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Face of the ’hood: Alexis Belle Crum on Fabric Row

Josh Middleton

Fabric Row in Queen Village—on 4th Street roughly between South and Catharine streets—has been a thriving textile hub for more than a hundred years. That history lives on today in a slew of old-school textile shops and fabric vendors that now live alongside a wave of young entrepreneurs who have moved in over the past few years—the merchants behind spots like Hungry Pigeon, Fabriq Spa and eclectic boutique Cactus Collective. We caught up with vintage-clothing curator, retailer and fashion stylist Alexis Belle Crum at that latter location to see what it’s like to work on a street with so much history and learn more about how the old and new interplay there.

Cactus Collective sells a variety of items. What’s your contribution?

I’m one of five people who provide hand-picked vintage for the shop. That includes all of my favorite clothing, accessories, housewares, books and records—a lot of stuff from the ’60s,’70s and ’80s.

What’s the appeal of having a shop like this on Fabric Row?

Fabric Row is such a beautiful community. In a lot of ways, it still feels tucked away. There are businesses that have been open since the 1950s and ’60s alongside some of the new shops and boutiques that have been popping up over the past two or three years. That kind of variety keeps the neighborhood really interesting—and down to earth. I can’t walk a block in any direction from the shop without being greeted very enthusiastically by every single shop owner or employee that I encounter. It’s delightful.

Do you ever venture into the old textile shops along the street for inspiration?

Holy moly, you can’t even imagine how wonderful it is in this line of work to be able to pop out for a new zipper or some fabric when you need to make quick alterations for a customer. Having all the best textile shops in Philadelphia right next door has been such a blessing for all of us at the collective.

For all the fashion hounds out there, what’s big in vintage styles for fall?

I’m looking forward to the oh-so-timeless, deep, earthy, whimsical floral patterns of the ’20s and ’90s, and a ton of sleek, geometric pattern-clashing with bright, bold colors. Pattern-mixing is the jam.

Photograph: Neal Santos

Photograph: Neal Santos

Photograph: Neal Santos

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