Crossing fashion tracks

The newest clothing store in town, Turnstyles Boutique, is making more than just a fashion statement.

The urban apparel store, which opened seven weeks ago, has gradually developed a following among FAMU students who have an appreciation for stylish couture.

Aside from providing an array of fashion choices not found elsewhere in town, Turnstyles serves as a hot spot for upcoming talent.

Located at 803 Railroad Ave., Turnstyles is not only occupying a space that remained empty for more than a year, it is in an area where several black-owned businesses have recently met their demise such as Tyrra’s Waffles & Cream. Yet, the Boutique is beating the odds by adhering to the lofty combination of high quality and high hopes.

Though not yet advertising heavily throughout town, the store has received a good flow of customers. The Railroad Square area is gradually being built up to stand out as the “SoHo” district of Tallahassee.

The latest of several business installments to the area including Fat Sandwich, Java Heads and The Beta Bar, Turnstyles is helping to achieve a trendy atmosphere.

Drigo Richardson, a Florida State University graduate and a store manager, said Turnstyles gives fashion designers and artists a chance to show off its untapped talent and sell its creations to the community.

“This store offers students an opportunity to see visions can be manifested and goals can be achieved,” Richardson said.

The owner of Turnstyles, Ivan Rivera, had the same intention.

After attending both FAMU and FSU, The 27-year-old created, a clothing Web site that featured current hot fashions.

When Rivera had difficulty getting accounts from clothing companies because they required a storefront to go with the site, he decided to open a clothing store that offered the same quality clothing.

The road to achieving his goal proved difficult after the relationship with his business partner turned sour and banks denied him business loans.

However, after revamping his business plan, Rivera received enough help from friends and family to fund the store.

From the colorful artwork that graces the entire building to the hardwood floors, Turnstyles was a creation born of kinship.

Throughout the entire process, the Boutique exemplified the community’s mentality and the ability to triumph over adversity.

Rivera said he originally wanted to reach FAMU students to “give them different styles,” but he also plans to expand the store as soon as possible to include students from FSU as customers, as well as other residents of Tallahassee.

The store features a number of impressive brands including Miss Sixty, Makaveli, Prada, Frankie B and Baby Phat.

Turnstyles is also the only store in town that sells Juicy Couture and French Connection, two of the Boutique’s more popular and expensive brands.

Additionally, the store carries two vintage lines that have all unique items and original clothing by local designers.

As far as hopes for the future of Turnstyles, Rivera said, “We would like to be recognized as the spot in Tallahassee to get all your non-mainstream fashions.”

Rivera said he sometimes takes weekend sojourns to Miami to pick up new clothes for the store, proving his dedication to maintaining quality clothing at his boutique.

Rivera is also focusing on establishing relationships with returning customers like Tamika Burton, who has frequented the store since its opening.

Burton, 20, a sophomore pre-med student from Washington, said she misses all the fashion choices of the North because most stores in Tallahassee have clothes that are too basic and lack couture.

Burton said she shops at Turnstyles because “it’s something different and it’s a little bit of home.”

With this sort of feedback and the continued support of the neighborhood and community, it seems Turnstyles is achieving its goal of being the premiere location for fashion diversity in Tallahassee.

Despite the peculiar start of being spawned from a now-defunct Web site and rocky complications, Turnstyles Boutique is proving it is as high in character as it is on style.

contact tara lynne pixie at