In a city where people tend to dress more between the lines than outside the box, walking through the doors of Velouria in Ballard is

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Best Boutique Named After a Pixies Song: Velouria

In a city where people tend to dress more between the lines than outside the box, walking through the doors of Velouria in Ballard is like tempting a macrobiotic with a room filled with jelly doughnuts. It's a bright, delicious boutique of color, daring people to express themselves through fashion. There are lacy, hand-sewn tops decorated with pendants among screen-printed eyeglass cases and vibrant enamel jewelry.

"I always want to wear something different depending on what mood I'm in," owner Tes de Luna says of her personal style. "Sometimes I want to be really girly—sometimes I want to be super modern! I love that about fashion. Every day you can dress however you want, so why limit yourself?"

Sometimes a lady changes her mind, after all. When de Luna moved to Seattle from Minneapolis, it was only intended as a brief summer stopover before embarking on a film career in New York. But she soon decided to stay, waiting tables at Fremont's (now defunct) Longshoreman's Daughter and creating her own clothing line, Zuzu Pop.

"I was one of those difficult kids that never liked anything, so my mom taught me how to sew," she laughs. "And when I wasn't able to find film work [in Seattle], I said, 'Why am I fighting this?' So I just started making clothes."

After two years spent focusing on her line, she and boyfriend/Sonic Boom Records co-owner Jason Hughes (see p. 103) were at a barbecue when someone asked if she'd ever considered opening her own shop. It got her thinking, and as fate would have it, the space next to the Ballard Sonic Boom opened up the very next day. De Luna took it as a sign, and went for it.

The last three years haven't been easy. De Luna has worked hard to carve out a niche, stocking the shop with independent designers, many from the Northwest. Furthermore, all of Velouria's goods are self-designed and the clothing patterns are hand-cut, a tough thing to find in a city with few indie boutiques to begin with—most of which rely heavily on larger-scale brands for revenue.

De Luna has also involved the store heavily in the creative community, sponsoring two fashion shows a year and showcasing the work of local artists as a participant in Ballard's Saturday art walks. The shop is still very much a labor of love, however, and de Luna is aware that the changing neighborhood demographics might not leave much room for a small shop with handcrafted goods. But she's doing all she can to forge ahead, providing Seattleites with fashion options that are unique and encouraging them to express themselves.

"Where I'm from, you wear what you want to wear," she states proudly. "It's cool to be sitting on the bus and see somebody and you don't even know them—but you get a glimpse of who they are." &mdash Aja Pecknold2205 N.W. Market St., 788-0330, shopvelouria.tripod.com.

 
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