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 fundraiser features fashions from several local boutiques. This six-part series serves to highlight each boutique’s unique style and preview some of the looks to hit the runway.
Participating in the CATWALK since the store’s opening in 2012, the boutique will have something especially Cleveland-esque to offer models and attendees alike — Cavalier’s championship handbags. Made from The Plain Dealer pages of the iconic morning-after issue, Fringe is the only store to offer the stylish accessory, and co-owners Dana Demetriou and Sherry Medrick are excited to show them on this year’s CATWALK.
Fringe opened after Demetriou visited a boutique in Florida and saw the opportunity to fill a gap in Cleveland’s small-business scene. Fringe offers limited run or exclusive brands, getting small batches of pieces with limited sizing available. They also offer extensive gift items, including candles and local, handcrafted jewelry.
“A lot of our lines, no one else in Cleveland is selling,” Demetriou said. “Also, we do one of each size. So the women who come in here all the time know we get shipments every day, so they come to see what’s delivered because they know we’re going to get one small, one medium, one large. I think that helps us, because it brings women in because they know their size is going to go quick.”
Committed to transcending age barriers, the boutique offers styles accessible to women and their daughters.
“Sherry and I have been together doing this from day one,” Demetriou explained. “I was actually in a store in Florida like this and walked out with a lot of stuff for a decent price. But the biggest thing was I had my daughter with me, who at the time was 17, and she also found something. So it was nice to shop as mother and daughter…I came home and thought ‘we don’t have anything like this in Cleveland.’”
Shortly thereafter, Demetriou invited Sherry on as store manager with a partial ownership in their Chagrin Boulevard space.
During normal business hours, their store is bustling with people from across the Greater Cleveland area, but after hours, Demetriou and Medrick offer exclusive private shopping experiences guests can book for eight to 10 people.
RTC is not the boutiques only charitable event, Demetriou said. They often donate gift cards to raffles and auctions on behalf of organizations including the local Fire Department and Jewish Community Center (JCC).
“We have people come in daily asking for donations and, to be honest, we’ll at least give a small gift card,” Demetriou said. “There’s a lady who asked for some clothes to sell for the less fortunate over at the JCC. We do Big Shots/Little Stars and Flashes of Hope every year.”
Always striving to be fashion forward, Demetriou and Medrick predict styles for this year’s RTC will include “cold-shoulder” tops — cutout shoulder designs — and fringed detailing. Velvet and faux suede will abound, in leggings, capes and ponchos. Classic fall-to-winter colors include oxblood, navy, army green and whites, Medrick said.
This year’s Rock the CATWALK is Thursday, November 3 at the Global Center for Health Innovation on St. Clair Avenue. Doors open at 6 p.m. and tickets are on sale now. For more information, contact Megan Shadrach.