Whether you’re a fashionista seeking haute couture or simply searching to spice up your wardrobe, you’ll find the perfect piece at Art.i.fact, where racks of carefully curated clothing beckon the consignment enthusiast. From trend-setting designer clothes to funky, fun and comfortable wear, Art.i.fact has it all, along with shoes, jewelry, handbags, hats and other accessories to complete your outfit.
Browse this boutique and you might find a provocative Alexander McQueen dress or a striking Gucci leather blouse. Perhaps a pair of designer jeans from Citizens of Humanity and a T-shirt from J. Crew will catch your eye. Don’t overlook the items from Target. You might find just what you need. Whatever style you fancy and whatever your budget allows, Art.i.fact has something for you.
“We want customers to find a piece that transforms them, that they treasure, that makes them feel like they scored,” says Jennifer Rowland, who co-owns the shop with her husband, artist Michael Gullberg. “You put on something so special and you feel so good in it, and it helps knowing that you were able to get it at a price you can afford.”
Rowland describes the clothing at Art.i.fact as a mix of “high-low” fashion. “It’s very reflective of the eclecticism that we see in Santa Fe, where people get to wear what they want and feel good in,” she says. “They can put on a really edgy piece by a German designer or Japanese designer or put on a ZARA top, and wear it with cowboy boots. They can wear jeans and a velvet jacket and feel totally fine. You can wear what you feel good in, and you can express who you are. I think that’s what clothing is.”
She continues, “In this pandemic, putting on something that makes you feel good is so important, even if you’re just putting on jewelry in the morning.”
Because cowboy boots are so iconic in Santa Fe, they’re Art.i.fact’s most popular item. “We always carry them, they always sell,” Rowland says. “You can wear them in the summer in Santa Fe, which goes back to the Santa Fe aesthetic that you can wear whatever you like. Cowboy boots are always a staple. People love Lucchese and Rocketbuster when we have them, which is not very often.”
Art.i.fact has close to 1,500 consignors. “It makes a difference. Santa Fe has some really stylish women, and we are lucky to have them. I think a lot of consignors appreciate knowing that their pieces will have a second life,” says Rowland. “What I look for are things that are interesting. If, at the end of the day, it’s not interesting, then I don’t want it.”
On its website, Art.i.fact describes itself as a “A Consignment Clothier for People of Style.” In truth, this treasure trove is quite stylish itself. Located in a hip Baca Street neighborhood, the boutique is surrounded by renowned artist studios and the popular Counter Culture café. Art.i.fact’s owners lucked into this great spot a few years after they relocated here from Los Angeles, and it suits them to a tee. “We couldn’t have asked for a better location,” Rowland says, adding that they felt connected to the community as soon as the shop opened in 2014. “We opened in November and the next month, when we had out first event, was the Baca Art Tour. It was great.”
Art.i.fact has since hosted many events, from trunk shows and workshops to after-hours shopping nights. Inspired by the annual holiday Baca Art Tour, Rowland and Gullberg organized a similar annual event for summer, the Baca Street Bash, with stilt-walkers, a wandering group of musicians, a hula hoop twirler, kids crafts, an ice cream truck and more. During the pandemic, the boutique has stayed connected to the community through Facebook Live events focused on topics such as sustainable fashion and ways to re-use your old clothes.
Art.i.fact has become a beloved community hub, and not just through its events. “I’ve had women meet other women here and now they’re friends,” says Rowland. “I just had two women come in and it was their first outing together in six months. It’s a place where people feel comfortable hanging out. If you buy something, great. If you don’t, great. It’s a place to come and talk to your neighbors.”
Rowland and Gullberg are passionate about supporting the community at large. “Over the years, we’ve done drives for Esperanza Shelter and we’ve done an annual sock drive for Casa Familia,” Rowland says. “We look for ways that we can support our local community. We’re always trying to think about who needs help and how we can provide it.” Clothes for a Cause is a popular program with consignors who don’t need money from the clothes they consign to Art.i.fact. “We offer them a higher percentage,” Rowland says. “Instead of the regular 60/40 split, it’s a 50/50 split, and that goes to the nonprofit that they support.”
It’s not often that shopping for clothes rewards the community as much as the customer. At Art.i.fact, however, it happens every day.
Lynn Cline is the author of The Maverick Cookbook: Iconic Recipes & Tales from New Mexico. She has written for The New York Times, Bon Appétít and numerous other publications. She also hosts Cline’s Corner, a weekly radio show on KSFR 101.1 FM.