Gazette 20080717

By Audrey Smythe-Wei

Thursday, July 17, 2008 — I stopped by the clothing store Wearhouse the other day to visit my good friend Loretta Rivers. It's been a long time since I've been able to chat with Loretta, because she has been very busy lately.

Ever since she released her summer clothes collection last month, the clothing store has been packed full of shoppers.

"I've never seen dresses and board shorts go so fast," Loretta told me.

"I think the citizens of Millsberry were excited to spend some time outside enjoying the beautiful weather we've been having. I've taken up swimming in Lake Sylvane before the store opens, because it has been so nice out!"

Now that the stampede for new clothes is over, Loretta is less busy, so she invited me over to catch up. We set up some lawn chairs in front of her store, and Loretta served some tasty ice-cold lemonade. It was the perfect end to a hot July day.

As we sat relaxing in the warm evening air, we watched fireflies light up the sky. Music from Tee Ray's recording studio next door made us want to get up and dance.

"Sounds like someone is putting together a great new album," Loretta said.

With the summer clothes selling out in her store, Loretta told me that she's already turned her attention to what she'd be selling this fall. She sells clothes from different designers in her store, but some of the items are Loretta's own creations. For example, if you bought a striped tank dress lately, you've got a Loretta Rivers original.

"Each time I put new clothes in my store," Loretta said, "I try to mix in some of my own designs. One day, I'd like to exclusively sell items I've created, but I'm working up to that."

Curious about how Loretta finds inspiration for her designs, I asked about her creative process.

"Well, usually I go on a trip to find some new fabrics and ideas, and then I bring them back to Millsberry. I take a couple of weeks to imagine how to incorporate those new ideas into something comfortable that my customers would enjoy wearing. Then I sketch it out, make patterns, and pull out my sewing machine!" she said.

"By the way, did you know that the patent for the first sewing machine will be 218 years old on Thursday?"

I asked Loretta where she plans to go for new fabrics for the fall, and she said, "I'm actually having a tough time deciding. I've narrowed down the choices to Paris, France; Milan, Italy; Morocco, in North Africa; Los Angeles, California; or New York, New York. Maybe you can help me decide?"

So, readers, can we help Loretta decide where to go on her trip? She'll be going in August, so go ahead and tell her where to go in this week's poll. Maybe we can get her to write us a letter while she's traveling.


Thursday, July 17, 2008 — Summer is the perfect time to try new things. Why not create a new invention? See if your family has some things they don't need that you can use. Buttons from worn out clothes, cardboard tubes from wrapping paper, and grocery bags can all be used in a variety of ways. Can you build a rollercoaster for marbles? Or a sail boat for the sink? Your only limitation is your imagination.

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