Uesa Goods in the News

Glassbook Magazine - Vintage Summer
Mini Vacations - The Georgetowner
Travel around in style as hot as the summer weather. Gear up for summer with fun fashion and cute cars. Grab your ride at Passport MINI-Alexandria.

Photographer: Yvonne Taylor
Stylist: Stara Pezeshkian with T.H.E. Artist Agency
Stylist assistant: Bridget Thompson
Hair: Belinda King
Models: Angela Sipper and Monty Ashton-Lewis
MUA: Kim Reyes
Producers: John Paul Hamilton

For entire article and pictures go to: http://www.georgetowner.com/articles/2012/may/16/mini-vacations/
Vintage Clothes Given Second Life
By Gail Sullivan
CQ/Roll Call Staff
Sept. 6, 2011, Midnight

Before moving into her World War II-era row house on Capitol Hill, Uesa Robinson stopped by to introduce herself.

Not to the neighbors, but to any ghosts that might already be living there.

"I'm gonna be moving in here. I hope it's OK," she said. "You can be here, but I prefer not to see you. Please don't pull out any drawers or open any cabinet doors."

Robinson isn't particularly superstitious, but she is more comfortable with the past than many of us. In fact, her home is filled with other's people's history.

When she isn't working at her 9-to-5 job, Robinson scours estate sales for vintage and designer goods that she sells on her website, at pop-up shops around town and by appointment from her home.

Racks of vintage gowns fill her spare rooms. Hairpieces once owned by a 1930s movie star are scattered across an armchair. On a hanger in her sitting room there's a mint-green cocktail dress from Erlebacher's, the Washington boutique frequented by socialites and first ladies, including style-icon Jackie Kennedy, from 1907 to 1974.

Costume jewelry, delicate lace tea gloves and scarves from Chanel and Hermes overflow from hatboxes piled high on a hodgepodge of vintage furniture. It all began in 2004, when Robinson gathered some donated clothes and sold them from a temporary space in Eastern Market to raise money for an AIDS awareness organization in Africa. The fundraiser was so successful that she started selling clothes every weekend at the venue.

One day, in search of more items for her secondhand shop, Robinson responded to an ad in the Washington Post. The seller had been a lingerie model in the 1950s and was looking to get rid of the racks of designer clothing she'd accumulated over the years.

It wasn't the designer goods that caught Robinson's eye, but the rack of clothing that had belonged to the seller's mother. Although she didn't know much about the designers of the 1930s and '40s, she was struck by the cut, fabric and detail of the clothes.

When she added the vintage pieces to her shop inventory, they flew out the door.

"I didn't know people were into vintage like that," she said. She started going to more estate sales and shifted her focus from popular designer names to finding vintage items. "Once I really started paying attention to it ... I just fell in love with it."

The Eastern Market space was taken over by Port City Java in 2006, but she continued to pursue her passion for vintage in her spare time. Her evenings and weekends were spent browsing auctions and estate sales, selling items at trunk shows and pop-up shops and supplying garments for photo shoots.

She started selling by appointment from her own home, and her clientele steadily grew by word of mouth.

When she lost her job at Merrill Lynch in 2009 because of downsizing,
Robinson viewed it as an opportunity to focus on turning her passion into a business.

For two years she spent mornings filling out job applications and afternoons working on her website, uesagoods.com. (Her first name is pronounced "yoo-iss.")

Now, Robinson is happily juggling her vintage business and a new full-time day job. Though she's got a great selection available online, local customers who shop at Robinson's home will find many items not yet listed for sale on her website.

Shopping Robinson's collection is an experience. As you sip a glass of tea and browse the racks in her living room (which is really more of an artfully disheveled display case of vintage furniture and fashion accessories than a typical sitting room), Robinson will bring an assortment of things for you to try on.

"She has an amazing eye for seeing what looks good on people," says Philippa Hughes, a fixture in Washington's creative scene and founder of the Pink Line Project. Having worked with Robinson on fashion events and purchased items from her collection, Hughes is well-acquainted with Robinson's eye for detail. "She's an artist in that way," she says. "She sees things that artists see."

Following the popularity of the TV drama "Mad Men," modern designers increasingly copy vintage styles. But Robinson knows how to spot the real thing. "Metal zippers definitely are prior to the '60s" she explains. She can look at a skirt and tell you it's from the 1940s by studying the hem length and placement of the zipper.

Her knowledge doesn't end at the construction of the garment. Sometimes Robinson can tell you a thing or two about the person who owned it. She once bought a woman's military jacket from an estate sale in McLean, Va., and was so intrigued by the previous owner that she went online and did some research. When she eventually sold the jacket, she printed out the woman's bio for the buyer.

When you buy from Robinson you get more than clothes, you get a piece of history. A dress isn't just a dress. Perhaps it's a Claire McCardell, a Pauline Trigere or a Leslie Fay dress. To modern fashionistas these labels probably aren't familiar, but they are among the names that first defined American style apart from European influences.

There's a reason styles from the '30s, '40s and '50s became "classics." In an era when affordability and quality seem mutually exclusive and ever-changing trends are mass-produced, Robinson's well-curated vintage collection is an attractive alternative for a shopper who wants something unique that will also stand the test of time.

Robinson doesn't buy clothes just to sell them. She is a collector of history. Each garment has a story to which a new chapter may be added as it's passed to a new owner.
The Georgetowner, Splash: 2010 Swimsuits
Read Full Article

No time for scrambling to the gym to carve off those extra inches. The heat is on! But don't worry. Don't break a sweat. I got your back. Whether you, like supermodel and Victoria's Secret siren Naomi Campbell, choose to work out with gyrotonics or you're into brisk power walks around the neighborhood like me, get ready to shed the clothes. Make a splash this season with color, style and whimsy. Sip your favorite poolside refreshment while showing off those sexy curves.

From the nostalgia-inspired ruffle bikini by Jean Paul Gaultier to the divine daisy print, rainbow-colored vintage swim wear of the '50s, these suits have been masterfully crafted to show off and create those flattering feminine lines. Skillfully positioned darts and bias cut patterns place the right attention in the right places - if you know what I mean. Skin in or skin out, wet or dry, you'll turn heads and make the fabulous fashion list. Oh, and don't forget your SPF 30. You'll need it, because these swimsuits are sizzling and oh-so-cool.

Fashion Editor, Photography: Yvonne Taylor
Creative Director for Fashion, Stylist: Lauretta McCoy
Makeup: Lauretta McCoy
Hair: Milroy Harried
Lighting: Michael Wilson
Model: Gabby, for CIMA Talent
Uesa Goods Featured in Washington Life Magazine May 2010
Goods Stuff - Uesa Goods Vintage & Designer Fashions
You know how to put your money where your mouth is. Hoots and hollers over your last shopping spree earned you the nickname Clothes Hoarse.
But Uesa Robinson's home-run vintage clothing shop could leave you speechless.
Set in her brick-lined Capitol Hill row house, Robinson's by-appointment-only boutique contains rooms of treasures: midcentury cocktail dresses, boudoir-ready marabou slippers, and even '60s swim caps.
Robinson prowls estate sales and secret sources for brocade car coats, hardly-worn Chanel pumps, and Yves Saint Laurent anything.
If you don't have time to visit, her new site stocks an ever-expanding selection of current merchandise. She donates a portion of all proceeds to a charity helping Kenyan school children.
See? Your clothes can be a workhorse, too.

Daily Candy, November 03, 2009
Secondhand clothes get brand-new reputation
By Jayne O'Donnell and Elaine Hughes, USA TODAY

What!? Buy someone else's clothes?

It's a reaction many people have until they see the typically low prices, good quality and large selection at many of the more than 25,000 resale, consignment and thrift shops in the USA. And with back-to-school season in full swing during trying economic times, the resale industry is geared up for better-than-usual sales.

"When people perceive things are getting a little tighter, we do see the benefits in our retail stores," says Taylor Bond, CEO of Children's Orchard, a chain that specializes in "gently used" kids' clothing, toys and products. Secondhand clothes have "become more acceptable," he says.

The National Association of Resale & Thrift Shops (NARTS) estimates sales in the secondhand industry have risen about 5% each year for the last decade. America's Research Group says up to 15% of people shop at resale or consignment shops at least once a year; 21% visit a department store at least that often.

Thrift stores, which are operated by non-profits such as Goodwill, have been around for decades, but more-upscale resale and consignment shops didn't really take off until the 1980s. Resale shops buy good-condition used clothing outright from consumers, while consignment stores will sell them but don't give the donors their cut - usually half of what the clothes sell for - until after the sale.

Many shoppers steer toward resale and consignment shops for children's clothing, designer or vintage apparel and even wedding dresses, while others look for more mainstream brands such as Banana Republic and Ann Taylor at a fraction of their retail price. In an informal survey, most USA TODAY shopper panel members who have children said they have shopped for their kids at secondhand stores, and many said they'd be doing so this year.

Christina Griffey of San Mateo, Calif., always considered resale/consignment shops to be like thrift stores. But after a friend, who is "as finicky as I am about wearing other people's clothes," told her she shopped at Palm Beach vintage shops, Griffey decided to give secondhand a chance. She and her 17-year-old daughter went shopping for prom dresses at upscale San Francisco stores and found great buys.

"We will certainly be looking, come back-to-school time, for clothes for my daughter," Griffey says of resale shops. "She had, in the past, looked down her nose at those types of places, but now we have both come to realize that they are not 'those kinds of places' any longer."

Children's secondhand stores "are definitely busier before the school year starts," says Adele Meyer, executive director of NARTS. "Clothes are so expensive, and this is a good way to find good clothing at a good price. Kids grow quickly, and many times, they outgrow clothes before they have a chance to wear them."

Bond acknowledges that finding kids' casual clothing that is both used and presentable isn't easy: "The toughest things to get in resale are boys' jeans." To help compensate, Bond says, Children's Orchard stores have "playwear" sections that have clothes that "might not come up to our highest standards."

Rhea Lubich of Prescott, Wis., says her children have friends who find great buys at secondhand stores, but it's definitely not for them. "Once we did go into a consignment store, and the girls reversed immediately out the door. The store had such a foul odor."

Valerie McKenzie, who owns Texas-based consignment chain Restyle, says she and other store owners have worked hard to overcome that image. McKenzie says her stores smell so good and are so organized that people walk in and ask if the clothing is really used.

There's usually no question the clothing is used in resale shops that specialize in vintage clothing, but that doesn't mean the standards are any lower. Vintage items, which include clothing from the turn of the century to the 1970s, are popular these days, especially platform shoes, handbags, chunky jewelry and anything designed by Emilio Pucci, says Uesa Robinson, a former Capitol Hill shop owner who will start selling vintage and secondhand designer clothes next month at uesagoods.com. The clothes need to be inspected carefully and treated delicately, but a really fun find can be "nirvana," she says.

Even used wedding dresses are attracting a following. White Chicago, which sells new and used wedding dresses, does a brisk business.

"Bridal stores often carry only five or six designers, but bridal consignment shops have dresses from a lot of designers and many that are discontinued or from previous seasons," says White Chicago owner Ursula Guyer.

When it comes to selling to secondhand shops, consumers report varying experiences, with many saying the shops were so selective - and stingy - that it made more sense to donate to a charitable group.

Bridget Menke of Jacksonville says a local resale shop offered her only $1 on a shirt she got from Baby Gap for $10 and her child wore only once. When the store told Menke it'd be selling the shirt for $6.50, she decided to give it to a friend. After a resale store near Lincoln, Neb., balked at Susan Bejot's basket of clothing from Urban Outfitters because its wasn't "more neatly prepared," she decided resale wasn't for her.

"It simply is not worth the hassle to get so little money for so few items and still have a lot to donate anyway," says Bejot.

McKenzie acknowledges being picky. She requires that clothes be styles that are from the past two to three years, be clean and free of holes or spots.

Robinson appreciates the high standards: She buys nearly all her clothes at consignment shops or estate sales. "I love the high of not knowing what you're going to find."
Part of the revenue goes to PCRD, which is a non-profit organization that donates school uniforms to low-income families in Kenya. Click here for more information.