5 Questions With Deborah Shuart, Owner Of Deborah James, A Contemporary Women’s Clothing

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  1. Tell us a little bit about yourself and your stores?

I’ve been in the fashion business since the 70’s, rising through the ranks in women’s apparel at Burdines. My experience there taught me the fundamentals of the business and created a total fashion experience – from the merchandise, to visual display, to having knowledgeable sales associates who could actually assist customers to create their own personal style. We have two boutiques– one in Boca Raton in Royal Palm Place and another in Ft. Lauderdale on Las Olas. Deborah James is synonymous with innovative designs in apparel, shoes, and accessories from across the US and Europe. We focus on discovering emerging designer and are always the first to debut the new seasonal trends. The store’s selection is directly influenced by my trips to New York, Milan, Paris and LA during fashion week and countless hours of product research.

  1. You are celebrating a 30th anniversary. What is your secret to staying in business so long?

Our reputation for introducing new, exciting and emerging designers to the South Florida market makes us unique. Our vision of fashion as creative, functional, fun and original in the buying process sets us apart.  Our customer is savvy and confident. They don’t want to look like everyone else.  Their fashion style is not dictated by “big designer brands”.  They appreciate the way we curate and present everything in our stores.

During our 30 years in the South Florida fashion market, we’ve seen many small boutiques not succeed.  Teamwork is key- with our Managers, Store Specialists and suppliers – and the ability to understand our customer’s needs and change accordingly. We’re so proud to be relevant in the very competitive fashion arena. Style empowers women!

  1. How did you become interested in fashion? 

My father, James (hence the store’s name), was a menswear manufacturer in New York City, and fashion has always been a part of my life. I attended the Fashion Institute of Technology and worked my way up at Burdines, moving from New York to Miami. When it came time to wanting to start a family, I realized the corporate world wouldn’t allow me to have time for my three children, so I opened my own store in 1987.

  1. What trends you are seeing/featuring in your store? 

A few trends that are popular right now are:

  • Shine- Everything is very shiny right now. You’ll see everything from sequined jacket sleeves to ornamented boots. Sparkle and shine on shoes is particularly popular.
  • Athleisure- This trend is not going anywhere. Layer lightweight hoodies and athletic fabrics under jackets and sweaters for effortless comfort and style.
  • Velvet- Velvet can be worn from morning into the evening this season. Pick a short-sleeved velvet dress or shirt in a fall color, and you’ve made it.

This holiday season, we are featuring 2 key items – a bias cut velvet dress and a velvet top that can be paired back to boyfriend jeans and boots.

  • A few trends we are excited about for Spring:
  • As the bomber jacket downtrends – the blazer emerges
  • Embellishment on everything continues
  • Florals take over
  • High waist 80’s bottoms are key
  1. What staple items do you think everyone should have in their wardrobe? 

Cropped jeans have been in stores and runways for a while now, but it’s an essential addition to any wardrobe. Rippy cropped jeans (light washes are popular now) pair perfectly with booties, slouchy sweaters, basically anything.