Nestled between Izzy’s Coffee Den and Mela Indian Restaurant on Lexington Avenue in Downtown Asheville is a swanky little clothing shop called Hip Replacements. Specializing in the glamour of yesteryear, they don dames and gents with hand picked vintage and eclectic reproductions. Partner in the biz and lover in the bed, Kip Veno adds his rock ‘n roll style and rat rod flair to create a gritty edge that snags your stockings in all the right places.
Both Franzi Charen and Kip moved here from larger, more diverse cities (San Francisco, and NYC respectively) and chose Asheville as their home. “The potential that Asheville has to grow in unique and more diverse ways is delightfully exciting. The opportunity to become involved in the community and create real connections with creative people striving for quality of life is inspiring.” Franzi laughs and opens a beer. “Asheville has surprised both of us; neither of us thought we’d settle down in such a small town.”
Hip Replacements was started by partners Rob Castillo (of 80s Night @ Broadways fame) and Teri Adams over twelve years ago. “That was when you could still smoke in the shop and they’d have kids djing in the corner,” Kip recalls. A few years ago Morgan Griggs purchased the business and ran it with her partner Chris Towe. Kip worked for Morgan for three years before he and Franzi purchased the business in 2008. Hit The Big Crafty or The Admiral at the right time and you can catch all three generations of Hip Replacements guys hanging out together.
The best part of their business? “Being able to be myself everyday,” says Kip. “The people and the stories and truly being part of a creative community,” adds Franzi.
Michel Baudouin, owner of Bouchon, a French restaurant a few doors down has been enthusiastic since the couple took over. Michel and Franzi have had a working relationship ever since Franzi was his daughter’s art teacher at Hanger Hall School for Girls. When Franzi owned Fired Up, the pottery store on Wall St., she created butter bells and wine coolers for his restaurant. Currently, Fuller, Baudouin’s daughter, can be regularly seen on Hip Replacement’s blog and Etsy site as one of their main models.
Asia Mahon, owner of Virtue clothing store, ten steps south of Bouchon, has been a close friend and mentor to the couple. A year ago this February, Franzi and Kip, Asia and her partner of 11 years, John attended the Magic Tradeshow together in Las Vegas. While there, Franzi and Kip were thrilled to be witnesses to their official wedding at the Graceland Chapel hosted by the King himself.
Part of their mission is to give back to the community which afforded them the opportunity to work in a field they love. Among other pursuits, they’ve joined forces with the Latino Advocacy Coalition and hold an annual clothing swap and benefit concert headlined by Kip’s band, the Rubber Cushions. Carolina McCready, co-director of the Coalition has been a dear friend and sounding board of the couple from the start and provides much inspiration, enthusiasm and an occasional glass of wine.
Besides their vintage clothing, Hip Replacements carries designs by Kill City jeans, E.C. Star & Effie’s Heart dresses, Pinup Couture, Judy Blue jeans, Neeves belts and buckles, Peter Grimm fedoras, T.U.K. shoes and more. They pride themselves in giving a stage to over 25 local clothing and jewelry designers and a bi-monthly art opening for local artists featured on their walls.
Chances are you’ll find either Kip or Franzi and often both at the store any given day of the week. If not, you’ll be greeted by Ryan Ashley Anderson, one of their artists who is like family and puts in her time at the store or possibly even Kip’s mom, Hollace Staren. Either way, you will find a friendly atmosphere, a great conversation, discover new music and some new or vintage threads at an incredible price. See you there!
“Style is the soundtrack for your life”
72 N. Lexington Ave.
Asheville, NC 28801