Best Alt Fashion 2023 | Rocket a Go~Go | Goods & Services | Phoenix

Our Hot Topic days are blessedly long behind us, but every once in a while we still feel like dressing like a goth kid. When that feeling hits, we head to Rocket A Go~Go, a Tempe boutique that sells new and gently used rockabilly, retro, emo, punk, goth, pin-up and rave clothing and accessories for men and women. Owner Stormy Dodge stocks her shop with band T-shirts, tiki dresses, horror-themed earrings and the like. Rocket A Go~Go stocks clothing in sizes 0 to 3X, so cool chicks of all body types will find something they love. The store moved to bigger, slicker digs last year, which made the already delightful Rocket A Go~Go shopping experience that much better.

After this year's debacle, you may not want to go to Burning Man next year. But there are plenty of regional burns, festivals, concerts and parties to attend closer to home, and to look your best, hit up Rave Circus on Mill Avenue. Sexy, shiny clothing for men and women, wild sunglasses, fun hats, eye-catching jewelry — it's all here, plus hoops, poi sticks and other tools of the rave trade. Not really into that scene? Rave Circus also carries things like wall tapestries and incense. Well over half of the merchandise is made by Arizona creators, so you're not just getting ready to slay at the festival — you're supporting local business.

An awesome pair of sneakers is the pièce de résistance of many an outfit. If your kicks wardrobe needs some updating, we suggest a trip to Many Worlds. The sleek, minimalist space holds a dizzying assortment of mid- to high-end sneakers from brands such as Nike and Adidas. But Many Worlds isn't just the place you go to buy your kicks; it's also the place to keep them looking their best. Inside the space is Reshoevn8r, a business that offers shoe-cleaning services and sells products for you to take care of your sneakers at home. Many Worlds also sells a few T-shirts and other clothing items, keeping you looking fresh from head to toe.

The love of the desert shines through in everything Keep Nature Wild, a Phoenix-based clothing label, sells and does. "I'd Hike That" shirts, caps embroidered with desert plants and "Keep Arizona Wild" stickers are all well-made and stylish. But the folks at Keep Nature Wild do more than just sell cool nature-themed stuff. They've made a commitment to pick up a pound of trash for every product sold, an undertaking that has removed more than 1 million pounds of garbage from the environment so far. If you want to get in on the good work, you can join them for one of their cleanup events, or you can purchase a Keep Nature Wild cleanup kit; they include gloves and trash bags so that you can make a difference on your next hike.

When Macklemore was singing about thrift shops, we think White Dove Thrift Shoppe must have been his inspiration. The four Valley locations are full of treasures and finds from someone's wealthy grandpa and grandma, and you're guaranteed to find some hidden gems here, sometimes even designer or brand-new. Unlike other greedy corporate stores (we're looking at you, Goodwill), prices are affordable and proceeds go to Hospice of the Valley, Arizona's largest nonprofit organization, rather than some CEO's salary. Whether you're looking to furnish your home with real artwork or adorn your neck and earlobes with fancy jewelry, you'll probably find what you want at White Dove Thrift Shoppe's clean, organized stores. Keep an eye out for their clearance days, too — up to 75% off certainly might make you say, "It was 99 cents."

There are many wonderful things about the long temperate season in Phoenix, one of which is our abundance of local outdoor markets. Farmers markets and flea markets are popular, but once a month in the Melrose District, vendors get together to host a fun and funky vintage market. Many of the vendors sell colorful midcentury finds that match the neighborhood vibe. There are booths selling clothes, jewelry, house decor, vinyl records and some snacks. The market is also dog-friendly, so even if you don't find anything to buy, you can still hang out with the friendly neighborhood pups. This Sunday morning market pops up fall through spring.

The Melrose District, a stretch of Seventh Avenue between Indian School and Camelback roads, has long been the home of antique shops. But what makes Sweet Salvage unique is that it is only open for one long weekend each month. During the rest of the month, stylists and treasure hunters gather goods, spruce them up and create elaborate displays for the next market. Each month has a different theme to match the season, meaning you're likely to find something totally different each time you visit. On one visit, take home a comfortable leather chair to complete your reading nook. The next time, you might find a one-off piece of artwork to hang on the wall or maybe a vintage necklace, an old baseball glove or a Christmas ornament. The fun is in the unknown, so we suggest visiting with an open mind, an empty trunk and a spare hour or so to see what you can find.

Some people look forward to Christmas each year, or their birthday, or the start of football season. We mark our calendar for a weekend in February, because that's when the VNSA Used Book Sale comes around. For two days, bibliophiles and book dealers from around the country head to the Arizona State Fairgrounds to browse hundreds of thousands of books, DVD, CDs, records, games, puzzles and more. Prices are fairly reasonable and get even better on Sunday, when whatever's left over is half price. There's no cost to get into the building, although the fairgrounds do charge to park. Proceeds from the event benefit a rotating list of local charities, which helps us justify leaving the sale each year with a shopping cart full of stuff.

When you walk into Changing Hands Bookstore in Phoenix, you're greeted by friendly staff, tables of fiction and nonfiction bestsellers and, of course, the hard-to-miss First Draft Book Bar. You can grab a book, sip some wine, visit with fellow readers and writers and move about the aisles discovering your next compelling read. Both Changing Hands Bookstores welcome guest authors, hold workshops and have book clubs every month. The vibe in both locations is one of community and open exchange of ideas. The Tempe location has been a Valley mainstay for 50 years, and with the addition of the Phoenix location in the last nine years, we're all lucky to have two Changing Hands outposts to find just the right read.

Bibliophiles and bookworms of the Valley, you've got a new favorite haunt: Books on 7th Ave is a hidden gem that's off the beaten path but well worth seeking out. Tucked into an out-of-the-way Sunnyslope building marked with the word "BOOKS," the focus of the long-running retailer is as straightforward as its signage. Inside are row after endless row of towering bookshelves boasting every kind of title imaginable. Fiction and nonfiction. Paperbacks and hardcovers. Recent releases and out-of-print gems. There's also an extensive collection of true crime tales, a bounty of biographies, dozens of romance novels and pulp-filled sections of sci-fi and fantasy. Owner Mary Anne Ramirez, who founded the business in 1990, keeps the store's 200,000-plus books organized with assistance from family members and an amiable staff. They're happy to help you find something or just let you browse aimlessly for hours while exploring every nook and cranny. If you've got the time, they've got the tomes.

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