Plus-size secondhand and vintage store Re/Dress NYC (109 Boerum Place) will shut its doors this weekend after three years in business.
“The reality is that financially the store has not been covering its expenses. I have no more resources to put into it,” said owner Deb Malkin. “I chose to close now when we could do it in a positive and celebratory, albeit tenderhearted way, rather than ending up in a crisis that looked like sneaking away in the middle of the night because I couldn’t pay the bills.”
Since 2008 the shop has filled something of a fashion void, selling vintage and secondhand contemporary clothes alongside new items from indie designers, all in plus sizes, which are largely overlooked by other retailers. Finding vintage items (like the coats on our most recent Vintage Vantage) in larger sizes can be very difficult, but Re/Dress stocked racks and racks of vintage dresses, coats and other wardrobe staples. The store has also served as host to many events over the years, like workshops and book signings, aimed at promoting size acceptance and body positivity. There have also been regular trunk shows and sales featuring independent plus-size labels.
“It is practically impossible for independent designers to make a living making plus size clothing as there are so few boutiques in this country that there is no sustainable economic structure to support them and their work,” Malkin said. “These designers have not just vision, but also the incredible desire to serve this community and deserve everyone’s support.”
The store will hold one of these events this weekend to go out with a bang. The INDIE+ Fashion Show takes place Friday night, with the indie merchandise on sale Friday and Saturday. They will have clothing from Big Girls United, Domino Dollhouse, HissyFit, Size Queen Clothing, and Sweetooth Couture.
The last day to shop in the Brooklyn location will be Sunday, November 20, but there will still be an online store. Malkin, who is relocating to the Bay Area next year, also said she is considering putting together some sort of tour with pop-ups and shopping events around the country.
“I believe that while an online store can’t replace what we’re losing, I’d like to hope that we will still stay connected via social media as well as traveling pop up shops,” she said. The positive spirit of the store, however, is something that won’t go away. “While I don’t think there are stores like Re/Dress, that sense of empowerment and positivity isn’t about a place, it is something that lives inside, and they can bring that and demand better treatment wherever they shop.”
The INDIE+ Fashion Show is at 8pm on Friday, November 18. Tickets, which are selling out fast, are available on a sliding scale from $10 to $20. The event benefits the Center for Anti-Violence Education.