Making a Fashion Statement 5

Stacey Rhodes at the forefront of Nashville’s emerging fashion industry

Few people have been as intrinsically involved with Nashville’s emergence as a fashion industry influencer than Stacey Rhodes.

As the owner of Stacey Rhodes Boutique, she has served as a conduit between established and up-and-coming designers, and clientele that desires to wear something that cannot be found everywhere.

“My customer considers me a little edgier and fashion forward,” says Rhodes. “We offer quality apparel that is fresh, fashionable and stylish. Something that people will love and feel comfortable wearing.”

As Nashville has grown in stature within the fashion world, Stacey Rhodes Boutique has blossomed as well. What began in 2002 as a small department within a larger store is now a destination unto itself.

The boutique moved into its current location at 144 Franklin Road in 2010. Rhodes made a considerable investment in time and resources for a four-month renovation. Now the eclectic, 1,500-square foot space is a fixture among the unique shops and restaurants north of the busy Franklin Road and Maryland Way/Church Street intersection.

“I love this location. There was pent-up demand and the store needed to be here,” says Rhodes. “What happened was that people no longer wanted to drive to Nashville. We could not have done this five or 10 years earlier.

“When I first moved here, Brentwood was so welcoming. There was more space and people loved it.”

If you think the boutique – with its hardwood floors, handmade rugs, antiques and art – is only for aficionados, think again. Rhodes and her staff are as warm and welcoming as they are fashion forward.

“We’ll dress the customer from head-to-toe,” says Rhodes. “I’ve had customers come in at five who need to be at an event that evening and say, ‘dress me.’

“We’re all stylists and we encourage customers to bring things in. It doesn’t matter if it’s a dress or a hat, we can start with that one item and create a look that works just for them.”

A Brentwood native, Rhodes is a graduate of O’More College of Design in Franklin where she earned an interior design degree.

“Merchandising and design all overlap,” she says. “My degree has helped me with color, textures and textiles. And I love discovering new designers and telling people about them. People like to know about what they’re wearing and the story behind it.”

Rhodes is visible throughout the community. She appears monthly on WSMV-TV’s “More at Midday” with Kacy Hagerty, serves as a mentor to fashion students and leads a charitable fundraiser.

“I love that in Nashville we’re supporting our city by developing new designers and not trying to look for something else, somewhere else,” says Rhodes. “There is amazing talent here. They are creative and have new ideas. They inspire me.”

In April, Stacey Rhodes Boutique hosts “An Affair of the Hat,” an annual fundraiser that features handmade, one-of-a-kind hats, just in time for springtime social events like the Iroquois Steeplechase and The Kentucky Derby. A percentage of the proceeds form each hat sold is donated to the TJ Martel Foundation for cancer, leukemia and AIDS research.

“I like being involved with non-profits and ‘An Affair of the Hat” is a fun thing I do,” says Rhodes. “For some people, the hat is the thing. Or bring in a dress and we’ll find a hat that goes with it.”

And with her sense of style and civic sensibilities, Stacey Rhodes figures to be among Nashville’s leading fashion influencers for a long time to come.