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Consumer Culture Large Photo


Consumer Culture

Picture yourself working 9-to-6 at a gig you can’t live without, while your sideline passion is all you ever dream about. Now imagine the alternate reality and consider the vision it would take to make that shift.

Without such risk takers, Atlanta’s consumer culture would be driven by the market interests of chain stores, franchises, and big-box retailers. So this year we celebrate the makers, those self-made entrepreneurs and sustainable small-business owners who’ve turned crafting hobbies into full-time hustles. Many work out of home studios, supplying product to local independently owned shops, and even shipping to stockists around the world.

Rachael Riedinger began leather making to fill a void. Through trial and error, she’s built Neva Opet into a recognized handbag and accessories brand. Sheree Swann started ReeFresh by Ree, her handcrafted line of tribal-print accessories, from scratch before making it her daily devotion just six months ago. Others, like Ateaelle urban merch brand owner Kirsten Daniel, have a vision for the city that fuels dialogue through design. We decided there are so many natural bath and beauty products made locally by the batch that they deserve their own category. Not to mention the holistic health practitioners, such as Crystal Jones and Leah Tioxon, who help us realign our third-eye vision.

Sometimes divining the future of a city obsessed with phoenix-like regeneration means looking to the past. It’s hard to overlook how century-old cultural staple Sweet Auburn Curb Market has provided the perfect blueprint for such upscale millennial rehabs as Krog Street Market and Ponce City Market. And no matter how sanitized this city gets, Little Five Points remains an eccentric shopping experience nearly 40 years strong. At least, that’s how we choose to see Atlanta in 2016.

— Rodney Carmichael

Best urban market BOA Award Winner

Sweet Auburn Curb Market @ The Municipal Market
In an era when Atlantans crave the flavor of authenticity touted by refurbished yesteryear developments — from Ponce City Market to Krog Street Market — only one such food market has a century-old timestamp. Talk about a storied legacy. The Great Atlanta Fire of 1917 spawned the creation of the open-airmore...
In an era when Atlantans crave the flavor of authenticity touted by refurbished yesteryear developments — from Ponce City Market to Krog Street Market — only one such food market has a century-old timestamp. Talk about a storied legacy. The Great Atlanta Fire of 1917 spawned the creation of the open-air Municipal Market of Atlanta. Black vendors weren’t permitted to sell livestock or produce inside when its first permanent structure was constructed in 1924. Instead they were relegated to the curb outside — hence the name SWEET AUBURN CURB MARKET, as it’s known today. Located one block from the heart of Auburn Avenue, which was declared the “richest Negro street in the world” by Fortune magazine 60 years ago, the market maintains a choke hold on rich culinary traditions. And a visit is a veritable field trip for all five senses. As soon as you step inside, the sweet nuttiness of Miss D’s New Orleans Pralines meets your nose. Butcher cases treat turkey tails, hog maws, fat back, chitlins, oxtails, pork belly, pig feet, and red hot links like everyday Southern delicacies. Fresh collards, turnips, mustards, and kale line the aisles of produce vendors. And when you can’t bear it any more, there are plenty of mouth-watering eateries to feed your face — from soul food (Afrodish Restaurant, Metro Deli) to finger-lickin’ food (Arepa Mia, Bell Street Burritos, Grindhouse Killer Burgers, Sweet Auburn BBQ, Yum Diggity). Far from your faux-artisanal food court, this is where the moms and pops set up shop. less...

Best wardrobe refresher BOA Award Winner

Refresh by Ree
Sometimes all you need is the right accessory to make an outfit pop. Sheree Swann always knew she had a knack for working with her hands, but it didn’t blossom into a full-time profession until six months ago when she quit her job to focus on her independent line of handcrafted accessories. REEFRESHmore...
Sometimes all you need is the right accessory to make an outfit pop. Sheree Swann always knew she had a knack for working with her hands, but it didn’t blossom into a full-time profession until six months ago when she quit her job to focus on her independent line of handcrafted accessories. REEFRESH BY REE features fabric-covered button earrings, bracelets, Peter Pan collars, and bowties made with tribal and Afrocentric prints. Drawn to kente cloth and African art since childhood, Swann set out to create a cool, eccentric line that would give people the freedom to express themselves and reflect their sense of cultural pride. The result: a fly, funky line of accessories easy to suit up for business or dress down after hours. An established photographer and documenter of Atlanta’s underground hip-hop scene, Swann’s patterns and designs move with their own rhythmic flow. She also has plans to expand into home décor in the future. When in need of the right accessory to make that outfit pop, consider something locally made and universally conscious. www.reefreshbyree.etsy.com. www.facebook.com/ReefreshbyRee. less...

Best way to wear your vibes on your sleeves BOA Award Winner

Melting Sun Apparel
Since the first day of 2012, Lauren Visconti has been working to create an array of products that she says are catered to “the modern bohemian” through her line MELTING SUN APPAREL. Visconti’s 100-percent handmade pieces come in the form of jewelry, accessories, and separates that are at once dreamymore...
Since the first day of 2012, Lauren Visconti has been working to create an array of products that she says are catered to “the modern bohemian” through her line MELTING SUN APPAREL. Visconti’s 100-percent handmade pieces come in the form of jewelry, accessories, and separates that are at once dreamy and light while also being edgy and on trend. Offerings include long necklaces, chunky stackable rings, and delicate earrings, plus hand-stamped tanks, moon phase-inspired tapestries, banners, patches, and more. Over the years, Melting Sun has caught the eye of local stockists such as Young Blood, Paris on Ponce, Crafted Westside, Lark & Sparrow, and Citizen Supply as well as big-name brands including Alternative Apparel, which will soon carry some pieces in its physical stores. Snag one of her pieces while shopping local or hitting up the next crafty pop-up event — she’s sure to have a booth. www.meltingsunapparel.com. less...
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