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Lexington Avenue costume shop adds local designer boutique



The Costume Shoppe on Lexington Avenue has changed its look.

The playing-dress-up destination is adding a new accessory to its sign: The store will now be The Costume Shoppe & Boutique. The shop will now feature about a dozen local fashion designers, in addition to makeup, body paint, props and more for sale and costumes for rent.

This reinvention will be celebrated with an open house Sept. 28, with light refreshments, music, models and “creative collaborative costume fun,” organizers say.

The all-local looks range from apparel to accessories, couture to cosplay, and they include some of Asheville’s premiere unconventional clothiers, such as Dawn Sadler (clothing and costume), Diane Gardner (Accentuates Clothing dance wear and street wear), Whitney Husz (Bird of Paradises Art Nest jewelry), Sheila Ann Thibodeaux Queen (Ruby Ware clothing) and Simone Bernhard (Chapeaux by Simone hats).

“All of these designers have been leaders of Asheville fashion for a long time,” said Susan Sertain, owner of the shop, and the costume-maker and designer behind the Sertainly Foxy label. “They are a slice of Asheville … I am more than pleased to be surrounded by these designers. They have changed the energy in the store.”

Stina Andersen, of ARTeries by Stina, said the collection of designers are linked only by their dedication to their individual style. “I think the challenge is figuring out how everyone’s uniqueness can be preserved, but there is a unified look.”

Each maker rents a booth within the boutique, Andersen said, and will be showcasing work in the busy streetfront window on rotation.

“We are going to do a collaborative dollhouse-themed scene for October,” Andersen said. Her brand of upcycled, eccentric attire will be in the November window, she added.

Her latest work will blend her more playful, costume-edged garb with more work-appropriate street wear, she said. Expect jackets that are hoodie/blazer hybrids and black slacks with lace or netted fabric vents on the knee.

Andersen’s studio was in the River Arts District, but she recently shifted her production to her Asheville home. “I missed that connection with other colleagues,” she said.

She also thinks the store’s Lexington Avenue location will encourage her to connect to more local clients. “I think this is a going to be a great spot for people to find all local designers,” Andersen added.

The boutique addition is the latest makeover for the 35-year-old business that opened in a house on Broadway. It moved downtown from a much larger 4,000-square-foot Haywood Street location four years ago, Sertain said. “While I loved it downtown, I had to change the direction of the store from a production rental business to a very selective, specialty costume shop,” she added. From there, a “consignment type random thrift store” emerged with costume rental and sales still a part of the back section of the store.

“This summer, the store evolved to become a boutique of street wear costume and one-of-a-kind art to wear pieces, with the rental department still in place just downsized to be more specialized, custom-built and durable,” she said.


What: The Costume Shoppe & Boutique: An Open House.

When: 7-10 p.m. Sept. 28.

Where: The Costume Shoppe & Boutique, 32 N. Lexington Ave.

Learn more: or call 252-8404.

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