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Shen Dove Style: Shop Profile: Carbon

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Shop Profile: Carbon

Carbon DC
Rack of vintage clothing/Interior of Carbon

Washington, DC has a thriving fashion community and offers a wide array of boutiques and stores that I want to start highlighting on Shen Dove Style for local and visiting fashion enthusiasts.  Carbon is a boutique located in the Woodley Park section of the city that offers upscale, high-quality, eco-friendly clothing, shoes, accessories and handbags. I became familiar with the store after attending a fashion show earlier this year and a DC FABB event last month.  Store owner, Katherine Limon was kind enough to answer some questions about Carbon recently.  So let's get to the questions!
Shen Dove: When did you open Carbon?

Katherine (Carbon): CARBON opened in Woodley Park five years ago but I took over as the new owner in March 2011. My concept for the store is eco-friendly, sustainable chic living through ethically-made apparel, accessories, and shoes. I carry local designers and have dedicated the wall space to local artists to showcase and sell their work.

Shen Dove: Tell me about your background, what inspired you to open this store?

Katherine (Carbon): I am a journalist by trade and have worked in the realm of communications for small non-profits focused on worker rights and child labor, and the federal government on youth development. In 2006, I started My Signature Look to help men and women look their best in fit and style. It also served the purpose of educating consumers on the source of their garments and introducing ethically-produced apparel and footwear. Now that I have the store, as of March 2011, I can bring what I consider slow fashion products to the consumer on a wider scale.

Shen Dove: What do you like the most about being located in Woodley Park?

Katherine (Carbon): Since the store was already here, the previous owner built a trust and strong relationship with the neighbors so I was fortunate to inherit that audience. Honestly, I wish there were more retailers on the block for people to consider this as a dining and shopping destination.

Shen Dove: What do you think makes style in Washington, DC unique?

Katherine (Carbon): Your style should be an extension of your personality. It should give people clues about who you are and your worldview, wherever you live. When I first moved here 8 years ago, I must admit, I was surprised to observe a style that screamed conformity and lackluster. Given what our nation’s capital represents, it would be nice to see a greater effort made to present the full package meaning your appearance should reflect your voice – polished, smart, and interesting. I love that we live in a rich, diverse community and I encourage everyone to embrace those characteristics in their wardrobe.

Carbon DC 2
Some of Carbon's great hangbag selections

Shen Dove: I think it’s great that you have built relationships with local designers and have events that feature them. What do you look for when you’re on the hunt for new artists and designers to feature in your store?

Katherine (Carbon): I take pride in featuring our local talent and want to showcase their best work. I look for creativity, functionality, excellent construction (whether that is apparel, accessories, or shoes), and the designer’s point of view. I strive to find designers who incorporate a hand-made quality or keep production in the USA or in factories that allow them to do small volume. I try to avoid offering you something you can find in a department store – I want it as unique to DC as possible. For the artists, the subject matter doesn’t necessarily have to be local; rather they evoke that same spirit for creativity and uniqueness.

Shen Dove: What do you think is the biggest misconception about eco-friendly and ethically sourced items?

Katherine (Carbon): It is exciting to see an increased awareness and demand for eco-friendly apparel and footwear; however, the appeal is not across the board. What the general public may not consider are the costs factored into an ethically-made item. Fabrics such as 100% organic cotton, will remain expensive for U.S. designers until U.S. farmers receive incentives for growing pesticide-free cotton. (China is the largest manufacturer of organic cotton.) It is amazing what you can turn into fabric – wood pulp, milk, and soy! There is the labor cost as well. Slow fashion requires skilled artisans paid a livable wage. Yes, there is an investment but you are investing in yourself, your environment, and the artisan community. Plus, on a pure cost per wear analysis, you are going to get more out of a sustainable product. The term “ethically sourced,” to me, indicates in-house or factories that adhere to a code of conduct, employ environmentally-sound practices, and protect workers rights.

Shen Dove: What trends are you excited about featuring in your store this fall?

Katherine (Carbon): From A.D.O. (Angelika Dreams About Organic), expect beautiful suiting separates, again in 100% organic cotton and some in Tencel. Local designer Kim Schalk will offer her signature figure-flattering skirts. We are also excited about a couple of new men’s and women’s shoe lines such as vegan Neuaura, J Shoes, and Oliberte (CARBON will be the first to carry J Shoes and Oliberte in DC – yay!!). Just in time for the holidays, we will be bringing in Emu, a sustainable shoe and clothing line from Australia.

Cardob DC 3
A portion of Carbon's jewelry selection by local designers

Shen Dove: Do you have any fun events you’d like locals or those visiting DC this fall to attend at your store?

Katherine (Carbon): For August, upcoming events include a wine and art night on Friday, Aug. 19 from 6 – 8 p.m. where all the photography is up to 50% off. We are teaming up with International Visions Gallery for a Fashion Meets Art Catwalk on Friday, Aug. 26 from 6 – 9 p.m.

September 9, 2011 a special art reception featuring an installation by two US AID workers to coincide with the arrival of the Oliberte shoe line.

September 23, 2011, an eco-fashion show featuring the new A.D.O. collection and Neuaura shoes.

Shen Dove: Thanks for the interview Katherine!  On your next visit to the Woodley Park neighborhood, stop by and visit Carbon!


Store Name: Carbon
Address: 2643 Connecticut Avenue Northwest
Phone: (202) 232-6645
Neighborhood: Woodley Park
Closest Metro Station: Woodley Park Metro Station

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2 Comments:

At August 16, 2011 at 3:52 PM , Anonymous Oh to Be a Muse said...

that last bag on the bottom right is hot. 

do you know when my feature will go up on Shen Dove? I don't want to miss it. :)

 
At August 16, 2011 at 5:07 PM , Anonymous ShenDove said...

I know I love that one too!  I love bags and accessories.  I certainly can tell you about your feature. It will go live tomorrow AM! 

 

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