TEES BY TWO: From Becca Berk and Erin Ritchie.
If you frequent one of the hip clothing boutiques in Hillcrest or the Heights, odds are you’ve come across the T-shirts and/or pajamas of be6 designs. (If not, see the accompanying photo or surf on over to be6.com.)
That’s b for Becca Berk, e for Erin Ritchie, and 6 for the age the Little Rock natives were when they met. (They were Becca Thom and Erin Cearley when they graduated from Central High in 1990.) Although they grew up together, they didn’t start be6 designs until years after they’d both moved from home. Their separate careers intersected for a short time in San Francisco about five years ago; other than that, they’ve not lived in the same city since they left Little Rock to go to college. Berk still lives in San Francisco, but Ritchie’s now in Chicago; they run their business solely over the phone and the internet.
Both have backgrounds in sales, not fashion design, so some of those details included finding talented women artists whose work they put on their T-shirts and pajamas. Their first T-shirts hit stores last December.
I like their designs because they’re unusual and feminine without being too cutesy or so trendy no 30-something could carry them off. One line features art inspired by the four elements (that’s earth, wind, fire and water, not hydrogen, cadmium, helium and potassium). Another has Asian-inspired floral designs. The Scenic Roots tees feature photos taken by Ritchie on a road trip through the South.
Be6’s lines are reasonably priced, too — around $40 for the T-shirts, $78-$112 for the pajamas. After perusing the be6 website, my only initial complaint was that their size chart is not kind to the bustily endowed: A large fits size 6-10, and there is no extra-large.
But Ritchie said that’s not how they intended things to turn out, and a new shipment set to arrive in late August is sized more realistically, extra-large included. The new shipments include more colors and long-sleeve tees for the Scenic Roots line, as well as what they’re calling the Tribute Tee, a, fitted, ruby-red v-neck with the words “not the nanny” across the chest in pink letters.
“It’s in honor of our friends with little kids who always get asked if they’re the nanny,” Ritchie said. Ten percent of the proceeds will go to the Arkansas Children’s Hospital.
Little Rock stores that carry be6 designs include Tulips, Thread, Beyond Cotton and Bella Boutique. Look for a new spring line to arrive around Christmas.
In other news, while I was in the neighborhood checking out those be6 t-shirts, I popped into a couple of stores in the Heights to see what was on their mark-down racks. A lot of camisole tops, of course, but those of you who are both skinny and brand-conscious will no doubt be more interested in the half-price Seven and Juicy jeans at Tulips. That’s right, now they’re only $100 a pair.
Over at Winterberry Homes, tables marked 50 percent and 75 percent off held dishes, candles, soaps and such, even green polka-dotted tissues (the kind you dab your eyes with, not the kind you use with a gift bag). If you go, don’t miss the retro tin wind-up toys. The store used to have quite a variety, but on the clearance table they’ve been bought down to a few carousels and some zeppelins, all inexpensive to begin with and marked half off. They’d make unusual gifts for kids, of course, but also for adults with a whimsical bent.
If you drive by Soho Modern on Cantrell in the next week and see the windows all papered over, have no fear. They’re just in the middle of one of their periodic overhauls — making room for new furniture and rearranging everything. Owner Becca Hayley said with this redo, she’s getting back to her roots, with a selection of “mid-century modern knock-offs” — spare, tulip-based round tables similar to those designed by iconic Finnish architect Eero Saarinen, for instance. The store should reopen by Monday, Aug. 3.