Growing up, fashion designer Rebecca Turley was fascinated with the vintage items in her grandmother's bedroom. "I was the first granddaughter on my mom's side of the family, so her mother really spoiled me," Turley says. "In her room, she had a jewelry box with heirlooms, and I think she helped cultivate my love for all things retro. She was always showing me old hats and old shoes that I just loved."
Today, Turley's turned her passion into a vintage-inspired contemporary fashion line called Nostalgic Boutique. Her designs embody a tailored, classic look with modern, practical touches, such as no-wrinkle fabrics. She was named 2010 Designer of the Year at Scottsdale Fashion Week, where models strutted down an 80-foot runway in her outfits, in front of 500 people, including included rock star Bret Michaels and celebrity designer Kevan Hall. It was the biggest recognition of her work so far. "I was blown away," she says.
Turley, a Phoenix native, comes from a family of sewing matriarchs and began designing purses when she was in grade school. She earned a degree in fashion design from The Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in San Francisco and returned to Phoenix in 2008 to start her own line. Turley's clothing is diverse, from high-quality silk blouses and tailored linen pants to a dress with a two-way zipper made with matte and silk fabric, "so it creates that tuxedo look."
A lot of her pieces are hand-wash or dry-clean-only. "That might make it a little harder to sell my pieces," Turley says. "However, they're pieces you're going to have for years and years to come. They're not going to fall apart; they're not going to be out of style next season. If you take care of them, they're going to last you for a long time."
Most of Turley's clothing line is woven, but her spring line and her upcoming fall line include more cotton blends and knit pieces ("so much easier to take care of and travel with," she says). Her latest designs have a '70s influence (especially her boho-style trousers), and she also draws inspiration from men's wear, uniform tailoring, classic silhouettes, and Sears catalogs of the '50s. "I definitely keep up with current trends, but I tend to stay away from styles that are hot for a year and disappear," Turley says.
Her designs are currently online at nostalgicboutique.com, and for sale in Valley stores Local Talent, The Garage By Ivy, and The Velvet Boutique. She'll also be having a trunk show April 16 at Muse Apparel.
Turley's trying to do more wholesale, coming up with a list of boutiques that might fit her line. "The thing with a new line that's tricky is, if people don't know who you are and you're not established, they may not be willing to take a risk," Turley says.
But something tells us Turley won't be "the new girl" much longer.