Mar 11, 2008

Liberty grad opens 'Folk' clothing store downtown

by Brandon Gallagher

Amidst downtown Lynchburg revitalization efforts currently in the works, one new business slated to open March 15 intends to make both a local and global impact.
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Nestled downtown near the corner of Fifth and Clay Street is Folk, a female clothing boutique that is the brainchild of Liberty alumnus Ali Hallock and her friend Sarah Jean Simmons.  
“I wanted to open up a clothing store for a long time, and Ali had the idea as well, and, to be honest, we were driving in a car one day, and we were getting to know each other, and we were just brainstorming about what to do in this town, and we both realized we wanted to do this,” Simmons said.
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Opening on March 15, Folk is not a typical downtown boutique. 
“We came up with the name Folk, and the adjective definition is ‘of or originating among the common people,’ and that gave us a lot of inspiration,” Hallock said.
Hallock and Simmons decided they wanted to open up a female clothing boutique featuring independent designers who care about the individuals who buy their clothes, which are made of organic cottons and fabrics. 
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“Something that is very important to both Sarah and I is that people know where the clothes are coming from, and they know the designers behind the clothing and who they are supporting,” Hallock explained.
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Social responsibility is an important concept at Folk.  Many of the clothing lines are fair trade, meaning that purchasers of goods in developed countries are paying fair market price for these goods to producers in developing nations.  Fair trade is also practiced to help the developing nations become less vulnerable and more economically self-sufficient.
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“It is important that people know who is affected and how things came to be (on the shelf) when they are buying clothes, hopefully helping the way consumerism is going — changing the way people view it,” Simmons said.   
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The pair also wanted to create an interesting place for people to visit when strolling through downtown Lynchburg.  They hope they have created a place where people can go not only to shop for stylish items from independent designers but also to buy jewelry or items made locally. 
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“We both hope that people become involved in this store as much as they can whether it is things that they create, or liking the feel of it,” Simmons said.
Hallock and Simmons present Folk as a stylish yet comfortable shop.  They hope to create a cultural point of access that will bring people who live in Lynchburg or attend college in the city to the downtown area, since they believe it is a place with beautiful buildings and a rich history.
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Hallock, who moved to Lynchburg from California six years ago to attend Liberty and play volleyball, believes her experiences at Liberty helped bring her to this point of her life.
“I met a group of friends that I really fell in love with and who made me want to stay, and I really started to fall in love with the downtown area,” Hallock said.
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Both girls are very passionate about art, fashion and earth-friendly products.  They have genuine concern for both the products they sell and the people who will make and purchase these products. They are both looking forward to opening Folk and interacting with their customers to gain a sense of what people from other places would like to see in their store. 
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Whether it is the organic cottons, fair trade lines, original jeans, vintage clothing and boots or handmade jewelry, Folk offers a reason to go downtown and try something new and different in Lynchburg.

Contact Brandon Gallagher at bmgallagher@liberty.edu.


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