Mary Ellen Brown

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Spring Fashion Blossoms in Four Local Shops

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It may have snowed recently in Baltimore, but the Shops at the Village of Cross Keys have your springtime wants and needs covered.  Two anchor stores at Cross Keys offer new seasonal trends not only for the hip and fashion-savvy woman but also for the young fashionista in the making. And two exciting newcomers to the village offer fine jewelry and, for the first time, vintage clothing.

Ruth Shaw’s Ray Mitchener Celebrates 40 Years of Fashion in Baltimore

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Ruth Shaw
Ray Mitchener, owner of fashion boutique Ruth Shaw, celebrates 40 years in business this weekend. He poses here with his stylish team of sales pros.

As anyone who has worked in women’s clothing will attest, retail is a tough business.  To run a successful boutique for a few years is an admirable feat, but to thrive for 40 years, well, that’s nothing short of remarkable.

Tomorrow marks the fortieth anniversary of Baltimore high-end women’s clothing boutique Ruth Shaw.  The store opened in 1973 by namesake Ruth Shaw, a former tennis clothing designer and renowned local fashionista before it was even a word! She sold the boutique in 2008 to her long-time manager and buyer Ray Mitchener, who has run the store with the same commitment to quality merchandise, the latest trends, top designers and more, features that have made the store a Baltimore institution.

The upscale boutique will celebrate “Forty Fabulous Years of Fashion” Saturday night with cocktails at its Cross Keys location and 100 close friends, supporters and, of course, the 85-year-old original owner Ruth Shaw.

We caught up with current owner Ray Mitchener, who has played a huge role in establishing the store’s brand while helping to run the business for the last 35 years (he was a model for Versace, Ralph Lauren and others before). He is known and respected in the fashion industry and the store’s national reputation — it has been recognized as a fashion leader by Harper’s Bazaar, Elle and Lucky — has earned Ray access to the best and hottest European and American designers, and in the store, it shows!

He gave us a few insights into the secrets of his success…

You have kept a high-end designer business alive for 40 years in Baltimore, which is not a high-end designer town.  What is your secret?

I think the real reason we have enjoyed such longevity is that we constantly change and evolve with our clients, listening to their wishes and demands and nurturing our relationships with them.

I am forever seeking the “next and now” in fashion and trying to bring it to Baltimore, keeping in mind that it has to be wearable and somewhat practical. I think the keys of staying in business for over forty years is staying relevant.

It is  my greatest joy to help a woman discover more about herself through clothing.

Why did you decide to buy the boutique?

I bought the store in 2008 because, working with Ruth for so many years, it was a natural succession. I love what I do. I want to continue the legacy of Ruth Shaw.

What has changed about retail since you started working in it years ago?

The changes that have made the biggest impact on the fashion industry from my perspective are the accessibility of clothing through internet shopping, the fact that designers are accessible to the masses via product lines for Target, Kohls, Uniqlo, and others. Lastly, our relaxed dress codes have changed fashion, too.

Menswear with a Feminine Touch

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sart balt dec 2012 7

Aysia Stieb, 18, From San Francisco

At Artifact Coffee

Hi. Are you a student?
Aysia : I’m studying photography.

From Hair to There

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Euhnee Kim, 38. Photos by Lee Kriel.

She’s Got the Blues

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Photos by Lee Kriel

Cyndy Germershausen
Office Manager
Age 60

Location: Mt. Washington

Sartorial Baltimoreal: Rocking His Jeans

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Scott Wable
47
Owner of jeans store, Jean Pool 

Sartorial Baltimoreal: Graduate Studies in Style

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Photos by Lee Kriel

Tobi Thompson
29
Graduate Student

Sartorial Baltimoreal: A Perfect Match

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Photos by Lee Kriel


Lewis Skinner and Katrina Bonds
Ages: 21
Roland Park (Outside of Starbucks on Roland Avenue, where Lewis works part time)

Sartorial Baltimoreal: The Fashionisto

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Photos by Lee Kriel

 

Roswell Conception
Age 24
Fashion Sales Rep

At the Village at Cross Keys, Baltimore

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