, which previously occupied the same space. She not only took over the shop, but she's also left a singular footprint of her own on the retail block, turning it into a place where unusual plants mingle with botanical art and handmade herbal teas, oils, extracts, natural beauty products — and other unexpected treasures. Whether you want to pick up a poisonous angel's trumpet plant or a nice, beautifully potted — and safe — mini-succulent garden, Rosehouse is waiting for you to step into its living apothecary and visit for a while.

Readers' Choice: Decade

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