Now if you are located on one of the coasts, you may have to grab a map and possibly end up looking at the state of Iowa instead. But nope, Ohio is the eastern most of an area usually described as the Midwest, and as those of us who live here know, Midwest is Best!
Columbus is a Fashion Capitol
Who knew! Columbus is a great fashion destination! Seriously – right behind New York and Los Angeles, Columbus has more fashion designers per capita than any other city in the U.S.
That’s in large part due to the corporate headquarters of some major fashion influencers located here: Abercrombie & Fitch, Victoria’s Secret, DSW, Express, Bath & Body Works. The Columbus College of Art & Design is also here, guiding the next generation of fashion forward thinkers out of the box. The school’s senior fashion show each spring is a great time to visit Columbus.
We spent the morning with Celeste Malvar-Stewart at Hangar 391 Design Studio where she explained about dying silk and other fabrics with walnuts or rusty pieces metal she finds here and there. She taught us about nuno-felting, using wool from Lincoln sheep who live on a nearby farm and we made our own scarves!
Celeste moved here from the heart of New York City when her husband, a mathematical geneticist, was offered a job at Ohio State University. She says she’s fallen in love with Columbus because of the collaboration between designers that she never experienced in the city.
Where to Shop in Columbus
If you’re not making your own clothes or hiring someone like Celeste to do it for you, the next best thing is spending an afternoon in the Short North Arts District. That’s where a number of Columbus designers sell their fashions through independent boutiques. Shopping here guarantees you won’t see two or three of yourself walking down the street when you get home.
However, our favorite stop was a little place called Mukha Custom Cosmetics and Spa, a dry bar where make-up artist Tim Mauer creates custom cosmetics for each individual’s skin tone and lifestyle. These are all organic, vegan, 100 percent mineral-based. It was so much fun getting advice from Tim. The biggest mistake we all make, he said, is using a concealer that is lighter than our foundation. That just makes us look puffy.
Within 10 seconds of looking at my face, Tim suggested a light copper eye shadow for me. He says I’ve got some Germanic DNA, thus heavy eyelids that may cause problems as I get older. The whole German thing is kind of a surprise since I think I’m Welsh and Scots-Irish, but the copper eye shadow made me look 10 years younger.
For $25, you can have lip-gloss custom-created just for you. Or you can go for a full-blown make-over with custom everything for $150 and then a paint-by-number set of your face so you can do the same to yourself when you get home. Seriously, you and your girlfriends could play all day with Tim and his staff and never get bored.
Coffee Culture in Columbus
Top off your getaway with a good cup of coffee and there’re a lot to choose from in Columbus. To make it a memorable experience, set up a cupping appointment with Mick Evans at One Line Coffee and learn to distinguish the flavors and scents found in good coffee. I’m not a big coffee drinker, but we spent an hour circling a table at One Line Coffee, sniffing various beans and slurping steaming hot cups while we attempted to develop our palette.
We stayed at the HIlton downtown, which is filled with more than $2 million in local art. We rode Segways and went to music theatres and art museums, and we talked and laughed and ate a lot. Which is what you do when you’re on a girlfriend getaway, right?
A destination like Columbus, Ohio just leaves you looking as good on the outside as you feel on the inside.