Yoga-clothing store to open in Cityscape

Share
Ra-Apparel trains employees in workshops to make the clothing that will be sold in the store, which will hold its soft opening this summer and grand opening in September. (Matt Longdon/DD)

A new clothing store specializing in yoga and bohemian clothing will open in downtown Phoenix at CityScape this summer.

Ra-Apparel will sell clothing made of organic and recycled materials during a soft opening in the summer. The store will have a grand opening on September 15 with a fashion show in the CityScape courtyard with 75 to 100 models, Ra-Apparel owner Roman Acevedo said.

Acevedo wanted to start a new venture creating affordable yoga clothing. Now, he’s trying to build a business that makes a difference in the community and the environment.

The clothing will be department-store quality and the store will offer a lifetime guarantee on all clothing, he added.

“Money will come if you do things right. That’ll take care of itself,” Acevedo said. “We’re trying to make a product people are excited for.”

Although Ra-Apparel specializes in organic clothing, some items will not be made with organic material.

ASU Downtown student Alexis Roeckner said a sustainable clothing store is a wonderful idea.

“Not only would a sustainable clothing store be a good touristy attraction, it would promote a more environmentally friendly perspective to a city that is already an example of urban sprawl,” Roeckner said.

Acevedo partnered with the Arizona Opportunities Industrialization Center, an organization that retrains workers and finds jobs, to staff his team.

Currently, Acevedo has 20 students that went through the training, learning pattern making, manufacturing, dying and silk screening.

In the future, Ra-Apparel hopes to have up to 150 employees who can make 200-300 items daily, Acevedo said.

“Their background doesn’t matter, just the desire to learn,” he said.

Using eco-friendly production methods is also important to Acevedo.

Ra-Apparel buys all its organic cotton from textile mills in the United States and most are “mom-and-pop places trying to keep their doors open,” Acevedo said.

“It costs a little more, but I’m willing to make it,” he added.

Besides cotton, some of the clothing is made out of refined bamboo and recycled plastic bottles. The former is refined and spun into cloth. The latter is turned into nylon and spun with cotton, but it feels just like cotton and is actually a little more durable, Acevedo said.

“We’re all about feeling,” he said. “If it doesn’t feel good, we’re not putting it on.”

Journalism major Charissa Heckard also believes a sustainable clothing store is a good idea. She added that Acevedo will need to provide a lot of information about sustainability and his business to be successful.

“Everyone who is really knowledgeable about sustainability can see through false attempts,” Heckard said.

Businesses are realizing that sustainability is popular and are using that label to bring in sales and target audiences without actually being sustainable, Heckard added. Also, many sustainable products are often expensive.

“If (Ra-Apparel) is addressing the cost, that’s sustainability,” Heckard said. “If they’re costing extreme amounts, it’s only sustainable to those who can afford it and not everyone, which sustainability is about.”

Acevedo chose downtown for his business because of the revitalization movement and the expansion for growth.

“Young people with the energy will change downtown Phoenix,” he said.

Ra-Apparel may expand in the future, but Acevedo thinks the business will always have its roots in Phoenix. Products will also be available online.

The clothing store isn’t the only way Acevedo is trying to make a difference downtown.

Besides the production studio, Acevedo has a free yoga studio in the loft. The studio is not to make money but any donations are given to the teacher, he said.

“(Yoga) helps me stay balanced, focused, it allows me to create,” Acevedo added. “If it wasn’t for yoga, (Ra-Apparel) would be all about profit and we’d be making clothing overseas.”

His studio, which is also in the manufacturing studio located near First and Jackson streets, is also the only “anti-gravity” studio in downtown Phoenix with harnesses that suspend users in the air to help them stretch more, Acevedo said.

Sociology and business senior Brittany Harris doesn’t wear yoga clothing often but said she is going to look into Ra-Apparel because she wants to wear yoga clothing more.

“I like the variety. They’re not sticking to one style,” she said.

Contact the reporter at mlongdon@asu.edu

Clarification: April 26, 2012

An earlier version of this did not state that although Ra-Apparel will specialize in organic clothing, some of its items will not be organic.

4 COMMENTS

  1. Great article Matt! I would to clarify a few things. We are a company concerned about our environment. We will source organic and sustainable fabric that is very important to us. Only about 85% of our product line will be certified organic. We are not trying to represent ourselves as an organic store only.

    Our goals are to

    1.) Create Jobs

    2.) To source America made fabrics and to be proud of our Made in Downtown phoenix Label.

    3.) Cloth our children in need by providing a weeks’ worth of clothing to each child we touch.

    Matt you did a great Job. Thank you for taking the time to meet with me.
    Respectfully,
    Roman Acevedo
    CEO ra Apparel

  2. Very inspiring to start up a new yoga clothing line!
    Maybe your apparel will make it up to Vancouver, BC to the cities most authentic and acclaimed studio: Semperviva Yoga. Their Lifestyle and Apparel stores might like what you have to offer http://www.semperviva.com/locations/

    Namaste!

    @Yoga_Life_Van

  3. I first heard about RA clothing in my doctor’s office. Charissa Heckard was on the TV and was talking about the clothing line.

    I googled and here I am. I applaud Roman Acevedo and wished I lived in the Phoenix area. I would love to be able to come into the shop and take advantage of the yoga studio.

    I want to thank Mr. Acevedo for his humanitarianism, his generosity, his hiring practices and for making his clothes line affordable. I cannot say enough about this man and his philosophy.

    Thank you Mr. Acevedo,

    Namaste

LEAVE A REPLY