On the second floor of Hannah Michel's mother's antique store on West Main Street the 27-year-old stores her vintage collection. The colorful pieces represent her young, bright and kitchie style, and in her mind, each piece has history and a story to tell.
“It's really fun learning about clothing and its history," she said of her business, tucked inside a window-lit bedroom in a historic downtown Fort Wayne house. "I actually sold a dress to a girl and she was going to wear it for her graduation, and the lady I bought it from, it was her graduation dress years ago. I thought that was really cool. It's fun to pass on that history.”
Michel sells her hand-picked vintage collection through her vintage fashion line, Spry Fashion, inside Mercantile on Main, 1753 W. Main St. Michel will be showing off her line at the pop-up shop with friends from Conspiracy and Studio 13 Tattoo 5-10 p.m. Friday, July 18 at Canton Laundry, 1016 Broadway, in downtown Fort Wayne.
Michel has been collecting since high school after she visited a boutique in Detroit on her way to study in Japan. Her collection became awfully large, and that's when she decision to open her own line to sell right here in Fort Wayne.
“I know people charge big bucks for items like these on Etsy, but I want to make the unique items available and affordable here in Fort Wayne,” she said.
Michel and her dad would often run past the house standing at 1753 W. Main St. until one day they decidedto buy it, fix it up and open their own business. She said some of the inspiration was to be a part of the energy downtown.
“I really enjoy Fort Wayne and I wanted to be a part of the revitalization of downtown. It's important to me. When I was younger, downtown was dead, and now I wanted to be a part of the growth and putting my own stamp on downtown,” she said.
A nurse at Lutheran Hospital by day, Michel is also a seamstress. She often repairs items and even sells creations of her own, and Spry's style is one of a kind. She calls it a good mix of vintage with a modern flair.
“Style, for me, is not necessarily having the best outfit, but it's wearing it with confidence, and it's something you're comfortable in. I get different items from different places, including estate sales and auctions as well as people bringing things in for me to buy that was either theirs when they were younger or their grandmother's or mother's,” she said.
Spry Fashion was named because of Michel's mix of old and new. Spry, defined by Merriam-Webster dictionary, means “full of life or energy.”
Adrianna Michel, Hannah's sister and fiancee to Jes Farris, one of the owners of Conspiracy and Studio 13 Tattoo, said the pop-up shop is a great way to check out local businesses and their owners.
“It's really interesting because the reason this all came about is because ARCH is working to develop interest in those buildings on Broadway, so they decided to do the pop-up shops, and they range from everything from art shows to concerts. I think it's great to draw interest to the downtown area. With Mercantile on Main, my family and I have been involved with buying and renovating old buildings, and we really support these efforts,” she said.