Spruce Lane Shops: Weekend

Weekend
Neighborhood: Graduate Hospital, Philadelphia
Vibe: Artistic, gallery-like, minimalism, community-based, refined
Good for: Home goods, gifts, accessories, artwork, plants

Spruce Lane is proud to break its first piece of news to the Philadelphia shopping community! We want to extend a very warm welcome to Weekend, a new home, gifts, and lifestyle shop that opened a few weeks ago in Philadelphia's Graduate Hospital neighborhood. You may however already be familiar with the store owner, Ethan Nguyen, because his sister shop, M Concept is conveniently located across the street. 

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Both M Concept and Weekend pride themselves on putting the spotlight on made local goods by independent designers and brands. The main difference though are the scopes. M Concept is Ethan's fashion-centric outlet, selling apparel, jewelry, and handbags made by emerging designers. Conversely, Weekend is a curated space for the home, offering beautiful pieces of artwork, candles, linens, coasters and more, exclusively made by Philadelphia-based artisans. 

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I was curious about how Nguyen goes about scouting new vendors to feature in his stores and he explained it really boils down to relationships and networking. He knows many of his designers on a personal level and often commissions special pieces to be made, adding to the exclusivity factor of his spaces. 

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I must say that the sense of community in Philadelphia is very apparent after having spent some time bouncing around many local businesses in the area, and especially after chatting with Nguyen. It makes me believe that there really is truth behind the age-old saying of Philadelphia being the City of Brotherly Love. I can't help but compare my experiences here to my time previously spent in New York City and can conclude that New York's sense of community and camaraderie gets lost in translation due to its grandiosity. The energy of New York City certainly is unparalleled, but there's something also to be said about slowing down and admiring things that are made or stores that are run on a smaller, more intimate level. 

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It felt incredibly refreshing stepping inside Weekend and observing the hard work that goes into not only curating such a beautiful store, but also on behalf of all of the local artisans who produce such wonderful products and designs. Some call-outs include beautiful embroidered linens by Alyssa Brieanne Design, sumptuous candles by Zuzuglow, amazingly intricate aerials by Stitch Prism, and handcrafted ceramics by Miki Palchik of Clay Studio Designs. I also enjoyed the gallery-feel the shop had, as each assortment was complimented by a small informational card that detailed the artisan and his or her line of work. 

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As we made our way out to continue on with the rest of our day, we chatted with Nguyen a bit more about the shop's immediate neighborhood, local bloggers, et cetera and true to his nature, he was an encyclopedia of Philly insider knowledge. He listed a few suggestions of accounts for me to follow, blogger groups to become involved with, and gave us a great nearby lunch recommendation (@milestable). This "pay it forward" mentality is something that I truly appreciate and believe Spruce Lane and Weekend have in common; a passion for promoting and supporting local talent.

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As we all know, Philly sometimes gets a bad rep with many outsiders calling us cold, mean and aggressive, but step inside Weekend and that all changes. Weekend shows that we're creative, artistic, hard working, and so much more. With that being said, enjoy the rest of your weekend and visit the shop located at 1533 South St. You can also stay up to date with all of M Concept and Weekend's latest developments by following @mconcept_and_weekend on Instagram. 

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Spruce Lane Shops: DFTI Boutique

Dress For The Image Boutique
Neighborhood: Center City, Philadelphia
Vibe: Trendy, glam, upbeat, contemporary, playful, feminine
Good for: Going-out clothes, fun festival and resort-wear, statement accessories

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DFTI Boutique, also known as Dress For The Image, is a unique and fun place to visit. I initially discovered it through Philly Style Magazine’s Instagram a while back, and made a mental note to try and visit one day. Luckily that note stuck with me and months later I found myself checking the store out this past weekend. Hooray for when things like that actually work out!

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The boutique itself is somewhat small, but inside it’s packed with abundant flare and personality. For a Saturday afternoon, the place was buzzing with shoppers, families, dogs, babies, you name it! I was quite impressed with the traffic. There are two main sections to look out for: upstairs with the latest releases, and downstairs with current season styles and fitting rooms. I would describe the overall style here as trendy and contemporary, with a hint of West Coast vibes. Think a la Revolve or For Love and Lemons. And maybe I was picking up some Cali vibes because the store had spring/resort-wear out, and I have worn nothing but wool sweaters for the past three months. Sighh..

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Anyway, back to the fashion! The thing that makes DFTI really special is that the items they feature are super cute but don’t come with the discouraging price tag that you typically see at these types of shops. Everything in the store is $100 or less. I repeat, EVERYTHING in the store is $100 or less. I had to say it twice because it was almost too good to be true. The spring apparel was so fun to peruse, with lemon prints, polka dot sets, and the cutest striped cactus romper I’ve ever seen. DTFI has some really great accessories too. There were statement earrings galore, metallic cross-body bags, rose-gold chain necklaces and bracelets that are all perfect for completing your new flirty look. Most importantly, you will immediately encounter an adorable miniature Yorkie which is pretty sweet and definitely the way I like to start my shopping.

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All in all, DFTI is the place to go for picking out an eye-catching, yet affordable piece to wear during your next night out, trip, or special occasion. I just booked a weekend getaway to Siesta Key (I’ve been there before the MTV show came out, just saying..) and could envision myself wearing everything I saw on the racks during my trip. Hence, why I plan to come back to DFTI before I travel to boost my vacay wardrobe (and you should too). After all, Coachella recently released their 2018 lineup and with a visit to DFTI, you could be one of the best dressed there. Just an idea, hint hint!

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