By Carissa Woytach, United Way of Greater Cleveland Staff Writer
Editor’s note: Rock the CATWALK, United Way of Greater Cleveland’s Women Leadership Council’s annual fundraising event, features fashions from several local boutiques. This series serves to highlight each boutique’s unique style and preview some of the looks to hit the runway.
In 2012, entrepreneur Susie Vitale saw a need for high-end fashion at affordable pricing on Cleveland’s east side. Cleveland Consignment Shoppe (CCS) was first a pop-up shop and then only open on weekends, before moving into its permanent space, in Woodmere, space three years ago.
“The pop-up shops went well, so we moved forward,” Vitale, owner of CCS, said. “We do women’s luxury and contemporary fashion. So it’s clothes, shoes, boots, handbags and accessories.”
CCS offers contemporary women’s fashion from big-name brands like Chanel, Michael Kors and Louis Vuitton. Many items are new with tags or only worn a handful of times, but sold on consignment for a fraction of their original price.
Vitale became involved with Rock the CATWALK (RTC) because her friend, a United Way volunteer, was looking for boutiques to participate in the event, she said. CCS strives to offer trend and classic pieces with a creative flair, providing unique items to its RTC models since 2013.
“One of my friends was on the RTC committee and suggested they take a look at us,” she said. “I think they wanted boutiques in this area and it worked out really well. I think we add a creative edge to it, because that’s what we offer. We do have trend pieces, but we have a really big variety of unique items and we try and always put those in the show.”
This year’s RTC will shift to fall fashions, and Vitale plans to offer outerwear, possibly including furs and holiday outfits. In the years CCS has participated, Vitale has seen the world of business attire change for women, allowing them to incorporate their own personality and style, and plans to play on those changes in some of the looks she offers.
“These are women who dress for powerful positions,” she said. “The big thing that’s changed is they don’t wear suits as much as they used to — you turn on the Today Show and everyone’s wearing a dress. They dress a more creatively and boldly in the professional world. It allows people to express themselves; they don’t have to wear a business suit to be taken seriously. Now, they can wear a professional dress maybe in their favorite color and they feel great about it.”