In a city known for skimpy club wear and designer jeans, R+D Hipster Emporium feels like a breath of fresh air in the middle of Boca Park. The name stands for research and development, and owner Mariah Lewis focuses on offering brands that never show up on local shelves in a store that looks unlike any other.
Pulling up to the store, white teepees stand by the front door and vintage sewing machines are stacked in the window, while Lewis tries on samples that have just come in from brands like Brandy Melville, One Teaspoon and Blu Moon. The atmosphere is just like Lewis—relaxed and refreshing.
- R+D Hipster Emporium
- Sunday, 11 a.m.- 7 p.m.; Monday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-8 p.m.
- 740 S. Rampart Blvd. #11, 750-0550
“I had the opportunity to open the store in the Forum Shops and Fashion Show, but I didn’t want to change my aesthetic to cater to tourists,” says Lewis, whose No. 1 fashion rule is to always stay open-minded. “A lot of what I see here is sexy or uninspired, so I wanted to stay true to myself, and it has benefited me over time.”
Lewis grew up in rural Southern California, where she stood out because of her style experiments. Her mark on the fashion world came in 1993 when she moved to Las Vegas and got a job as an assistant shoe buyer. She then went on to own a few high-end retail stores, before opening R+D in August 2010.
“I love fashion, trends and creation, but also business and accounting. I always envisioned having my own business. When most girls dreamt about their weddings, I was thinking about having my own store,” Lewis says.
Now that she does, the store reflects her personal style. A combination of rock ’n’ roll and hippie chic, R+D is stocked wall to wall with children’s, women’s and men’s clothing, home items and gifts that take you away from the Valley and into LA or New York, two cities that have inspired Lewis.
She’s currently in the process of designing her own fashion line and hopes to expand R+D to multiple locations including Austin, LA and New York.