Bettie Page Clothing, a six-year-old national chain of 14 stores born and bred in Las Vegas, is preparing for an April opening in the former state liquor store at Broadway and Harrison.
“We were simply meeting the demand of our customers, which is how we became attracted to the area,” a Bettie Page spokesperson tells CHS.
“Since a majority of our current standing stores are located in high tourist areas, in speaking and interacting with our customers, we found that many were visiting from the Seattle area.”
The 3,400 square-foot space has sat empty since last spring when the winning bidder in the state’s auction of rights to operate the liquor store backed out of the deal.
Opening in April will be a showcase of Mad Men and rockabilly-style female fashion as part of an aggressively expanding brand. Seattle will already be its third to open in 2013. Bettie Page debuted in Portland last week bringing the total to 13. And, of course, there is bettiepageclothing.com. The company boasted $10 million in sales in 2012 though the publicly-traded company’s balance sheet suggests its expansion is costing it plenty.
The company is currently not hiring for its Broadway store, but needs to hire a full staff before April.
Fashion on Broadway has been a mixed bag. The Gap survived for ages
before alongside the surviving Urban Outfitters. Hot Topic is dead and gone but UO seems to be hanging in there. To end January, CHS reported that rising rents were forcing the closure of Broadway Boutique as owner Lisa Chang consolidated her club fashion at the surviving Trendy Wendy. But Broadway isn’t all banks — yet. Aprie continues to offer local fashion at its Capitol Hill location and fellow indie Mishu is in the middle of its third year on Broadway while vintage is still a big deal at Red Light and Crossroads Trading.
Off the main Broadway drag, the Hill has been a little more fashion forward though the coming redevelopment of the Pinevue and Melrose buildings will put a damper on some of that as Scout (opened spring 2011), Le Frock, Edie’s and Vutique need to go searching for new homes. Totokaelo has been the fashion retailer to climb highest up the upscale with its new home adjacent Oddfellows and the Elliott Bay Book Company. Many vintage players thrive on the edges like Pretty Parlor, Cairo and KaleidoscopeVision as well as tiny 12th Ave shops In Commune and Style Syndicate (opened fall 2012). Meanwhile, the Hill also has some niche fashion sense thanks to gothic style vendor BedlamBedlam.
There’s not telling if Bettie Page will be inspired to go goth on Capitol Hill. The company’s founding designer Tatyana Khomyakova seems tapped into bringing retro fashion mainstream so steampunk — if that still exists — might just be next. Then, as the Bettie Page “about us” page says, “you too can be a celebrity by joining the exclusive group of fashion savvy gals who don a Bettie Page Dress!”