POSTED ON OCTOBER 10, 2007:
Hello Cleveland... er, Tulsa
Music and fashion merge at All Access
Rock Bands. The most interesting of the jewelry is a line of bracelets by Lee Dahlberg whose leather cuffs feature big rocks in geometric shapes.
How do I begin a column that combines two things I love the most? When it comes to my two big passions, music and fashion, I keep typing something and erasing it. Do I consider how both are strong memory indicators? When I think back to key moments in my life, what I was listening to sticks with me just as strongly as what I was wearing.
Do I shoot for how it seems like these two key society elements feed off one another, like how the grunge era was defined by its look as much as it was by its sounds? I mean, you can't live without clothes (if not for the rules society enforces, than at least because sometimes it's cold), but could you really live without music?
This conundrum comes about because of a new store in town with its focus on music and clothes.
I finally realized that, when I'm talking about a store that caters to indulging in a person's inner rock star, I don't have to be so philosophical. Just like the rock bands that take the stage to have a good time, All Access Clothing presents fashion in the same light.
Located at 8922 S. Memorial Dr., All Access has only been around a handful of weeks. Owner Kimberly Collins has built a career that's combined music and fashion. A Tulsa native, she is a recent graduate from Los Angeles Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising. On top of that, she spent time as a stylist for a Norwegian singer, Marion Raven. Raven's popularity outside of the U.S. lead to Collins creating looks for appearances at the Asian VMAs and looks for Jimmy Kimmel Live. After getting her degree this June, Collins left L.A. for Oklahoma to come back home to family. She set right away at creating a store that mixed her love of music and fashion. This background of music, fashion and California is in every detail of her store.
Right below the store's name is the phrase "Revive Your Inner Rockstar..." Even with this clue, you're unsure when walking up through the doors what to expect. Tall, wooden doors with heavy metal handles greet you, giving the feeling of entering a castle, not a retail store. Death and doom on the other side of this door? Step inside and you're in for further surprises.
Ladies' clothes are to the left, men's to the right, and wait, is that a motorcycle? Indeed it is--and no, it's not some plastic version. In fact, the store has two fully built, fully drivable motorcycles, built by Collins' brother. This element of a rock n'roll mentality is throughout much of the store's elements. Collins knows that the rock n'roll lifestyle means indulgence, and she has spared no detail.
There are black leather couches placed around a guitar-shaped table covered in magazines. The couches face a big flat screen TV that plays music videos; four guitars mounted on the wall frame the TV. There are vinyl records decorating a pole in the store and the wooden barracks that are booths of clothes are sprinkled with images of bands--Jim Morrison here, the Beatles and Kurt Cobain there. Details extend to the "all access" backstage pass necklaces the staff wears to the CD-shaped sticker that goes on every purchase.
But all of this could go in the direction of gimmicky if there aren't the goods to back it up. While you'd walk in expecting to see something up front that would make you want to throw up your devil horns, you're greeted instead with baby onesies, little beanies and a little clothing line of baby shoes. Because even rock stars spawn babies, sometimes intentionally, Collins has accumulated the toughest looks for little tikes. Little onesies feature the logos of Lynyrd Skynyrd and AC/DC. Hats have guitars and peace signs on them and bibs read "Milk Junkie" and "1/2 Pint." Baby can even be carried around like a superstar in a baby Bjorn-looking contraption (clearly, I'm not a mother) that is black and says "Mom," surrounded by tattoo-like designs.
What about grown-up stuff? Well, the store has a strong focus on denim, because what's a rock star without a fabulous pair? There are roughly seven to eight denim brands for men, ranging in size from 30 to 44-inch waist. Ladies have about seven to nine different brands with sizes that range from 24 to 32. Prices on the premium denim range from $80 to $280. Those of you with sticker shock should know this is the way denim is heading, with steep denim prices translating to getting higher quality fabric and fits that are created to contour to the body rather than just falling off your frame.
And, with the denim that Collins picks out, there are unique touches. For ladies, that means details on the pockets in studs, zippers, patches and stitching. Certain men's denim offers real silver elements, not the traditional copper and pockets that have flaps that vary from the regular square shape. But if you like it and they have in your size, seize the moment. Collins buys only one size run of the items she picks out, so you'd literally be the only person in Tulsa with those jeans in your size. Another perk for paying higher prices.
Tops range from $20 to $200. The boys will find lots of graphic tees, but with brands like Fender (yes, the guitar company makes clothes), the graphics are almost hard to describe, but certainly masculine. The soft, thin tees come in colors that are alluring, with lots of faded grays, blues and acid greens. There are also button downs with silver studs and the average white button down here is made from an eyelet fabric.
The store is appealing to guys, with the bikes, leather couches and complimentary drinks served. With your male companions attended to with their own shopping, ladies should use their time to look through the variety of women's clothing. T-shirts range from dressy to just plan fun (think cartoon-like characters). There are looks for your softer side (a sheer lace cardigan-like top), little black dresses that are easy to wear and Ed Hardy sweats for your lounging time. But, because most rock girls are bad girls, there are items with a little bit of an edge. Hoodies that have binding ribbons--nice like a corset or maybe a bit naughty?
Graphics like gothic crosses are prominent, as are details of rhinestones and crystals. The items tend to maneuver quite easily between day wear and something you could wear to throw back a few beers. And as far as brands and designers go, the list is as long as my arm.
In addition to the clothing, All Access has an assortment of rock n'roll-inspired odds and ends. There are Betsey Johnson make-up cases with wild Betsey-ish patterns and colors like bright red glitter. There are pointy-toed rain boots that look like they were created for a Guns N'Roses concert. Sick of waiting for the GNR Chinese Democracy album? Pick up the red roses and skull rain boots. More shoes by Ed Hardy and pumps and boots by Irregular Shoes are to come.
If footwear isn't on your list, but jewelry is, All Access is like a fully prepared roadie. The most interesting of the jewelry is a line of bracelets by Lee Dahlberg. His creations are popular amongst Hollywood's rock 'n rollingest celebrities. The leather cuffs feature big rocks in geometric shapes. As Collins' points out, they are literally "rock bands." The bracelets even come in a case shaped like a mini amp. All Access currently has a "rock band" with proceeds that go to benefit breast cancer. Since October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the pink heart stone on pink leather band is the look of the moment.
Rounding out the list of things to find are black and brown leather purses by Steve Madden, belts, ladies' undies (and coming soon, men's boxers) and drink coasters made from those former music makers, vinyl records. There are also candles--enormous candles with strong, but not flowery aromas. They have leather bands around them with silver, crystal and Gothic crosses; the band ties so daintily in the back like a corset. I'm sure the prices of these Chrome Angels Candles will surprise you (I was amazed and I'm not easily scared by high prices), but they're still cheaper than the choppers. Yes indeed, for a price, though I'm not sure what, you can drive away with your new purchases on one of the store's bikes.
Even if you keep hours like a rock star, the store has open hours available to you. Store hours are Monday through Saturday 10pm to 7pm and Sundays 12pm to 6pm. In addition, the All Access website, www.allaccesstulsa.com, currently under construction, will allow you the opportunity to shop from home or on the road. Collins says the reception has been great so far; it's like the store is already an indie success. Hop aboard the bandwagon.
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