Moonglade picks out our favorite pieces, hand crafted by marginalized makers
By Coco McCracken
Next time you’re walking around the Old Port in Portland, look for the yellow vertical neon lights adorning the windows at 58 Exchange Street. You’ll descend a staircase, and to the right, a new shopping experience waits for you. Browsing Loquat Shop is akin to peeking into a bunch of little artist studios. Let your eyes take their time to absorb all the colors and materials that animate this kaleidoscopic shop. Listen – you might even hear the whir of a sewing machine; some of Loquat’s designers also work on-site in a back studio.
Founded in January 2020 by Jordan Carey, Loquat is more than just a shop. It’s a movement that seeks to empower marginalized people through the fashion and design they create. Jewelry, ceramics, natural beauty products, prints, art, and candles are just some examples of the plethora of goods available at Loquat. And all are crafted by artists from marginalized and/or BIPOC communities.
Carey, a Bermudian designer who graduated from Maine College of Art (MECA) in 2019 with a bachelor of fine arts in textile and fashion design, brings his visions to life via Loquat products. Fan favorites like Loquat Pineapple bags (made from pineapple leaves!) as well as naturally dyed, screen-printed garments, are all cut and sewn in the U.S. Most Loquat pieces are adorned with iconography and motifs inspired from Carey’s own cultural touchstones.
Moonglade has compiled a “Fall Haul,” to highlight some of our favorite pieces from their current stock.
Pictured from left to right: Loquat Piñita bag in Bermuda Grass: $50; Loquat Long Sleeve Mobylette Button-down Shirt: $60-$120; Choo 11 earrings by Kira Sangsap: $34, $42, and $46; Pronoun Pins by Winged Prints (Jamie Wing): $2 each; Bhanson Metals Bracelets by Bryan Hanson: $122+; Ampadu Studios Hair Cuffs (Briyana Rainer): $15 per piece; Loquat Waxed Canvas Market Tote in Swizzle: $125
You’ll notice that some items at Loquat are priced on a sliding scale, which is another aspect of Carey’s vision – giving more people access to ethically made, quality garments and goods. For some items, online or in-store, buyers simply choose what they are comfortable paying within a given range.
As Loquat grows, Carey finds new ways to showcase the creator communities in Maine. Last summer, Loquat had a pop-up shop at MECA, where they raised $25,000 over a period of approximately three months for more than 30 makers who were LGBTQ+ or people of color. Some of the makers became full-time entrepreneurs during their time at Loquat or have since started their own brands..
“We must keep the mission at the core of what we do because it is so easy in life or business to disconnect from the reality and suffering of others. Our ‘Menstrual Products Should Be Free’ T-shirt campaign was one of our first projects and is something we carry on to this day. We have given away thousands of dollars in free menstrual products to people in Portland through this project.” – Jordan Carey
Loquat is open seven days a week from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. www.loquatshop.com. If you or someone you know believes in the mission of Loquat, and is looking for a space to sell your wares, apply via Loquat’s website.