For those of you not from the Philly area, well … first of all I feel sorry for you. But I also feel sorry that you don’t get the opportunity to enjoy one of my fave boutiques in the city, Smak Parlour. It’s not just because every time I walk in there I want to step up my style game and reinvent myself, it’s also because of the owner’s, Abby and Katie, who are two bad ass chicks that set their minds to something and turned out leaving a lasting impression in the world of fashion as well as on the city of Philadelphia
I had the ultimate pleasure of speaking with them and getting the lowdown on the parlour itself, their inspiration, and what we can expect from these fantastic ladies in the future.
What was the inspiration behind Smak Parlour? How did you come up with the name?
We met when we were 15, bonded over fashion and worked towards having a store together ever since then. Smak Parlour has been a lifetime in the making. We had a wholesale line of deconstructed and embellished t-shirts called “SMAK by abby and katie,” that we sold to boutiques across the country before opening our store. After finding our Old City storefront, we had tailors sewing SMAK in the back (in our sewing parlour). We were making SMAK in the parlour and just days before opening, “Smak Parlour” came to be.
Where are some chic places we can catch the Smak Parlour fashion truck in 2014? What is the best way to find it?
We recently just drove our truck into the Convention Center for the Tattoo Convention. We will be vending at The Porch (30th St. Station) on Fridays through the spring. We are vending at the Suburu Cherry Blossom event in April. In addition, we are booking plenty of fun private shopping parties! We will be posting our events on Facebook and Twitter. We will also have an event calendar on our website.
Tell me about any new designers/collections you will carry in the new year.
We are super excited about a jewelry line we just brought in from a local Philly designer named Angela. She handcrafts rings and necklaces featuring a range of images from iconic pop figures like Audrey Hepburn, Abe Lincoln and Darth Vader to animal-themed pieces with dog and kitten portraits.
If you could give advice to young girls starting out in the fashion industry, what would it be?
Fashion and retail is less glamorous then you think, it takes dedication, lots of time, hard work, and LOTS of creativity. We love it and feel if you have passion for what you do, you can overcome the hurdles!
How did you both get into fashion? What are your inspirations?
We both shared a love for fashion and have worked in retail since we met in high school. We grew up designing our own clothes from thrift store finds and safety pins. We went to Drexel University for Design and Merchandising. Our shared tastes have always been in the vein of a little bit girly meets rock ‘n roll.
Why did you decide to open your boutique/fashion truck in Philly?
We worked in New York’s garment district after graduation and realized we needed to be doing our own thing to be happy. Being from Philly, we wanted to open a shop in our hometown! The truck came 8 years later. It was a no brainer .. .going mobile is the future. We bring the best of Old City directly to our customers!
How would you define Philly style?
Philly style is very eclectic. There is a grittiness to it, which works perfectly with our brand. We have a definite edge to our style.
I’m in love with the design on Smak Parlour … how did you come up with its look?
We are inspired by Japanese Culture, Pin- up looks, Tattoo Culture, and Downtown New York in the 70’s and 80’s. We love using non-traditional ways to merchandise, such as glittering cinder blocks! The combination is truly unique and feels like a doll house.