An addition to Read St.


July 31, 2005|By Rhasheema A. Sweeting and Crystal Sayles | Rhasheema A. Sweeting and Crystal Sayles,SUN STAFF

A quiet section in Mount Vernon has just added a bit more flavor. Joining the hair salons and clothing stores on West Read Street is Beloved, an arts and fashion boutique.

The shop is what owner Amy Coleman calls a "hidden jewel." She wants her store to provide a resurgence for the Mount Vernon corridor.

"It's been quiet on Read Street," says Coleman, who opened Beloved in June at 208 W. Read St. "I want to bring everybody together."

Beloved promotes rising artists and designers and also blends arts, fashion and culture. Coleman says she looks for clothing that is well-made, affordable and unique.

The shop features a wide range of clothes, from urban designs to hand-beaded skirts to spunky pastel-colored heels. The walls are decorated with artwork by Texas artist Anna Swanson.

The store carries several designers, including Tani Keller, N.V. Me Designs and Kim Lyons of Greenbelt, whose Yndigo Designs brand features turquoise earrings, bracelets and necklaces. It also carries Coleman's own clothing line, Ame:Koh, which was launched in 2002.

Beloved stocks few duplicate articles, so you won't have to worry much about seeing your outfit on someone else.

Coleman broke into the fashion business after receiving a pink slip from a Northern Virginia technology firm in 2000. The layoff gave her a chance to explore her interest in both fashion and business.

She opened a store in New York and later realized that she could do the same thing in Baltimore.

"It's a hotbed," she said of the Baltimore-Washington area. "You don't have to go to New York. [Fashion is] here, too."

Braiding art

In the Victorian era, people sometimes used human hair to make beautiful art and jewelry. Hair art was high fashion with meaning -- mainly a way for folks to commemorate or remember someone close at heart. Families had Civil War soldiers' hair woven into a locket, or made decorative wreaths out of the hair from a deceased loved one. Or a woman might have worn a brooch made from her own hair as a fashion statement.

The art fell out of fashion in the early 1900s, as photography replaced locks of hair as tokens of remembrance. But Portland, Ore., artist Katie Mello has found a way to recapture this lost art by correlating history with modern trends of jewelry and art. She creates custom handmade hair-work pieces, including hair bouquets, wreaths, brooches and necklaces.

Prices range from $140-$500. To order products or find out more about the history of hair art, visit

Taking care of hair

On the subject of hair, what are you doing to protect yours this summer?

Why risk having dry and frizzy hair when Comfort Zone hair-care gel provides nourishment, and protection from sun, sea and pool damage? The gel contains para nut oil to nourish hair and hydrolyzed rice and wheat proteins to protect hair.

Comfort Zone also offers a line of products that offer protection for face, lips and skin.

Purchase these products by logging on to or by calling 866-328-4637.

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.