This past Saturday, Feb. 19, vintage-loving District dwellers found themselves celebrating the coming of the new Butler + Claypool design and art collective meant to mobilize DC creatives and celebrate a mutual love for vintage treasure hunting. The brainchild of The Washington Post’s editorial style maven Holly Thomas, Rachel Cothran of Project Beltway, Betsy Lowther of Fashion is Spinach, Kristin Guitier of the Corcoran Art Gallery, Krista Haywood and US Royalty’s Paul Thornley, Butler + Claypool’s opening preview party launched the first of what appears to be a promising new concept for community building in DC outside of the regular no-face art galleries and political hobnobbing that has left a void for local creatives in desperate need of regular showcase opportunities backed by supportive peers.
Temporary pop-up galleries have become a growing trend for the first time in DC with the popular Sofar Sounds music event series and the garmentDISTRICT’s first “Light It Up”” week featuring local designers for sale such as beloved local Nigerian-American L~Shandi who brings a colorful international style to her classically cut designs in rare patterns of African lace.
Fittingly held at the American Ice Co. bar, one of many new venues adding a serious shot of gritty character to former no man’s land neighborhoods of Washington, guests at the Butler + Claypool launch party sipped on signature hot toddies served by members of the US Royals who kept the drinks flowing while sharing plans for their upcoming US tour.
The afternoon pop-up shop showcased a finely curated selection of men’s and women’s vintage clothing and accessories featuring everything from sequined leotards to Jackie O style day dresses as well as Holly Thomas’ necklace designs that, understandably, sold out within the first few hours of the event.
When asked what prompted the new venture and how her vision for the future of the collective will be shaped, Lowther replied, “We wanted to create an atmosphere for shopping, showcasing and socializing. If we had opened a store it would have lacked the opportunity for individuals to gather and talk. Here we can bring people together over a love for design and vintage clothing.”
The trend is being welcomed by urban warriors as both an outlet for local budding talent as well as a signature way to score one-of-a-kind fashion while strengthening DC’s creative community that has too long lacked a collective voice.