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PhillySpotlight: AND WE EVOLVE - Liz Funk Interview

Thursday, March 15, 2018

And We Evolve Vintage Fashion Philadelphia

Tinsel & Tine's Spotlight on Philly's “revolved clothing” Shop

Interview with LIZ FUNK

Proprietor/Fashionista/Business Woman

behind

AND WE EVOLVE


by Le Anne Lindsay, Editor


Diane Von Furstenberg once said, “I didn’t always know what I wanted to do, but I knew the woman I wanted to be.” Like DVF, most of us are still trying to figure out what we want to do. But what if we had the tools, the mindset, and the community support to experiment with how we want to show up in the world? Welcome to And We Evolve - Liz Funk.

If you're a long-time Tinsel & Tine reader you may have seen me post stuff about PHLBloggers and The Blog Connect Annual Conference (April 28-29, 2018) it's great to be in the trenches with other bloggers, but it's also a great way to get to know about new businesses and happenings in the city, as companies reach out to us with invites and offers.  Which is how I virtually met Liz Funk of And We Evolve a new sustainable fashion company & community in Philadelphia with a showroom about to have its official launch March 31, 2018 and an online women's vintage fashion shopping site up and running!

T&T: I love how you came up with an alternate term for vintage or thrift shopping "Revolved" it's a wonderful spin. How did the term come about? 

Interview with Liz Funk of And We Evolve
 LF: Thank you! One of main goals with starting And We Evolve is to bring the many benefits of shopping secondhand to a larger audience and give secondhand an upscale rebrand. Frequently, when people think of preowned clothing, they think of musty thrift stores, or all the clothes jammed on the racks at Goodwill, or perhaps even a negative experience they had with Buffalo Exchange or Poshmark. So, we wanted to create a new category: #revolved clothing. At And We Evolve, we only sell new or like-new clothes (and, of course, vintage clothes), and we really curate what we put on our racks so everything is unique and special or intensely useful. We sell brands from “Banana Republic and up,” meaning Banana Republic and designers that would be considered a step up from Banana Republic. We want people shopping to feel like our collection is only the gems. When someone wears #revolved clothing, we want them to feel that #revolved is a badge of honor, and that this item is especially special. And that’s true! What’s so cool about #revolved clothing is that it adds such a uniqueness to your wardrobe.

T&T: Although the majority of shopping is done on the And We Evolve website (andweevolve.com), women can visit the Philly showroom by appointment...
1) How long did you have the online store before adding the showroom at the Loom? 
2) Are you a Philly Native? If so, where did you grow up? If not, what brought you to Philly? 

LF: We soft-launched the company online November 1st. We moved into the Loom September 1st, and we really only opened our doors to the public a few weeks ago, for our Galentine’s Day party. It took a really long time to sort our inventory, categorize everything, figure out what racks we wanted to use, and get the space into the shape. Starting Saturday, March 3rd, we’re open to the public every Saturday from 12pm-5pm. With our Official Launch Party & Membership Kickoff happening on on March 31st.

I’m not a Philly native, no. I grew up in upstate New York, in Albany. I went to college in New York City and spent most of my twenties in New York. I had visited Philadelphia a number of times in fall 2016 and I really, really liked it. So when I started thinking about moving last spring, with “higher quality of life” as my main criterion, Philadelphia seemed like a great fit. I took a leap of faith and I moved here in June last year, and I am absolutely loving it. This is such a warm, vibrant city, full of people who are so creative and driven. I’m a huge fan.


Visit the And We Evolve Showroom in Port Richmond Philadelphia
 
T&T: Obviously, you have a love of fashion and clothes, is this a passion that became a business, or did you study fashion and merchandising?

LF: This is a passion that became a business. My prior career was as a freelance writer and speaker. I wrote about entrepreneurship, women’s issues, career happiness, and mental health, and I spoke at colleges about anxiety management for high-achievers. I also did a lot of marketing consulting for early stage startup companies.

LF cont: I’ve always had an interest in secondhand. I remember the first thing I ever bought secondhand, a black strapless dress from a thrift shop in the East Village. It was 2007--I was a junior in college--and the dress was $2. It was thrilling. I was hooked. I shopped secondhand as a hobby from then on, and I developed an interest in having a secondhand store or an “upcycled fashion” store after college. Around the age of 26, I stopped buying things new from stores, and built my wardrobe from vintage shops, secondhand stores, clothing swaps, and estate sales. I always wanted to start this company, but I was always waiting for the idea to gel in my head or waiting to feel ready. Realistically, I was never going to feel ready--I just needed to do it. Moving to Philadelphia, meeting my business partner Alisha, learning that Alisha also wanted to start a secondhand clothing company-- all these forces came together in a very motivating way.

T&T: Tell me about your partner and partnership

Alisha Ebling, co-proprietor of And We Evolve Vintage Clothing
LF: I co-own the company with Alisha Ebling, who is a writer / grantwriter and an ardent environmentalist: we met at a Girl Develop It class in June of 2017. (Thanks, Girl Develop It!)

LF cont : If I’ve learned anything so far from And We Evolve, it’s about how important the buddy system is. In our careers, we’re generally charting our path on our own. As a freelancer and self-employed person, I worked pretty independently and made virtually all the choices around my work on my own. I can’t overstate how valuable and comforting it is to have a partner. You have someone to bounce around ideas, you have an accountability partner, and you have someone by your side during all the peaks and valleys of entrepreneurship.

Alisha is very well educated on how damaging fashion production is to the planet. She’s also one of those people who is extremely passionate about a topic and has a distinct viewpoint, but she speaks about environmentalism in a way that is so gentle and articulate and fact-based, you’re leaning in and ready to agree with her, without her telling you about any of the gory stuff that’s happening to our planet or to the meat we eat. - And We Evolve can be a stepping stone for women weaning themselves off of fast fashion. If someone learns about what goes on behind the scenes at H&M, or Zara, or really any major apparel company, and they want to stop shopping at those stores and creating demand for these retailers’ products, we’re here. Our message around fast fashion is: Wear revolved clothes so there is less of a need for retailers to make new clothes. It’s okay to wear Zara and H&M-- as long as it’s recycled Zara. As your budget allows, start to incorporate sustainably and ethically-made pieces into your wardrobe. Or, just keep shopping revolved, or supplementing your wardrobe with revolved pieces. 

And We Evolve vintage clothing membership

T&T: Tell me more about the social & female empowerment aspect of And We Evolve

LF : Together, Alisha and I have a very strong position on empowering women. We want to help women be intentional around how they show up in the world. Some women express themselves through their clothes. Some women express how they want to feel through their clothes. Some women want to feel better about themselves, and they use clothes as a tool to raise their vibration. Or, if someone doesn’t really care about their clothes or their “look,” they can be intentional in the sense that they can make socially-conscious, informed decisions about where they shop.

Plus Size Designer Fashions in Philadelphia


T&T: I was glad to see the clothing seems to range from X small to XX Large. Can you tell us how you come by most of the fashions?

LF: I’m a size 18, and making preowned and vintage clothing available to plus-size women was a given when we were starting the company. We have full inventory (i.e. we can create multiple full outfits for various occasions from our inventory) in sizes ranging from 00 to 20.

LF cont:The vast majority of clothing is donated to us by friends and people in our professional network; virtually everyone has clothing that they’ve barely worn or that no longer fits them, that they’re eager to part with. We’ve been really blessed that so many people were eager to clean out their closets to help us build our inventory and our first collection. We also acquire vintage and high-end designer items from going to estate sales on the Main Line. We are actively looking for more plus-sized clothing, especially in aspirational brands.

Designer Vintage purses, shoes, hats and coats in Philly

T&T: "Phantom Thread" was one of my favorite movies of 2017, all those post 1950 gowns are sheer dress porn! So glad Mark Bridges won the Oscar. Do you have a favorite movie based on the costumes?

Costume favorite Todd Haynes "Carol"

 LF: I love the Todd Haynes movie "Carol", starring Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara. It’s set in the 1950’s, and Cate Blanchett is a well-to-do woman who wears stunning 1950’s outfits: dresses with cinched waists, high-waisted skirts with full skirts, brooches, scarves, and incredible coats. I am a coat gal-- I really appreciate a dramatic, unusual coat. Carol is coat porn.

T&T: That's so great that you say that, I wrote a post leading up to the Oscars on all the nominated Costume designers and in my opening paragraph I talk about not liking the movie "Carol" except for the fact that the fashion was so memorable!

T&T: What are your favorite restaurants, bars, or coffee shops near your showroom in Port Richmond? (The LOOM 3245 Amber Street, Loft 5-4-C, Phila 19134) 

LF: To be honest, when we’re at the studio, we’re go-go-go. When we’re done for the day, we tend to retreat back to our neighborhoods. I live in Fairmount, and I have a number of favorite spots. Kansai on 19th and Spring Garden is really, really good sushi. Jack’s Firehouse on Fairmount has really good brunch. And naturally, I love the OCF Coffeehouse right across from the Penitentiary.

POST UPDATE 4.1.18


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is about discovering what I find pleasing in screening & eating - in case you missed it, the name is a play on Tinseltown using the Tines of a Fork.

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Will there ever be a cap on movie prices?

Will we one day pay $20 a pop?

Why don't we pay on a scale?

A crap movie like everything Adam Sandler has ever done should cost about $4.50.
Big action movies like"Lord of the Rings", "Iron Man," "Transformers" are worth $10.
Woody Allen movie or something like "Silver Linings Playbook" $6-$7.
A chick flick or light comedy $5.75 and most Indie Films $5.25.

You could even do it by seasons - all summer block busters from May to August - $10
Sept - November 15th $3.50 - $4
Back to $10 for Thanksgiving and Christmas etc...

Or you can do it by A Actors ($9 - $10), B Actors ($6 - $7) TV actors on the big screen ($3.50 - $4)

Surely I'm not the first person to realize this makes sense. Has it been voted on in the Motion Picture Industry and then vetoed? If so, why?

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