Located next to Albuquerque’s 1937 El Vado Motel, Vanessa Dagavarian’s vintage clothing and eco-goods shop fits in nicely with the restored Route 66 motor lodge’s retro vibe. Dagavarian opened Swan Song in November as a next step in her lifelong passion for vintage clothing and the environment. “There is no throwing something away—there is no ‘away,’ ” she says. “Trash ends up in landfills and oceans, and the way we’ve been living is unsustainable.”
The boutique carries eco-friendly goods produced primarily by female-owned businesses, including packageless deodorant and skin-care products made with seed oils. Her colorful vintage collection has bits of men’s and kids’ clothing mixed in with women’s boots, jackets, dresses, heels, and pants.
Don’t miss: Earrings made with old tarot cards, created by Albuquerque-based artist Keren Levin. 2500 Central Ave. SW, B200, Albuquerque.
Kelly Wilgus’s upcycling journey started out of necessity. While working on the sewing machine she inherited from her grandmother, the former police dispatcher ran out of fabric. Then her eyes fell on a vintage curtain that she thought would be perfect. “It took that moment to realize that I could use anything as fabric,” Wilgus says.
In September 2020, she opened Sew Minimal Boutique & Studio in Old Town, where she creates and sells her upcycled garments and accessories. “Each of my creations is unique and one-of-a-kind,” she says. Wilgus makes shirts, fanny packs, dresses, and scarves from bedsheets, curtains, and other fabric she finds in thrift stores.
Don’t miss: Her appliqué pouches, featuring little cacti or roadrunners. “Many consumer products are seen as disposable,” she says. “Upcycling old fabric into new fashion allows me to be part of the solution.” 404 San Felipe St. NW, Suite C4, Albuquerque;.
Sara Basehart, owner of Seconds Eco Store, in Taos, has a passion for everything green. The Mississippi native built her Earthship home with her husband, Phil, and creates multimedia artwork and fashions with recycled materials. When Basehart opened her 400-square-foot store in the John Dunn Shops in 2010, it felt like a natural evolution. “We want to inspire people to look at new ways to reuse things they are throwing away,” she says. “Small acts add up to big changes.”
Seconds Eco Store carries recycled, solar-powered, and handmade items like lanterns and twinkle lights, journals created with vinyl records, recycled-glass cups, and fair-trade baskets and rugs. “Your eyes feast on the colors and the concept,” Basehart says. “When you focus in, you realize it’s made of waste.”
Don’t miss: Upcycled jewelry by Florence Giron (Taos Pueblo), who uses CDs to create blingy earrings.120 Bent St., Suite D, Taos; 575-751-4500.