A Groovy East Village Boutique in Downtown SD

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If you didn’t know better, when you walked into G St Gypsy boutique, you might think you were in a store in the Haight-Ashbury district of San Francisco during its heyday in the 1960’s. Whether it’s the many re-worked kimono shawls, imported Turkish and Pakistani silver jewelry, yarn-art on the walls, or Hamilton, the Vietnamese pig wandering the store — just because — the vibe of this new East Village clothing store is a throwback to another era but all in a good way.

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G St. Gypsy boutique, located in the East Village. Rebekah Sager

Owner of the store, Megan Costa completed a certificate program in design at Mesa College, but never worked in retail. “I felt dead doing other jobs, like waitressing, before opening the store. I knew I always wanted to start this business,” Costa says.

After running her store as a pop-up for a three months last July during the opening week of Comic-Con , Costa says the reaction from customers was so good, she decided to put a business plan together to set up shop in a more permanent brick and mortar style—G St Gypsywas born. Costa says she used her savings of less than $15,000 to get the store going, and it continues to evolve as she makes money. “We add to the decor and get pieces for display, and add new lighting fixtures, but it’s still pretty simple and humble,” Costa says.

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G St. Gypsy boutique Rebekah Sager

Much of the merchandise is re-constructed designer vintage clothing, vintage bags and shoes, and a large collection of imported and locally-made jewelry. “We keep our prices really affordable because we don’t spend a lot on rent or other decorations. The display pieces are from castoff wood blocks made by my dad. The art on the walls was given to me by my mom. Retail prices start at $5 and go up to $150, but the higher-end pieces are few and far between. The average dress costs about $40,” Costa says.

The store is situated on G Street in a highly trafficked block, between the restaurants Zanzibar and Neighborhood.

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G St. Gypsy boutique Rebekah Sager

“We don’t spend any money on PR or marketing. It’s a kind of guerrilla-style format, using Instagram, both Hamilton the pig’s account (@city pig) and the store’s account (@GSTGypsy). We’re really lucky. People come in all day long to visit the pig and then shop. We cater to many of the local women who work in the neighborhood,” Costa says.

Costa describes the store as eclectic, fun, and free spirited. “It’s boho-aesthetic with great prices and rare finds,” Costa says.

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G St. Gypsy boutique Rebekah Sager

G ST GYPSY

Where: 677 7th Ave. San Diego, 92101

Hours: Tue-Sat. 11-8pm and Sunday 12-5pm

Phone: (619) 501-5611

Website: www.gstgypsy.com

Navy Veteran Found His Tie to Tailoring

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Navy veteran and custom bow tie and necktie designer Immanuel Ontiveros is on a mission.

His passion is to convert the men of San Diego from casually dressed to upscale gentlemen with swagger — and, of course, that includes everyday neckwear.

The Sonora, Calif.-born Ontiveros ended up in San Diego after five years in the Navy, training to be a military police officer, and possibly someday a California Highway patrolman. Ontiveros says he realized he only wanted to be the “good cop” in the good-cop-versus-bad-cop scenario, and that 90 percent of the job wasn’t going to be as action-packed as he’d hoped.

So, he went back to school and earned a bachelor’s degree in leadership from National University.

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Until about a week ago, Ontiveros was working at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, helping vets with their benefits. But he recently gave his two-week notice to pursue his tailoring and designing passions — as encouraged by his wife, Anda, an attorney by trade who now works for a local tech company.

“I’ve always been a creative person. I expressed it through a love of fashion,” Ontiveros, 28, says. “Constantly reviewing men’s magazines, I noticed the U.S. was behind Europe, and the East Coast was ahead of the West — and many of the guys were wearing bow ties. Thinking I was going to be original, I went out and bought myself one. Within a day, I ran into a friend with the exact same tie on.”

So, what does an enterprising Navy vet do? He goes out and buys a sewing machine to start making his own ties. One minor problem: He doesn’t know how to use it.

“I went next door to my neighbor, thinking she was a girl, she must know how to use a sewing machine. Right? She did. But she didn’t know how to make ties. I started with some fabric from an old pair of pants.”

Today, Ontiveros has designing and sewing ties down to a science. He’s often stopped on the street and asked about his ties.

His line is called Lord Wallington, named after his dog, Wally, a local rescue mutt. Locally, Ontiveros sells in boutiques like Crow Thief in South Park, Simply Local in the Headquarters space in downtown and Lone Flag in Del Mar.

He creates small quantities of custom and virtually one-of-a-kind ties, ranging in price from $45 to $125. He buys fabric anywhere he finds it, and it’s usually not more than maybe half a yard. So, once he uses it, it’s never to be repeated. He says that exclusivity is the goal.

In addition to developing Lord Wallington, Ontiveros is being trained by Joseph Cortese, the owner of Joseph’s Menswear and Custom Tailoring shop, as an “apprentice tailor in training.”

Ontiveros admits that wearing a bow tie is a hard stylish push for most men, not to mention men in Southern California. Ontiveros says he’s helping men discover what he calls being “appropriately overdressed.”

The designer says bow ties are not a necessity but an accessory that adds to a man’s overall look.

Cecelia Church, owner of the Little Italy boutique Vocabulary, says of Ontiveros’ ties: “They’re not too fashion-forward, but if a guy wears one, he’s definitely going to look like he has style. They’re reasonably priced. We love them.”

lordwallington.com

Boomerang

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For the homeowner: Boomerang

2475 Kettner Blvd.

619-239-2040

Since 1985 Boomerang has been a benchmark of vintage modern design in San Diego. Located in Little Italy’s design district, the store offers three floors of carefully and personally chosen top quality classic modern furnishings, lighting and accessories.

Most pieces are vintage from local estates and some are new from the original manufacturers and craftspeople.  Whether you are a collector or seeking to mix unique items with your own personal style, they have something for you.

 

Dolcetti Boutique

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The trendy girls: Dolcetti Boutique

635 Fifth Avenue

619.237.4413

 

Located in the center of the Gaslamp on 5th Ave, this store offers both tourists and locals a peak at SD flavor. With mostly casual tops and bottoms, and a huge selection of dresses, it’s difficult not to find something fun to buy and add to your wardrobe here.

Owners Natalie and Minet Taylor, daughters of Bob Taylor of Taylor Guitars are all about trends and keeping merch fresh.  Whether it’s bags, shoes, hats, clothing, or accessories, if you’re looking for something to keep you planted securely in the center of the season’s fashion, this store is the place to shop.