VERT & VOGUE offers a fresh take on indie fashion at its downtown boutiques,and it puts sustainability up front. While staying true to its small town ways, the retailer makes a big splash with local, New York and California brands that are all American made. Read all about why its founders, Nadira and Ryan Hurley, chose Durham and what’s next from this local favorite.

UD: 12 hours in Durham, where would you go? VV: Start at Parker & Otis for breakfast, head to Duke Gardens for a stroll, then visit the Nasher Museum. Hit Toast for lunch and enjoy an indie retail adventure after at Indio, Hamilton Hill, Magpie, Exotique, Pleiades, Dolly’s, Runaway, Chet Miller and more of our faves on the way, including of course yours truly! For dinner, try Mateo then experience live jazz at Beyu Caffe. Celebrate your day with a night cap at Alley 26.

Any under-the-radar fashion brands you have your eye on? Most of our brands roll under the radar. One of our latest faves is Ceri Hoover from Nashville. Her bags and leather goods are admired for their simplicity and elegance. She utilizes the highest quality leathers in the world and works with some of the most talented American artisans to create her collections. Another standout this season is No. 6 Store’s
ready-to-wear line made in New York’s Garment District, and its elevated clog and boot collection.

What made you decide to settle in Durham? We were captivated by Durham’s culture, history and the opportunity to be a part of its downtown renaissance. We wanted to start up V&V in place where it could contribute. We noticed there was a sophisticated palette for food here, which the restaurants and their slow food ethos had cultivated. We wanted to add to that on the fashion front, especially as we had a similar ethos, promoting slow fashion and small-production brands.

What does personal style mean to you? Our style telegraphs on the outside who we are inside. It gives us an opportunity to show our uniqueness, creativity and sense of play. It can open others up to us before a conversation has even started. When we hone our style down to its essence it’s such a great feeling, and it makes our mornings a breeze! Our first act of artistry each day becomes creating our ensemble.

You showcase a ton of amazing brands in your two stores, is there a difference between the two locations? Our flagship location showcases our men’s and women’s collections, while our newer second location in Five Points focuses on women’s and lifestyle goods like ceramics, fragrances and art books. The collections at each location are made up of different designer mixes, but each represent the ethos of Vert & Vogue.

Since opening Vert & Vogue in 2008, how has Durham changed for you? The number of boutiques has more than doubled. People are coming out to support indie retail and walk our streets now. This creates spontaneous connections, and strengthens our welcoming community and culture. The human scale size of our downtown, different than many, creates a delightful walking experience. It will only get better with more density. Downtown will soon be bursting with vital, creative energy, day and night. Unscripted will play a great part in this milieu, as it sits right in the City Center. Sustainability is huge to Vert & Vogue.

How is this showcased through your stores? From locating our stores in a revitalizing, walkable downtown, renovating historic spaces, utilizing reclaimed and locally made fixtures, sourcing 60% of our collection in the US and buying goods made with natural fibers, sustainability is a priority for us. We invest in small, conscientious brands. 70% of them are women-owned. These indie upstarts create green solutions and positively impact the fashion industry.

How do you help people with their style? We encourage people to play dress up and try new things as we guide them. This process helps each of us see ourselves anew. It’s freeing and refreshing. We strive to create a fun, playful environment where everyone feels comfortable doing this. Come play dress up with us!

Best piece of advice on the key to success? Build a team of great people! Develop a collaborative culture and empower everyone. Create easy, ego-less communication and ensure the best ideas win. Encourage healthy conflict. When sparks fly magic often happens!

Where do you see Vert & Vogue in five years? Deeper in Durham! We love our city. We’re excited to grow our women’s, men’s and lifestyle experiences here, as we continue to develop our e-commerce business and online voice.