Best Recycled Fashion 2021 | Julianna's Wardrobe | Best of Denver® | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Denver | Westword

In a world of fast fashion, where garbage dumps are towering with wear-and-tear clothes, Julianna's Wardrobe is committed to keeping the history of yesterday's dresses alive by restoring them with modern flair. "I really believe our energy is in the fibers of the clothing that we wear," says owner Julianna Aberle-McClellan. So when a bride wants to go down the aisle in something her great-grandmother wore that has turned to rags, Aberle-McClellan taps into her background in theatrical fashion to create something spectacular, connected to the past and looking toward the future.

Be a Good Person, founded by Darian Simon and Julian Donaldson in 2015 to spread a message of positivity, has become an iconic Denver brand that uses hoodies, T-shirts, sweats and accessories to encourage people to be, well, good. In an age of social strife, online smackdowns, violence and general pessimism, the slogan, brand name and philosophy behind Be a Good Person is as relevant as can be. Each season, the company puts out a signature line sporting cheerful, all-caps lettering; along the way, it does its share of philanthropic work with nonprofits like the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

When Chris Sullivan opened the nationally celebrated Berkeley Park Running Company, he decided to upend the standard of the traditional shopping-mall running store. Instead, he launched a small shop on Tennyson Street with a great selection of trail- and road-running gear and beers, and in the process created a community hub for lovers of the sport. The shop hosts book signings, community runs (followed by a brew and snacks) and plenty of other gatherings. It's developed a reputation for first-rate customer service and honest staffers whose priority is keeping people engaged in the sport — even if that means they won't be making a sale. But that type of service makes loyal customers for life.

4568 Tennyson Street
Courtesy Goodwill Industries of Denver Facebook page

Scavenging for dream items should never be restricted to one particular thrift shop; part of the fun is going on the hunt. But when we have to limit our expeditions to just one spot, the Goodwill outlet at Broadway and Archer Place always seems to have what we're looking for, from dishware to fashion-forward jackets, ski and backpacking gear, dresses, shoes and more. There's also plenty of kitsch and art to browse — but if you've banned yourself from any more shopping sprees, this is also a convenient spot to drop off secondhand items.

The artisans of Geeklery understand what makes a nerd's world spin when it comes to personal ornamentation: It's the theme that counts. Geeks use jewelry to proclaim their love for sci-fi, fantasy, gaming and cosplay, and the results can be as out-of-this-world as they are decorative. If you're looking to adorn yourself with spider brooches, sapphire-studded Beam Me Up earrings or sterling-silver Zelda cuff links (or just want to decorate your home with like-minded artworks), hit up Geeklery's web page to shop — and feel good knowing that 5 percent of every purchase benefits Pop Culture Classroom.


Small businesses are shacking up more often as rents rise, which isn't a bad thing for shoppers on the run — especially those who can't get through their errands without an afternoon muffin and caffeine boost. All Its Own has grown from a craft-market tent and small solo brick-and-mortar to occupy a nook at Mint & Serif Coffeehouse on West Colfax. Grab a beverage for fuel as you ponder the inventory at William Haggerty's shop, which offers work by local artists and artisans, including Haggerty's own cool concrete designed to hold easy-care plants like succulents and air plants. Happy re-fortification.

All apples are not alike, as any apple-phile will tell you, and the deeper you fall under the spell of heirloom apple varieties, which number in the hundreds, the more you will hunger to try them. You'll want to start small if you don't own an orchard, though, and there's no better place to begin planting those roots than the Montezuma Orchard Restoration Project. MORP's mission is to preserve and restore Colorado's heirloom orchards, and it sells trees to fund the nonprofit's work. Currently you can choose varieties online at $60 each, but you have to pick them up, by appointment. It's a long drive to Cortez, but it's worth it.


Characterized as a "living laboratory," High Plains is dedicated to promoting Colorado native plants — xeric, hardy greenery and blooms that are accustomed to Colorado soil — in the garden, with a more ecological, restorative end in mind. You can tour the facility's demonstration gardens and orchard in a park-like, lakeshore-environment setting to see how well it works, then go online to purchase all the water-wise plants you need to build your own backyard native ecosystem from a selection offered from April to Labor Day. Science rules!

2698 Bluestem Willow Drive, Loveland

Denver gardeners lost a major gardening resource when the Groundcovers center closed in 2019 after nearly forty years of serving the city. But plant grower Jeremy Friedman, who'd already started a seasonal retail operation in Castle Rock, grabbed the opportunity and last year expanded his pop-up concept to Golden and Denver, where he took advantage of the vacant Kmart parking lot at Monaco Parkway and East Evans Avenue to set up a temporary bedding-plant bonanza. Public enthusiasm was so high that Plum Creek is back in 2021, adding two more convenient pop-ups in Littleton and Erie.

Five metro locations

What began as Rebels in the Garden — a backyard produce garden in Montbello and the project of Aurora resident James Grevious and five kids willing to do the work — has morphed into Rebel Marketplace, a monthly farmers' market in the heart of Aurora's food desert. Grevious chose to keep it small and super-local by gathering other metro-area micro-business vendors like himself to join in the project. This year, you'll find the market open May through October in Del Mar Park, offering fresh produce, baked goods, handcrafted items and herbal remedies; hours are 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. every first Saturday of the month.

312 Del Mar Circle, Aurora

Best Of Denver®

Best Of