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Monday, July 16, 2018

High Style for On Time Fashion

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Downtown clothing store gets a new look

Sam Fashho has been in the clothing and fashion industry – the rag trade – for most of his life. Clothes have given him a life, helped him raise his family, enabled him to own multiple businesses. Prior to the oil collapse of the 1980s that turned everything around, he owned five clothing stores on Texas Street. During the bad times that saw businesses close, homes repossessed and banks fail, his holdings were whittled down to one: On Time Fashion at 621 Texas St.

The high-style men’s store that sits next to Robinson Film Center and just across the street from Rhino Coffee, is, for the time being, an anomaly ... a retail store in the middle of a retail desert. That doesn’t concern Fashho in the least; he knows that his customers will come, and they do. People who have never been inside his store often stop and marvel at the various colorful, hard-to-miss suits in the front window. People who have been in the store know that those are just a small sampling of nearly 2,000 suits appropriate for everyone from bank presidents to lounge singers.

Fashho’s selection of men’s items – suits, shirts, ties, hats and shoes – is remarkable. His alterations ladies, Jackie and Brenda, who have been with him for 19 years and 38 years respectively, can make anything fit anyone.

But it’s Fashho’s knowledge of clothing and customer attention that keeps people coming back. During a recent conversation, he talked of the differences between modern, classic, slim and ultra-slim fit, about the fact that the pastel and linen “Miami Vice” look is back (“The young men who come in don’t realize this is a look their fathers or grandfathers wore,” Fashho laughs) shows how colorful plaid has made a comeback and waxes poetic about the allure of windowpane fabrics. He is a man who knows his clothes, from the top of his Carlos Santana line of hats to the tip of his Stacy Adams shoes.

What he did not know was how to bring together the many ideas he and his children (Michael, Tommy, Abe and Samantha) had about sprucing up his downtown building. He knew that it was high time that On Time be refreshed. The green and cream exterior paint, the sagging awning, the torn banner, all had to go. “We were wrestling over what to do,” Fashho told me. “I wasn’t sure how to put it together.”

It was a funny position for a man who had made a career of putting people’s wardrobes together to find himself in. For several years, the Downtown Shreveport Development Corporation (DSDC) had been encouraging Fashho to apply for one of the façade grants they offered downtown.

When he finally did, DSDC jumped at the chance to assist at a higher level than normal to help make an even bigger difference on a building in a prime, heavilytrafficked area. When DSDC realized that Fashho was in a quandary about the design, they asked DSDC board member and architect Kevin Bryan to help and enlisted talented decorator Myron Griffing to provide inspiration. Between the two, they were able to take the ideas and suggestions and create a color palette that is up-style but timeless, blending cream and champagne, bronze and tile, with a reconstructed awning and updated signage.

On Time and Bryan’s architecture office are a short half-block away, and Bryan would often look up to see Fashho walking in, plans in hand. “I’m invested in downtown Shreveport,” says Bryan, “and I love it. I wanted his building to look good. It helps me, and it helps downtown.”

Bryan is right, and the change in On Time is nothing short of stunning. “Everyone loves the look,” says Fashho. He laughs when he recounts that the change has been so stark that some of his customers thought his store had moved.

Luckily, that’s not happening anytime soon; there are still too many people who need sharp-fitting suits and suggestions on summer weight jackets and silk ties. The outside improvements have motivated him to start planning some interior changes, too, to better show off his clothes. His fashionable “new” downtown digs give him just the place to do it.

Liz Swaine is the executive director of the Downtown Development Authority. She can be reached at liz@downtownshreveport.com.

Photography by Jonathan Jones



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