A Fashionable Fable

Tara Light in her new Crossroads shop, Fable.
Tara Light in her new Crossroads shop, Fable.

When we found out that one of our favorite local designers was opening a new shop in the Crossroads, we couldn’t get there fast enough. And once we laid eyes on the unique, dreamy inventory stocking this baby pink-hued boutique, we never wanted to leave. Here, Tara Light takes us inside the new Fable and proves that shopping local has never looked or felt better.

Q: Describe a look, head to toe, that someone could put together from a trip to Fable?

A: Fable has it all, which sounds like a Burlington Coat Factory tagline, but it’s true. While we carry beautiful dresses and funky jumpsuits, the foundation of most of the looks I put together is our awesome Imogene + Willie denim. Take those jeans, throw on a funky blouse from Litke or Samantha Pleet, add our handmade Bryr clogs and Giant Lion raw turquoise earrings and you’re good to go. We even carry a perfume line, Goest Perfumes, so you really can put your whole look together.

Q: What inspired the name Fable?

A: That was the most challenging aspect of setting up shop. There is so much to convey. I knew I wanted the store to be equal parts magical and practical. I wanted my customers to feel the whimsy of fashion, but understand the seriousness of mindful clothing production.

Q: The name also just feels very you.

A: I’m obsessed with all things animalia and flora and fauna, so it was a dream come true that these elements were able to be incorporated into Fable’s branding and environment. I love that it gives a wink to my past as an English student, too.

Q: Fable’s location in the Crossroads is also meaningful since the West 18th Street Fashion Show played such a pivotal role in launching you as a designer. Is that why you landed here?

A: The Crossroads is, in many ways, the heart of Kansas City—pumping out art, music, food, and culture like none other. To feel like I am contributing to that nourishment is an honor, particularly after having received so much from the Crossroads community in the past. The women of West 18th Street (Jamie Miller, Peregrine Honig, Danielle Meister, Hadley Johnson and Peggy Noland) were the first to recognize, support and ultimately, stand by me. How could I leave the sisterhood?

Q: Speaking of sisterhood, the shop’s inventory solely features emerging American women designers who produce in the USA or through fair-trade means. Why was this focus so important to you?

A: Supporting American designers, and therefore, American patternmakers, textile artists, seamstresses, and all of the other throngs of people that go into making a fashion line come together, ultimately means supporting the American people and the economy. It’s the shop-local trend, only a bit grander.

We recently marked the one-year anniversary of the factory building collapse in Bangladesh [killing more than 1,000 garment-industry workers], and I hope it has not been forgotten by the masses. So many have become obsessed with the quantity-over-quality philosophy of fast-fashion stores, and I hope the deaths of so many help people realize what’s at stake.

Q: Your eponymous collection is stocked at Fable, but you’ve recruited new-to-K.C. brands like Dusen Dusen, Ilana Kohn, Feral Childe and Giant Lion. Beyond their production standards and brand stories, what drew you to these designers?

A: I looked for a point of view! For so long, when I went shopping, everything just blended together. If I was able to find something really exciting and different, it cost me my left arm and first-born child. I wanted to find clothing that had a story: custom prints, weird fabrics and interesting cuts that managed to not completely destroy my bank account.

Q: And did you succeed?

A: I think I’ve accomplished that, with most items in the store ranging from $100 to $300. And the fact that you could have spent the same amount on something that was not mindfully made is just the icing on the cake. It’s feel-good fashion for all.