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Tuesday, January 27, 2015 |  Madison, WI: 24.0° F  Fog/Mist
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Guilt-free garb: Fair fashion at Change boutique on Willy Street
Anderson reaches out globally.

Be the change you wish to see in the world."
- Mahatma Gandhi

Not a bad quotation to use as inspiration for a shop called Change. Spend a few minutes talking with owner Nikki Anderson, and you'll understand why she chose it. The east-side mother of two has a passion for collaboration, creativity, sustainability, local and global responsibility, and just plain neighborliness, and her clothing boutique reflects it.

You can tell a lot about Change, which Anderson opened last September, by the company it keeps. It's located in the Baldwin Corners building, next door to Hatch Art House and a stone's throw from the Crystal Corner, Willy Street Co-op and Red Sage Health. Just about everything in the store is recycled or repurposed: The sink is a converted antique dresser, shelving is recycled barn wood; even the dressing room, a spiraling, nautilus-like affair, is made from sheets purchased at St. Vinnie's, with Tyvek backing. The overall effect is quirky, eye-catching and fun.

In keeping with her buy-local ethos, Anderson serves (and sells, for $10 a pound) her own special blend of fair trade coffee from local purveyors Just Coffee Cooperative. (She also serves complimentary mimosas on Saturdays!) Local industrial designer Adrian Pereyra put together the shop's interior, and local graphic designer Melanie Balsis did the logo and website.

But where Change really makes a statement is in clothes and accessories. Anderson believes in ethical fashion, and has selected fair trade brands that support traditional skills and offer employment to women. They're sourced from such countries as Ghana, Uganda, Cambodia, India and Guatemala. While much of the clothing is vintage-inspired, it's fashion-forward, in vibrant colors and patterns and made with comfy natural fabrics like cotton, silk and wool. The accessories? Bold and modern.

Among the many offerings that caught my eye were the fun, colorful cotton dresses from Mata Traders ($68), chunky paper bead necklaces from Fair Earth ($32), fiveACCESSORIES' coppery mesh "courier" bags made from mosquito netting ($66), and bgreen's cozy, organic, cotton-striped lounge pants ($38) and pink polka dot bikini underwear ($11).

With Change, Anderson has created a welcome gathering place for her east-side neighborhood. It's a local crossroads of sorts, and a global one as well, at the intersection of east and west, developed and developing, rural and urban. Stop in, have a cup of joe, and join the rest of the world.

1252 Williamson St., 608-237-2707,
Tues. noon-6 pm, Wed.-Thurs. noon-5 pm, Fri. noon-6 pm, Sat. 11 am-5 pm,
Off-street parking available behind the building, accessible from Baldwin Street.

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