The Rose Garden in Dallas' Bishop Arts District isn't your average consignment store. Started in 2004 to support the 2000 Roses Foundation -- a residence center focused on the needs of women re-entering society and the workplace after incarceration -- Rose Garden does more than simply resell and rework donated clothing. Now, they are making their own in-house clothing label, Kelzookie Originals, and producing a line of candles and home scents that are beyond yummy.
"I love fashion so much, fabrics just fascinate me and always have," said Executive Director Kelly Wiley, "so Kelzookie Originals sort of grew from that place. There is so much clothing that comes in that can't be resold due to it's condition, so we recycle the fabric from those pieces into material that can be used to make something new and beautiful."
Kelzookie Originals' most popular creations are the "Madame Butterfly" tops and dresses that drape beautifully; our pick is the pink, hand tie-dyed dress version that's so very St. Tropez. The fabric was originally a large, light-colored scarf but was dyed and cut to create the piece. (See more of the designs in our gallery)
Wiley, a former designer, plays the role of creative director for Kelzookie Originals and says the name came from combining her name with a phrase that represented her crazy, funky attitude.
"I admire great use of textiles; Jean Paul Gaultier comes to mind. His use of color and patchwork fabrics are amazing. I also love Versace and Armani. Their fabrics are so fine they could be pajamas and you'd still want to wear them out of the house," Wiley said of where she finds her inspiration.
But Wiley's not a one-woman show, several women living at 2000 Roses are learning to sew, surge, and take apart garmets to recycle and refashion. Women from the foundation are also responsible for running the resale boutique and keeping it's selection of St. John, Nicole Miller, and Ann Taylor well organized and stocked. Additionally, juveniles on probation can complete their service hours at Rose Garden, and Wiley hopes that experience will usher them off of a precarious path.
"I want them to look around, learn from the women in 2000 Roses, and not end up at my door in a poor set of circumstances down the road. I hope this helps them stop the behavior before it's detrimental," Wiley says.
As for what's next for Kelzookie Originals, Wiley wants to focus on scarves and making more of the popular, cocoon-shaped tops and dresses. She's also hoping to gradually make over the Rose Garden sewing room, "It's a makeover that needs to happen! But we have needs ahead of that that we are focused on."
Those major needs include a revamped website and a large, box-tail van to take and make deliveries. A need that's already been met will come to fruition this weekend; high schoolers from Townview will perform a mini-extreme makeover on the 2000 Roses residence home in preparation for accommodating four new women joining the two-year program. They'll be moving out the old furniture that's taking up too much space, moving in a few new pieces -- some of which they've built themselves -- and giving a general cleaning and facelift to the house.
Plus, we've got word The Rose Garden is currently running an additional 50 percent off sale -- so, shop now. To visit the store, donate, or volunteer visit the 2000 Roses website for information. Rose Garden resale hours are Tuesday through Friday 11 to 6 and Saturday 10 to 6; they are located at 814 West Davis in Oak Cliff.