Shopping With the Wayback Machine
Walking into Edmond’s newest boutique, Retropolitan, is like taking a step back in time. Even before you reach the door, looking at the windows filled with flashback bands like Kansas, The Doors, Jimi Hendrix and Jim Croce, you know-this place is different.
Located in Spring Creek Village next to Tiger Lily, its psychedelic rug and retro walls painted with 1970s public library colors are another giveaway. Retropolitan’s funky decorative touches are almost as exciting as the clothing it sells.
Owner Lauren Owsley fell in love with 20th century clothing while taking a course, “The Heritage of Dress,” at her alma mater, UCO. But it wasn’t until she rummaged through her mom’s closet that she learned to appreciate the fashions from the 1960s and 1970s.
“One day my mom pulled out a bright orange and green polyester muumuu she wore in the 1970s and I tried it on,” says Owsley. “I knew if I wore it people would think, ‘What on earth is that?’ but I didn’t care and wore it anyways. There’s just something about the way they dressed in those days. The colors, styles and rebelliousness of it all-I fell in love with it.” She’s been wearing vintage clothing ever since.
After graduation from UCO. with a degree in Fashion Marketing, Owsley put a plan in motion to open her own store featuring pre-loved, retro and eco-friendly clothing. And last month, together with her mother, Kay, she opened the doors of Retropolitan.
No two pieces of clothing in Retropolitan’s large inventory are the same. Those searching for a unique and eclectic style of their own will love the mix of lines and items.
One of Owsley’s favorite lines of clothing is Future Heretics. A favorite with many Hollywood celebrities, it features artsy vintage shirts, vampire-themed attire and old rock band shirts.
Possibly the most unusual items at Retropolitan are 19 Moons limited edition jewelry. It blends vintage and recycled materials to create one-of-a-kind pieces such as a necklace created from old watch parts.
Owsley carries unique hand bags by Ecoist that are made from everything from candy wrappers and soda labels to subway maps. Ranging in price from $20 to $120, the bags spring from recycled products from all over the world. And Ecoist plants a tree for every handbag sold.
Owsley also purchases certified Fair Trade products from lines such as Hand Made Expressions. Items like this benefit disadvantaged producers and ensure responsible global trade.
Owsley hopes her unique mix of vintage, eco-friendly and socially responsible products will cross generational boundaries.
“I like it that we’re different,” says Owsley. “We’re not just a clothing store. Customers walk in and it’s a flashback for adults seeing the clothes they wore in the 1960s. And it appeals to a 16-year-old girl who wants to wear a 1980s dress to her prom.”
At first, Owsley wasn’t entirely sure what niches her store would appeal to. But it’s enjoying a wider appeal than she expected. “Once word got out, the store developed into something else. A lot of people didn’t realize that vintage clothing could be trendy and eco-friendly as well,” says Owsley. “My mom’s friends are even excited about the store. Now there’s a whole generation that gets to wear exclusive merchandise and dress like individuals.”
Owsley hopes Retropolitan’s success will lead to the opening of another store. But in the immediate future she’s looking forward to traveling the world to find vintage clothing.
Owsley has some advice for other young entrepreneurs. “Anyone who has an idea and is putting it out there for the world to see is a success,” she says. “They’re following their dreams.”
For a walk down memory lane or a shopping experience in a fun and creative atmosphere, Retropolitan’s a treasure. It’s open for business Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.