Late last summer, a new women's clothing store opened at 215 N. Franklin St. in downtown Port Washington: Moda Bella, an urban chic boutique. Now, having survived a winter on the lake, the shop is really beginning to put down roots, inviting the community in with a series of classes and events.
Owner, Michele Piechowski, has made a serious commitment to forward-thinking fashion, not only in the trendy, upscale look of the items she carries, but in the way -- and the where -- in which they were made. Most of the clothing and accessories within this lakeside boutique with an east-side feel are Fair Trade (meaning the workers were paid a living wage and provided good working conditions) or Made in the USA; a rare claim for a clothing store.
In fact, one of Michele's favorite lines this spring is from Mata Traders in Chicago, who utilize Fair Trade Co-ops in India and Nepal to make their clothing.
"I just love these garments," Michele said. "They're made of 100% cotton, of which most of is hand-stamped or hand embroidered. These co-ops pay fair wages, and offer daycare, healthcare and empowerment to the women working with them. I love that these pieces are made by one woman from start to finish, without line or piece work."
Beyond clothing and accessories, Michele has had several workshops in the store that were so well-received, she's doing them again! On Monday, April 11th, at 6 p.m., there will be a Glass Painting Class in the store. On Sunday, April 24th, at 2 p.m., there will be a Canvas Painting Class. On Thursday, May 5th, at 5:30, she'll have the second Pillow and Canvas Tote Painting Class, just in time for Mother's Day gifts. Her Pallet Class has been so popular, she added a 4th one on May 9th at 5:30 p.m. (look for the sign up on April 8th!).
Moda Bella will be closed the 2nd through the 7th for Michele to take a much-needed break, but she'll be back in time for Port's annual Ladies Night Out on April 14th from 4-8 p.m.
Moda Bella has something for all ages of women. In fact, they are currently building a special Juniors section for teens, with the same, fashion-forward focus. The boutique is open Wednesday through Saturday, but the hours can be a bit erratic, so it's best to call before you visit: (262) 261-5105.
We at Ozaukee Living Local truly appreciate Michele's commitment to being a local business in the truest sense, and wish her the best of success!