Fabric Row still rules the South Philly shopping scene

For a fresh fix of fashion, visit Fabric Row, where traditional garments meet trendy dress. Located on South Fourth Street., snug between South and Catharine streets, Fabric Row is home to a wide array of

For a fresh fix of fashion, visit Fabric Row, where traditional garments meet trendy dress.

Located on South Fourth Street., snug between South and Catharine streets, Fabric Row is home to a wide array of cozy shops, cafes and boutiques. All of the stores participate in an event called 4th on 4th, which occurs the fourth Friday of every month from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

The event celebrates the area’s history as a place for immigrant tailors and seamstresses to showcase their work and its future as a shopping alternative to South Street. The fashionable foundations of Fabric Row invite people of all ages to partake in exciting workshops, projects, taste testings and art viewings.

Redhook Coffee and Tea

For organic and delicious coffees and teas, stop into this charming shop, where ethics are important and great beverages are served.

“[Our atmosphere] is lively, relaxing and family-oriented,” Kelsey Tagg, Redhook’s manager, said. Art lines the shop’s walls and tea covers the shelves.

Tagg considers Fabric Row to be exceptional because some of its stores have been selling fabrics for more than 100 years. “It’s an up-and-coming street and is really unique because the new stores support what was already present and work together [toward something new],” Tagg said.

Redhook Coffee and Tea is independently owned and focuses on the fair trade of coffees and teas. The employees pride themselves on their support of local businesses and try to offer as many local products as possible.

In addition to its hot beverages, Redhook Coffee and Tea offers a lunch menu of wraps, salads, sandwiches and paninis. The shop also offers a vegan and vegetarian menu to cater to those with special diets.

Sophie’s Yarns

If you’re in a creative mood and looking for fabric, check out Sophie’s Yarns. “We’re a teaching-oriented shop dedicated to providing neighborhood service,” owner Jennifer Carpenter said.

Sophie’s Yarns offers high-quality, natural fiber yarns that are environmentally friendly. “We’re working toward a green emphasis,” Carpenter said. “A lot of people push us in

that direction, and the industry is also moving in that direction.”

The environment at Sophie’s Yarns is very warm and inviting. The shop is airy and well-lit, with a furnished hardwood floor that gives it an open, spacious feel.

“People feel that they can browse here and they don’t feel cramped or rushed,” Carpenter said.

As she sees it, Fabric Row is unique for many reasons. “The layer of fabric shops has been here forever,” Carpenter said. “I really love this place – it’s very colorful and creative. I think people enjoy [visiting Fabric Row] because people are making things, and even if you aren’t into textiles, [everyone is always] very sociable, chatty and in a good mood.”

Carpenter said Fabric Row shop owners and employees don’t take anything too seriously – they’re mostly looking to have fun. The people who work in the area have built their own South Philly community.

“You get a real neighborhood feeling,” she said. “It’s different here than it is downtown because it’s further [away from Center City] and we have a little secret here . . . not many people know about us.”

Every fourth Friday, Sophie’s Yarns holds a knit-along gathering, during which they serve wine and cheese and teach knitting tricks.

BusStop Boutique

BusStop Boutique has soul and soles. This Fabric Row favorite is a women’s shoe boutique that sells shoes from international designers that are hard to find in Philadelphia.

“Women can stand out from everybody else in Philly,” owner Elena Brennan said.

In addition to shoes, BusStop sells clothing and accessories (including handbags and stockings) from France, Italy, South America and England.

Brennan is from London, so she decorated her shop with British memorabilia, including an antique bus stop sign and a Union Flag. There are minimalistic splashes of red against the white walls and floor to give the boutique extra pizzazz, and many magazines for the bored boyfriends who often accompany their girlfriends there.

765 S. Fourth St.
(215) 923-0178

Sophie’s Yarns
713 S. Fourth St.
(215) 925-KNIT

BusStop Boutique
750 S. Fourth St.
(215) 627-2357

Melanie Menkevich can be reached at melanie.menkevich@temple.edu.

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