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New Shop: Arden is a Whimsical Space Channeling Vintage Nostalgia

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Written by Brett Llenos Smith

Published on March 2, 2022
Arden / Photo courtesy of Arden

Let’s be honest: Buying stuff over the internet isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

Sure, it’s convenient. But how many times have you bought pants that ended up fitting weird, or home decor made in China that broke after 14 months? You probably wouldn’t have bought half the stuff you ended up regretting buying if you’d actually checked it out in the store.

Being able to see, touch and feel merchandise is especially important when it comes to vintage items. At the new vintage shop Arden on Main Street in downtown Buffalo, you can eliminate the unpleasant surprises associated with shopping online.

Before opening Arden, owner Cassandra Lyons had been collecting and selling vintage clothes and home decor online for three years. Recently, she told us a preference for physically inspecting vintage merchandise before buying it was the inspiration for opening a brick and mortar location.

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Arden / Photo courtesy of Arden
Arden / Photo courtesy of Arden
Arden / Photo courtesy of Arden
Arden / Photo courtesy of Arden

“I find vintage clothing is difficult to purchase online,” she says. “I really want to see how it fits, how the fabrics feel and how it works for me. So opening a brick and mortar was the way to go for me personally.’

Vintage clothing and design items can be transformative. Vintage clothes are lived in. They can make you look put together and worldly. They can also be ratty. Then, there is always the risk of becoming a retro fashion victim. Because bringing vintage items into your orbit means taking a chance, it helps to have a second opinion from a trusted friend.

At Arden, the owner-curator is your trusted friend. In addition to loving vintage stuff, Lyons is a professional makeup artist who’s worked in film and commercials. She also regularly attends industry events like New York Fashion Week, and these experiences inform her sourcing decisions.

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“Being on commercial sets and being at New York fashion week, I often see people making bolder fashion decisions than maybe they do here in Buffalo,” she says. “With Arden, I want to help people to expand their horizons.”

Part of that mission, Lyons tells us, is helping people push back against fast fashion. Ripped from the latest runway shows and democratized for the people, ‘fast fashion’ is the term for affordable, on-trend clothing that can be found at places like Target or the Walden Galleria Mall. 

Arden / Photo courtesy of Arden
Arden / Photo courtesy of Arden
Arden / Photo courtesy of Arden
Arden / Photo courtesy of Arden

To be fair, it’s easy to fall into the convenient trappings of fast fashion: Buy any old thing off the rack and at least you know you’ll fit in with everyone else. In an attempt to be even more appealing, a lot of today’s fast fashion taps nostalgia – aiming to rope in Millennials and Gen-Zers.

“People walk into the mall and see something retro based on what they wore as a kid in the 90s or whatever,” Lyons says. “But we still have those original items. They still exist. It’s just up to people to source them and bring them back to life.”

“That’s kind of my goal. I don’t want people to go to Urban Outfitters and purchase shirts that already exist. I want to combat fast fashion. Even from an environmental point of view, buying vintage is just a better way to go.”

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Just as the passage of time affects how we see vintage objects, our experiences shape who we are as people. When you buy and wear or display vintage items, it’s a visceral way of tapping into experiences that can feel personal. 

At Arden, Lyons is looking to channel experiences by creating a whimsical space. There are faux flowers hanging from the ceiling and a yellow velvet couch. Metallic blue walls are accented with original paintings and cuckoo clocks.

“I was in Florence over the summer, and I went to the Gucci Garden Museum that had a Black Forest theme,” she explains. “That was totally my inspo, creating this Alice in Wonderland, Black Forest vibe with items that are not for sale, but just wild.”

Hours: posted to Facebook | Instagram | and by appointment

Arden

Pop Up Shop Buffalo, NY 14203

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Hand picked pretty things, curated vintage clothing and home decor Being able to see, touch and feel merchandise is especially important when it comes ...

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Written by <a href="https://stepoutbuffalo.com/author/brett-smith/" target="_self">Brett Llenos Smith</a>

Written by Brett Llenos Smith

Brett Llenos Smith is a freelance writer based in Buffalo’s Allentown neighborhood who has been covering local food and culture for Step Out Buffalo over the past six years. As someone with a multi-ethnic background, he has a passion for exploring and understand the many diverse corners of Western New York.
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