The diversity problem that lives in all industries is especially true for luxury fashion. Despite worldwide efforts to address racial inequality, many have not committed as promised.
It was said by Stacey Abrams, an organizer, lawyer, and politician, that, “It’s not enough to be righteously indignant unless you put action behind it.”
Not only is Abrams the first Black female gubernatorial candidate of any major party, but she’s an advocate for voting rights, racial equality, and the training and hiring Black and brown youth. Her work is proof of what’s possible when you show up for your community and a reminder of the role that grassroots organizing plays in social change.
Her influence has impacted countless Americans, but one Denver boutique, in particular, has followed her tenacity in community building. By using fashion as a tool to amplify the voices of people of color, The Remix, a pop-up market and consignment boutique, is elevating Black and minority-owned businesses and giving back to the Five Points community.
Last weekend was The Remix’s grand opening where attendees enjoyed live music and a roster of food and fashion vendors. Since state-mandated closures have lifted, the opportunity to shop in person with a range of culturally diverse businesses hasn’t presented itself.
“The vision is to have a high-end boutique experience where people can come and support Black and brown-owned businesses” – Priya Burkett, curator of The Remix
Entrepreneurs sold artisan clutches, jewelry, shoes, sunhats and handmade art, which gave customers a one-stop shop for unique summer pieces. In addition to one-of-one items, handmade streetwear and signature accessories, celebrity designer brands like Louis Vitton, Chanel and Burberry were consigned in the boutique upstairs.
“Our family is focused on K-12 education, empowering women, enabling diversity and wealth building for the BIPOC community,” she shared.
Burkett’s dynamic background made her the perfect candidate to build a team of volunteers who transformed a vacant house into a marketplace in only three weeks.
Creating Access Out of Luxury
The Remix donated 50% of the boutique’s proceeds to Lincoln Hills Cares, an organization diversifying the outdoors and supporting the environment through outdoor education and recreation, environmental and cultural history connections, and STEAM (Science Technology, Arts, and Mathematics.)
High fashion is an obvious privilege, but it’s easy to overlook the luxury of the outdoors, which has an undeniable lack of inclusion for Black and brown people. Safety, in addition to time, money, and transportation play a factor in this gap.
Like so many Coloradans, the outdoors is an integral part of life. Lincoln Hills Cares is important because it bridges the gap between a child and their relationship with the outdoors who may not otherwise have one, or the opportunity to.
Opportunities are fundamental building blocks in how our lives unfold. If we aren’t given a chance to fail, to learn, to meet people, to evolve, then we are just like plants in small pots.
Local Vendors with International Influence
For new business owners, like Mario and Lorena Saenz-Garcia, The Remix pop-up market was their opportunity to make a first impression. Their brand, The Roots USA, sold Mexican-made artisanal accessories and launched two months ago.
Plus, they weren’t the only shop with international influence. Another label at the market was Kawesii, which offered a colorful assortment of African wax printed designs fused with versatile contemporary fashion. The owner, Chloe Stephens, believed that Denver’s diversity in fashion still has work to do.
“Denver’s fashion scene could use more ethnic fashion from various cultures,” she stated.
Other vendors at the event agreed. Stacie Drake, the founder of Silky Selects, spoke about her impact on Denver’s fashion scene and the growing acceptance of her silk intimates collection over time.
“Three years ago, the Denver thrift scene wasn’t very open to what I had to offer,” she said. “I’ve definitely seen Denver grow and the vibe is changing, which I wholeheartedly welcome.”
With the help of The Remix, businesses like these have another outlet to establish a presence in Denver’s fashion scene, reach more customers and build a network of new connections.
Bootstrapping is the New Black
The lower level of the house was dedicated to vendors and the upstairs was filled with curated consignment.
Decorated with images of Stacey Abrams and Michelle Obama was the high-end designer room that featured name-brands like Burberry, Rag & Bone and Michael Kors. Most notably were two caviar leather Chanel handbags, a pair of Louis Vitton red bottoms and a Balenciaga tote
Like the leaders on its walls, the boutique is pioneering what’s fashionable and who can access it. Thanks to The Remix, luxury brands that were once a dream are now a reality for its customers.
You can follow The Remix on Instagram and attend their next event on Saturday, June 19 from noon to 5 p.m. located at 2852 Welton St., Denver, CO.
All photography by Adrienne Thomas.