Seth Cooke: Fashionable finds at the Charleston Farmers Market
For more than 20 years, Saturday mornings have brought the Charleston Farmers Market to Marion Square. Although most people think of the market only as a great source of fresh produce and delicious delicacies, it also boasts an amalgam of fashion-friendly finds.
Ranked among the top five farmers markets in 2008 by Travel + Leisure magazine, the market has a lot to see, so it can be easy to miss a good find. But if you keep your eyes open, there is fashion everywhere. For a complete list of vendors, go to charlestonfarmersmarket.com.
Jewelry is the main contender at this market. As you make your way past the delicious smells of the Charleston Spice Company and The Good Dog Bakery, you’ll find yourself face to face with Robert Clair’s Southeast Creations. Clair’s jewelry features pieces of local china and pottery set into sterling silver rings, necklaces and bracelets.
A little farther down, just past Nicole’s Nutty Goodness, you’ll find Zola Jewelry by Sharon McLean. Her pieces stand out as unique and fun without being kitsch. Her specialty and best-sellers are her intricately layered leather cuffs ($39-$49), but she has a good selection of jewels as well.
If “new” isn’t your fix, then The Scarlet Poppy might be more up your alley. Artisans Michelle Fowler and Jennafer Bryan have beautiful pieces crafted out of vintage finds that look like they could be family heirlooms.
A farmers market may seem like a strange place to sell hats, but the summer heat in Charleston makes stopping at Carolina Millinery Co. a must. Natalie Simmons has been working as a milliner for 11 years and trained with Rose Cory (milliner for the late Queen Mother) and Waltraud Reiner (founder of the Melbourne School of Millinery).
The Carolina Millinery Co. has a spot right in the center of it all across from ReWined candles and Zola Jewelry. Her hats range from fashionable fedoras to chic cloches and trendy wide brim sun hats to slim fascinators.
You can pick up a hat on the go or have one made to order and delivered to your house. Pieces start around $20 and can range up to more than $200.
Perhaps the biggest surprise find at the market is Add Libb Designs handbags. As you step into Libby Ganong’s tent, across from Carolina Millinery Co., it feels like stepping into a small and chic boutique lined with small handmade bags that would fit in well at any high-end department store. The large size envelope clutch is her go-to bag. It can be customized with handles and chains for more versatility. Although the bags also are available online, Ganong offers a special price to locals at the market — all of the bags are under $90 (prices start at $104 online and shipping is extra).
Seth McCormick Cooke is a stylist and freelance writer based in Charleston. Reach him at SethMcCormick@me.com.