Walk,Walk Fashion Baby

by Brittany Mollis

Fashion in style at Bevello at Thruway

With growth comes change.

Babies turn into toddlers, toddlers turn into children and children turn into teenagers. During the course of development, people outgrow things. They may outgrow toys. Some people outgrow other people. Everyone outgrows clothes. Imagine if you still tried to fit into that cute, little one-piece bathing suit that you wore as a 10-year old girl.

You have probably looked at baby clothes and thought, “I can’t imagine being able to fit into something so tiny.” You know you did, at one point, wear that pink sundress that barely looks big enough to fit on a Barbie, but you look at yourself today, and it just doesn’t seem possible.

You have grown so much. You have changed.

Growth isn’t just for people. Growth is for cities too. Winston-Salem is growing, and the growth is causing a number of changes. The arts district of Winston- Salem is expanding. The entertainment industry of the city is changing thanks to concerts, theatres and sports venues. The restaurant industry of Winston-Salem is growing. The City is going through a revitalization.

If you ask any woman, and she will tell you that any revitalization requires new fashion.

Bevello at Thruway, located at the Thruway Center at 256 S. Stratford Road, is helping to lead the way of Winston- Salem’s fashion revitalization. On March 27, Bevello hosted a spring fashion show that featured models of all shapes and sizes strutting down the runway while a DJ played music and guests enjoyed a show suitable for New York City.

“The fashion show was great, and everyone had so much fun,” says Kim Jackson, the manager at Bevello at Thruway. The models that walked the runway were not hired from an agency, but they looked like they could have been. They were frequent clients of the store.

“The mission of the company is to empower all women to look and feel pretty,” Jackson says, “we wanted all women to be different shapes and sizes because that embodies what we are all about.”

The store, owned by Chan Namgong, was opened in Winston-Salem in 2009. More than anything else, Namgong values customer service, and the staff at Bevello exemplifies that value. Namgong wanted to be a part of the Winston-Salem community because of his fondness for the City and the potential for success in a city going through change. Keeping up with the “growth” trend, Bevello outgrew its original location, and in June 2013, the store at Thruway was opened.

While there are now 24 Bevello stores nationwide, the Winston-Salem location was the second store that opened, and it is the largest store in the company.

“Fashion is what you make of it,” says Jackson “It’s about individualism, independence and the latest trends and styles. Jackson grew up in Winston-Salem, and she is excited for the continued growth that she sees in the City.

“It’s amazing how much the City has expanded, especially over the last ten years,” Jackson says. Jackson credits much of the Winston- Salem revitalization to the efforts made by the downtown area.

“It’s not just about the growth of fashion. It’s about the growth of the economy,” Jackson says, “from the art industry to the entertainment industry, the City has done a phenomenal job with reinventing itself.”

Jackson recognizes that the growth of the Winston-Salem fashion industry would not be possible without the growth of other industries.

“The fashion industry is piggybacking off of the arts district and the entertainment district, and the arts district is even getting involved with fashion,” Jackson says.

The Bevello brand is based out of Raleigh, and most of its stores are located in North Carolina. Jackson explains that a lot of the stores are located in college towns like Greenville, Charlotte and Chapel Hill because a big portion of their clients are young professionals.

“This location opens up a much wider demographic,” Jackson explains, “we still get a lot of the college crowd because of Wake Forest and WSSU, but we also get teenagers and women in their 40s, 50s and 60s. It’s becoming a one-stop shop for all generations.”

Being a native of Winston-Salem, Jackson remembers a time when it was necessary to travel to the malls of Charlotte or Greensboro to get the latest fashion, but that is not the case anymore.

“The fashion industry in Winston-Salem is definitely growing,” Jackson says, “I remember when the mall was pretty bare. The mall has grown, and the fashion market outside of the mall has grown.”

Jackson says that Bevello welcomes everyone, but there are two rules. You can’t talk about age, and you can’t talk about size.

“We are all about superior customer service and ensuring that everyone who leaves the store leaves feeling pretty and empowered,” Jackson says, “so our staff knows our products, and we offer personal stories and testimonies to our clients to build a trust. They become like family.”

While the Bevello brand has expanded to other geographical markets like Texas and Illinois, Jackson describes the North Carolina market as being “unique.” “This market requires a little bit of everything,” Jackson says.

Bevello at Thruway keeps up with the latest demands by having a wide variety of options. Jackson explains that the store offers everything from bridal fashion for rehearsal dinners or honeymoon attire to casual, college necessities. Keeping up with the North Carolina fashion market, the store offers a little bit of everything.

Winston-Salem has seen a lot of growth over the past decade, and stores like Bevello at Thruway are just a part of the revitalization.

“This City now has so much to offer, and with that comes a younger demographic. Young people want to be here because there is so much more opportunity now than there was before,” Jackson says. !