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CHS Pics | A spring fashion party on E Pike

With pictures and reporting by Lisa Hagen Glynn

March brings flowers to Capitol Hill — and spring fashions. Thursday night, some newly sprouted looks for the season were on display at Visette.

“This store is about women of all shapes and sizes, and anytime you want to be beautiful, you should be able to find a dress,” Visal Sam told CHS Thursday during her spring collection preview party at the E Pike store.

Sam opened Visette in 2015 with a quest be Capitol Hill’s first dress shop. She tries to keep her offerings unique by usually only carrying one size for each design. Some of the fashion is affordable — some of it is a splurge. But Sam’s view of fashion was shaped from humble beginnings.

“I was a refugee here in the 1980s, and we got donated clothes,” she told CHS during Thursday night’s party. “Our first winter, I had one pair of shoes. I was still quite cold and I didn’t have the proper clothes, and I still walked to school every day. But I would look around and see beautiful women well-dressed. And I asked my mom, ‘How do I look like that?’ and she said, ‘You have to work hard to make enough money to buy the clothes.’”

But Sam said fashion isn’t about the price tag — it’s about the work and craft and creativity.

“Now, I know beauty is not something that you can be born with, it’s a creation,” she said. “I created the beauty and the success. It’s OK to be beautiful in the world because you might inspire people, like that little girl. I want to empower women.”

You can check out Visette’s spring designs at 307 E Pike and, now, shop online at

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5 years ago

I’ve bought several of Visette’s dresses and they’re always a hit – unique, well-fitted, and well made. Sam helps me find just the right dress for the occasion.