As students flood into the Valley of the Sun for their fall semester at ASU and other schools around town, there are a few things they should know. Chow Bella's already given the lowdown on where and what to eat around the downtown and Tempe campuses. Now, Jackalope Ranch presents Shopping 101 for the main campus set.
Meat Market Vintage 1020 S. Mill Ave. www.instagram.com/meatmarketvintage Recently reopened after a summer hiatus, Meat Market Vintage on Mill Avenue specializes in cheeky duds, colorful finds, and threads with a sense of humor and an even stronger sense of style. Owner Ben Funke spent July in Japan hunting down new, funky finds for the shop, like a white T printed with a whacked-out three-eyed, one-legged Mickey Mouse and a misprinted basketball beauty of a top that reads "Chicago Beefs" instead of "Chicago Bulls." Of course, more serious fare rounds out the Tempe shop's selection, which includes boho-tastic festival wear, baseball caps, and carryalls.
Ash Avenue Comics 806 S. Ash Ave. www.ashavecomics.com Ain't no shame in letting your nerd flag fly, and Ash Avenue Comics is the place to do it. Stockpile your favorites from Marvel, DC, and a well-curated selection of indie publishers, browse the latest graphic novels, and chat up owner Drew Sullivan about your latest hip-hop obsessions, if you're so inclined.
Brand X 414 S. Mill Ave., Suite 120 www.brandxtshirts.com Sure, Mill Avenue's for partying, but there are local spots worth hitting up on the storied street that aren't bars. Case in point: Brand X. The independent store prints custom T-shirts in a three-step process. First, you choose what kind of shirt you want from available brands, cuts, and colors. Then you'll design what goes on the shirt, whether it's a super-adorbs pic of you or a rad logo you created for your latest entrepreneurial endeavor. Finally, Brand X prints them. Boom.
Here on the Corner 714 S. College Ave. www.hereonthecorner.com Within walking distance of campus is Here on the Corner, a small shop filled with affordable accessories and cute clothes. The boutique also stocks local items from such designers and labels as Sebastien Millon and Living Dreams. You'll find stylish standbys like Toms shoes, too.
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Blue Jean Buyer 1810 N. Scottsdale Rd. Blue jean is in this vintage shop's name, and blue jeans are its game. And lucky for fans of throwback Levi's, Blue Jean Buyer has mad game when it comes to denim. The shop also customizes cutoff jorts (y'know, jean shorts) and carries plenty of rock 'n' roller styles like band shirts and Harley leathers.
Cowtown Skateboards 215 W. University Dr. www.cowtownskateboards.com When it comes to decking out your deck and making sure your duds are tricked out, too, Cowtown's the place to go. The skate shop's stuffed with street cred, as it's employees are skaters, and the store hosts Arizona's annual must-attend skate-off, PHXAM. When the Cowtown crew isn't selling the latest from Nike SB or Polar decks, you'll likely find them at local parks working up new videos or doing other awesome things -- like chilling with Odd Future.
Changing Hands Bookstore 6428 S. McClintock Dr. www.changinghands.com Not only does Tempe literati staple Changing Hands bring big-time authors like Neil Gaiman, Anne Rice, and Stephen Chbosky to town, the store also stocks all the reads of our bookworm dreams. From new lauded fiction to guilty pleasure biographies, Moleskine notebooks, non-fiction deep cuts, and everything in between (including a rack of must-read magazines complete with McSweeney's), there's not much more we could ask of this strip mall gem.