Thursday, February 9, 2012


With the new Las Cruxes location opening up (just above the old one in the old Fresh Up), I thought I'd get a sneak peek to the store and talk to owner Veronica Ortuño to get an insight to what makes the store as unique as it is.

Las Cruxes is definitely one of my new favorite spots around town. Not only does she curate a great vintage and artisan collection for both men and women, she showcases interesting art, sells zines, books, and vinyl from local artists and abound. I love how she easily marries the clothing, jewelry, music and everything else carried in her store. It's truly a "lifestyle" store, rather than just a retail space.

Veronica was also nice enough to answer some questions I had for her about her store and herself.

ME: What is "Las Cruxes" exactly? Where does the name originate from?
VERONICA: Las Cruxes originates from the Spanish word: Cruces -- which translates to the crosses. The spelling variation is intended, as to not confuse Las Cruxes with the city in New Mexico. A lot of people have trouble with the pronunciation: pronounced Las "kroo-sez" or "kroo-says".

I apply this word to the integration of diverse and creative movements. Las Cruxes is a movement in itself - where art (visual, literature, fashion, etc.), music, and culture intersect. In a lot of ways, I feel our generation lacks a cultural uprising, because we've become so detached from intent -- it's detrimental. I believe there needs to be intent in what we do, otherwise it loses meaning and sincerity. Additionally, I try to focus whole-heartedly at keeping to my convictions of DIY ethics and underground culture.

What are some great/new things we can expect with this new store location?
With the expansion of the space, I'm able to do in-store shows now, and it'll be easier to curate bigger/more interactive art installations. I've also been working on a small clothing/accessories line for Spring and Autumn, and Mikaylah Bowman and I are collaborating again to make screened, air-brushed, and marbled silk dresses and one-piece pantsuits.

What is one thing in your store you'd suggest for a metal head?
Christian Mistress paraphernalia. Or maybe the Sabbath pins.

A tourist?
Any of the locally made items: records, zines, jewelry, or clothes. For the most part, they're not readily available outside of Austin, which makes them even more special.

A vintage collector?
Some of the vintage Moroccan/African jewelry pieces I have. They're so beautiful and unique.

Being an editor, I think you'd enjoy the NUTS! fanzine. My friend Ben Trogdon compiles and curates the zine; he interviews artists/musicians and documents happenings in the current Olympia, Washington scene. He's also an amazing photographer and told me it's one of his dreams to shoot a fashion editorial some day!

Also, what made you want to get into retail (since I knew you to be a Carrot / musician for so long before)? Are you still doing that?
I've always been fascinated with clothes. Clothes-making mostly… as an art-form. I was sewing and making clothes for my Barbies when I was very young. In 2008, I moved to Portland and continued redesigning garments and began reselling (both handmade and vintage pieces) online to help with my college tuition. Needless to say, I didn't turned back. It never feels like work to me, because I thoroughly enjoy what I'm doing.

Playing music has been harder to focus on lately because so much time has to be sacrificed to pursue this venture. The Carrots LP is currently in post-production and should be released by the summer, but there are no tentative plans to play shows. I continue to make an effort at staying musically active, whether it's booking shows or running my radio program. With time I do have to myself, I write music on a Micro-Korg and drum machine or play drums in a Black Sabbath cover band called Children of the Grave. We have a 10 year old singer who rules so much!

***To celebrate the new location's opening, Veronica is hosting a party (RSVP on Facebook) featuring works (zines, video work and live show by his band Breathing Problem) by local artist Rusty Kelley. His work will be on display a the store through the month. I'm definitely coming out after I close up the BLOWOUT SALE. See ya there!

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