The ‘future of fashion’: New buy-sell-trade clothing store opens up in Walnut Hills
On Sundays, customers can come in and sell or trade their items
CINCINNATI (WXIX) - A business focused on affordability, sustainability, and inclusivity is officially opening on Saturday in the Walnut Hills neighborhood.
The new store, Impossible Colors LLC, is a local buy-sell-trade clothing shop that offers a wide variety of sizes, prices, and handmade products.
But this colorful shop has a much deeper meaning to it than just being a new business for consumers to enjoy - it is a part of setting the precedent for others.
What is Impossible Colors?
The vintage store came together “organically,” co-owners (and partners) Liz Wolf and Shawn Muhammad said.
Wolf, who is from Oakland, California, grew up buying second-hand products and collecting vintage pieces - a passion she has continued even when she moved to Cincinnati in 2013.
After years of selling goods and making art out of her home, she was ready for her next move.
In January of 2023, Muhammad and Wolf were at a family birthday party when she came up with an idea of what she wanted to do next.
“I want to open a store with you,” she told him.
Six months later, impossible colors LLC was born.
“It all happened very serendipitously,” she said retrospectively.
From patterned blazers and funky wolf t-shirts to wall décor and retro sunglasses, the store offers a little bit of something for everyone.
“Vintage, secondhand, and sustainable shopping is the future of fashion,” Wolf and Muhammad said. “Young folks especially are making it a priority to effect world change in real-time. Mono-culture is less and less a badge of honor, and more and more people want to look and feel like themselves rather than the rest of the world. Secondhand clothing is also often the only way lower-income people can afford to stay fitted. We want people to dress well, think differently, and afford to feed their families.”
Walking into the impossible colors, customers will be welcomed with what feels like a vibrant, chic home.
Sitting underneath a disco ball on the left side of the main entrance is a white leather couch surrounded by a room of pink, blue, purple, green, and orange hues.
Racks of vintage or secondhand clothing line the edges of the shop from front to back, and hiding in plain sight on tables and shelves, are varying entities, such as homemade stickers, local artwork, or even practical home products.
While the shop is a collection of art, designs and vintage items, Wolf and Muhammad say that affordability and community are things they wanted to consider when they started impossible colors.
“We prioritize community and affordability and know that access can be limited to those with deeper pockets when it comes to fashion,” they said. “By remaining focused on the community in the city as a whole, and Walnut Hills specifically, we have an amazing opportunity to invite our neighbors and friends to a kind of interactive shopping experience they will benefit from and be able to afford. Vintage can be very expensive and we hope to bridge the gap between historically higher-value items and everyday wear.”
Customers are also able to sell or trade their vintage and secondhand items with impossible colors on Sundays from noon to 5 p.m.
More than just a business
When it comes to owning a business in Cincinnati, it is rare to have someone like Wolf, a woman, or Muhammad, a Black man, as a storefront owner, based on data collected by the U.S. Census Bureau.
In 2017, 91.7% of Cincinnati businesses were owned by non-minorities, and 8.3% were owned by minorities, according to the Annual Business Survey.
That same year, 77.1% of businesses were owned by men, and 22.9% were owned by women.
“If you grow up only seeing one kind of person in positions of power, creativity and financial freedom then you naturally think that’s the only kind of people who are allowed to express and experience those things,” the co-owners said. “We are women and Black-owned and operated in an industry that is primarily run by white men so we hope us being in the neighborhood can help the kids here see that there is space for them to live, shop and create their own futures.”
Muhammad went on to explain what he was interested in pursuing as a career growing up in Dayton.
“I always had the mentality of someone who should be a business owner, but growing up as a Black kid, that was something I never knew I was able to do,” he explained.
The pair continued to emphasize how much they believe representation matters, especially for businesses like theirs.
“We know all too well that the majority of businesses are owned and operated by white males and often the labor is performed by BIPOC folks where the wealth gap remains high and guest experience for people of color can be non-existent or, at the very least, uncomfortable,” Wolf and Muhammad said. “Our neighborhood is primarily Black with lower incomes and strong community ties. For us to become a part of - not in spite of - this community we have so many opportunities to inspire, include and integrate people who most likely wouldn’t have been before.”
Note: The U.S. Census Bureau has not updated its demographics on Cincinnati business owners since 2017.
Impossible Colors is located at 921 East McMillian St. in Walnut Hills and will be open from noon to 7 p.m. on Saturday.
This Sunday the store will be having its first buying and trading day from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.
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