Justin Brown didn’t come up with the concept of conscious consumption, but his new boutique in downtown Rehoboth Beach will feature some of the top clothing lines following that mantra.
For the better part of the past decade, Brown worked as a wholesale executive for Eileen Fisher. He said that brand has been taking into account manufacturing practices for its clothing – chemicals for dyeing and preserving fabrics, wasteful practices used to discard unwanted material, and general working conditions – before it was trendy.
Now, he’s bringing that experience to his women’s clothing boutique, Cashmere Gardens, which will be located off Rehoboth Avenue in first-floor retail space at Hotel Rehoboth.
Brown said he’s not looking to preach about sustainable goods; he just wants to provide a place for people who care about those things. Clothes manufacturing is one of the most polluting industries in the world, and it’s about giving consumers who are interested in conscious consumption an option, he said.
When COVID-19 began, Brown was living and working in New York City, but his job with Eileen Fisher became online only and his lease was up, so he relocated to the Cape Region to be closer to his sister and her family. He’s been summering in Rehoboth for years, he said.
“I decided to pivot and save some money,” he said.
That lasted until he noticed the “for rent” sign in what’s now his soon-to-open shop. Brown said he was eating lunch nearby when he saw the sign, so he walked right up to the front desk of the hotel and asked about the space. Soon afterward, he was the proud new holder of a signed lease for the space that was most recently Cleo’s Boutique.
Brown is nearing the end of the makeover process. Gone is the light-pink paint on the walls, and in its place is a bold blue. The changing rooms will be wallpapered with a green leaf-and-key design and floored with plush carpeting. There will be velvet-covered furniture to relax on, and a variety of plants in the front window and throughout the store.
“It’s going to be a fashion terrarium,” said Brown.
As for the clothing, ethical manufacturing isn’t code for clothing without style. Brown provided a list of brands that will be in the boutique – Eileen Fisher, People Tree UK, Huma Blanco, Bembien and more. It’s going to be a multi-generational shop, said Brown. If an 18-year-old comes in with her 50-year-old mom and her 75-year-old grandmother, Cashmere Gardens will be able to dress all three, he said.
“Consumers these days are inundated with choices. I want to give them a reason to buy,” said Brown. “It’s about great-quality goods, with a narrative.”
Brown said in 2022, he plans on adding men’s clothing, but he’s opening with women’s clothing because that’s what he knows. There are also plans for a Cashmere Gardens private label, he said.
Brown said he’s pushing to open the store by Wednesday, Sept. 15. He said for at least the first month, the plan is to have the store open 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., seven days a week.
For more information on Cashmere Gardens, email Brown at email@example.com or call 302-260-9407.