fashion on the edge

by Liza Mitchell
When the summer months are blazing hot, neutral shades and natural fabrics will help you stay–and look–cool, according to Edge City co-owner Gunnel Humphries. She is the high priestess of cool, reigning over 5 Points for over four decades. While other merchants may rely too heavily on gimmicks, Humphries and her partner, Tom McCleery, have carved out their own niche by making an art out of fashion. Edge City is a reflection of the pair’s virtuosity with such high-end designer creations from Vivienne Tam and Betsey Johnson paired with the sparkly, vintage flavors of Tarina Tarantino jewelry. Some might say they made fashion out of art.
Humphries maintains a tricky balance of chic and avant garde in the boutique, catering to a niche clientele that appreciates a luxurious and individual style with an emphasis on the environment. “Product mix is the most difficult to get just right. It has to be within reach financially, yet you have to have the excitement. I think that people have discovered that boutique shopping offers a different and more personal experience than big, mall stores,” Humphries says. “The offerings are also not mass produced and many find they like the selection in certain small stores.”
Bold scarves woven from natural fibers are the must-have accessory for women this season, Humphries says. Long after serving a utilitarian function in colder months, they can add a pop of color and visual interest to any outfit. “Every woman should have a scarf for its versatility and color,” she says,
In keeping with their eco-friendly vibe, Humphries and McCleery do their part to reduce their footprint with green products such as OKA b flips flops and ballet flats. The colorful, handcrafted footwear is made from all recycled materials at a low-waste facility in Buford, GA. Customers can send in their well-loved flip flops and sandals for recycling. The shoes will be ground into small particles that are blended by color with new material, 20 percent of which will be blended with virgin material to create new shoes. They can also be recycled at any facility that accepts items labeled #3 under the International Recycling Code.
“[We carry] as much domestically produced merchandise as possible, hopefully vegan, too,” Humphries says. “The same goes for jewelry and accessories, too.”
Trends may come and go, but Humphries is always looking ahead for the unique statements that embody the character, purpose and vision of Edge City. She remains committed to her community, to her store and to her loyal customers. “We had no goals [when we first opened]. We took everything day by day, and we totally always loved the store through all times,” she says. “I love my store. I love to be there, to meet people, to be social. I have seen the Riverside/Avondale area blossom. Hopefully [the] shop locally [philosophy] will really stick.”