While shopping often brings its own rewards, there's no reason it can't be a party, too. That's what Minette Vaccariello figured, and she thought a dance party would be a great way to expose people to a small, carefully curated selection of fashion and crafts, including her and partner Raymond Morin's line of handcrafted bags, Ray-Min Shoulderware.
So she and some crafty friends hatched Make Shop Rock, a dance party with a side of jewelry, clothes and other fabulous stuff for sale.
"I didn't want people to have a typical shopping experience," says Vaccariello. "I wanted a great time where people can go shopping, listen to great music and dance."
Back in April 2007, the first Make Shop Rock happened at Bloomfield's Brillobox, and it was a smashing success. Vaccariello says the venue made for a great turnout, between people who were there specifically to see Make Shop Rock, people who came out to dance, and Brillo-flies curious enough to peel themselves off their barstools and see what was going on upstairs.
This year's event takes place at Brillobox on Sat., July 12, and features live music and DJs. It includes some of the same exhibitors as last year, plus a few new ones. The seven designers come from Pittsburgh, Boston and Kansas.
"My focus was great designers who have really quality craftsmanship," Vaccariello says.
Boston-based Beth Marois and her husband screen-print witty T-shirts by hand as Family Dinner for One, and helped plan both this and the first Make Shop Rock. As a veteran of huge indie craft fairs like Boston's Bizarre Bazaar and Pittsburgh's Handmade Arcade, Marois says she appreciates the chance for a more intimate setting.
"Make Shop Rock feels kind of exclusive because there are only a few designers -- you can open up conversations," she says. "It's more like a party, like going to an opening."
At last year's show, models stalked an improvised catwalk in Brillo's upstairs room, and the featured designer explained a bit about what each model wore. But that interrupted the flow of the party, says Vaccariello. So this year, the models will mingle instead.
"It's not going to be a runway production or anything," she says. "We'll put the clothes on the models and some kind of button that says, 'I'm a model, check out my clothes,' versus putting them onstage and making them do runway work. It's still the Brillobox, it does have a casual vibe."
Besides Ray-Min and Family Dinner for One, the event features: Miaow, a Boston-based line of hand-sewn plush animals; Kansas–based Early Jewelry; Pittsburghers Fresh Popcorn Production, with T-shirts and bags; Built in Pittsburgh, a line of bike hats and clothes from recycled materials; and Crystala Armagost, with recycled and repurposed clothing. DJs Pete Spynda and Klaus will spin, and the evening wraps up with live music by local pop band Triggers.
Make Shop Rock. 8 p.m. Sat., July 12. Brillobox, 4104 Penn Ave., Bloomfield. $4. 412-621-6900