Stephanie Doucette is a rescuer.
Of fabrics, that is.
The spunky owner of SWING, a women’s and children’s boutique in Cold Spring, is committed to spotlighting collections made from salvaged vintage fabrics, buttons and trimmings, or those with an eco-friendly edge. It’s that dedication to reclamation that defines her brands — Doucette, her women’s line, and Petite Duval, her kids’ line — along with a lot of panache.
“That was definitely a huge focus from the beginning — local and rescue,” Doucette says. “I put all of my efforts into sourcing, because for me, the collection always begins with the fabric.”
SWING, which celebrated four years in February, boasts a cool, laid-back vibe, with wardrobe-building must-haves and gift-giving staples. Located on Main Street, just a short walk from the village’s Metro-North station — not to mention, breathtaking views of the Hudson River — the store has a welcoming soundtrack that includes Beyoncé’s “Run the World (Girls),” a fitting song with a catchy chorus that chants, “Who run the world? Girls.”
Doucette’s eclectic clothing boasts every color and covers every fashion need, from casual to professional, night out to leisure. A glass table calls attention to Commando, a Vermont-based woman-owned, luxury undergarment brand — because, Doucette says, “It begins and ends with undergarments” — and another to Parker Smith, a Los Angeles-based, eco-friendly, woman-owned denim brand, which recently joined the store. Winter accessories (including hats, gloves and scarves) line the walls alongside unique jewelry, gifts for kids (like backpacks, puzzles, watches and hair embellishments) and books for all ages.
“Everybody needs to be reading,” she says.
The store showcases a wide selection of items, which are all made domestically. The brands are researched, selected and sourced by Doucette, who never sways from her mission.
“Everything in this store is super-curated and very purposeful,” she says. “There’s no fluff. I cut the fat. I don’t want anything unless I totally believe in it and I stand behind it.”
Vintage fabrics always enamored Doucette, who became involved in the fashion business after relocating from Los Angeles — where she was a yoga instructor — to Manhattan’s Little Italy to be with her husband. She managed the Fifth Avenue Intermix store for a number of years, then befriended a new neighbor, who shared her love for all things vintage. It was the early 2000s and the pair noticed a gap in the market for ultra-feminine vintage clothing, such as slips, elegant gloves and capelets — which eventually evolved into a successful dress and coat collection that was designed and produced in New York, 20 blocks from Doucette’s new apartment in Chelsea. In 2005, she debuted the collection with a partner, Doucette Duval, in the Chelsea Hotel.
“We were super-underground. We were very girl-in-the-know, and we loaned our stuff to everybody,” Doucette says.
Though her idea for the collection had changed, her commitment to vintage, the environment and rescued fabrics remains consistent.
“I always, from the beginning, was committed to doing things hyper-locally. It was all about the Garment District,” she says. “Seventy percent of the collection was rescued goods, which means that I was finding goods that could have come from a high-end luxury house.”
She recalls a supplier who sold Doucette her grandmother’s embroidered cottons.
“You can’t find fabric like that anymore,” she says.
Doucette’s imprint in the fashion world would evolve again, following the birth of her three children (Wilson, 10, and twins Max and Charlie, 7) and her business partner’s departure.
“I was still manufacturing on my own, partner-less, three babes,” she says. “I could see myself nursing and then (rushing) up to the studio,” she adds with a laugh.
Doucette and her family moved out of the city to Cold Spring, where she opened SWING with her good friend, Evan Ross, who previously owned Frock, a women’s designer vintage store in Manhattan for some 20 years. After two years, Ross returned to his old stomping grounds — he missed the city, Doucette says, which left her to run the show. And she continues to do so, selling women’s and kids’ clothing and accessories that are all designed, created and produced by a team in her Big Apple studio.
“Everything is created with my eye on the needle in New York City,” Doucette says. “The fabric has already been made. It’s not like I have to make a robin’s egg blue, triple crepe dress in silk this season for my March delivery. No,” she says with a smile. “I’ll see what I can find.”
Doucette is committed to lowering the massive carbon footprint left by the fashion industry’s disposable clothing movement, she says. By retailing low-cost items in bulk, clothes are being discarded at record high numbers and winding up in landfills, destroying the environments of other countries. The manufacturing of these clothes, she says, is often done by children. To convey her mission of repurposing, Doucette plans to create an in-store space where women and girls can borrow from a selection of dresses, for a very minimal fee.
“If they have to go somewhere and they can’t afford one of my dresses, or maybe they just don’t want to buy something, they can borrow mine,” Doucette says. “Borrow it. Share it. I don’t really like the word, ‘rent.’”
The idea perfectly binds with her overall vision for the store.
“That’s life, man,” she says. “You do have to ‘SWING’ or else. You’ve got to be flexi. The key to life is moderation and flexibility.”
SWING is at 65 Main St. in Cold Spring. For more, visit swingshopping.com or call 845-809-5955.