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Monday, Jun 25, 2018
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Ravens and Rockers serves vinyl-and-lace crowd

Fashion in west central Florida may trend toward sub-tropical blends of lighter fabric and colorful design, but if your closet includes a mix of vinyl and lace, there’s something on the racks for you at Ravens and Rockers, at 14815 N. Florida Ave. in Tampa.

Promoting itself as Tampa’s “alternative clothing store,” Ravens and Rockers is an authorized dealer of demimonde couture from fashion houses such as TRIPP nyc, Demonia and Hell Bunny.

Attire for all occasions is available. You can pick up a black-and-magenta gown for Midnight Mass at The Castle, a sleeveless, pink Gothabilly summer dress for daylight ventures or maybe a pair of PVC shorts with a fishnet top for a casual look. Mix, match or layer, it’s all about fulfilling its customers’ fashion dreams, according to Sheena Wiley, 29, who helps manage her family’s business.

“Our customers range from high school kids who want to dress a little different, to 50-year-olds who want to have a little fun and people who live the life all the time,” she said, providing an example as to how the shop’s merchandise reflects a fashion, culture and lifestyle that knows no generational divide.

“I had a lady in her 80s come in and we dressed her, her daughter and granddaughter.”

Wiley, who acquired her name as a tribute to a favored song of her parents’, “Sheena’s a Punk Rocker” by the Ramones, added they outfit a lot of musicians and other entertainers as well as Gasparilla pirates such as the Krewe of Sea SaveYours, who perform their buccaneering with a Steampunk emphasis, sporting such things as mechanical eye patches.

“Some of our members like to buy something and tweak it to make it their own,” said Bill Collins of his krewe mates, some of whom joined him on a Saturday afternoon shopping spree to outfit their costumes.

Ravens and Rockers also stocks plenty of footwear, from thick leather boots with massive heels and heavy-gauge metal clasps, to spiky slip-ons.

Jewelry and other accessories feature skulls and sharp points and there’s plenty of wearable gadgetry as well. Thinking about something besides a tie for neckwear? Ravens and Rockers stocks a variety of scarves and collars to communicate a nuanced fashion statement. Steampunk or steamy, the choice is yours to make.

And if you don’t find what you’re looking for in the store, special orders are happily processed.

“It’s like Christmas for us when customer orders come in because we get to unpack the boxes,” said Wiley.

Online shopping is possible from the Ravens and Rockers website and eBay, but for customers like Olivia Muniz, 23, the in-store experience is worth a drive from Lakeland.

“It’s awesome and cheaper than shopping online,” she said.

Regulars like Jesse Fish, 29, of Tampa like to stop in and see what’s new on the shelves.

“I shop here all the time. It’s got a great collection of uncommon stuff,” he said. “If you’re looking for unique clothing items, this is your spot.”

The Wileys also promote their business by offering their wares at concerts, festivals and events such as anime conventions, often luring visitors and vacationers to their store in north Tampa.

Ravens and Rockers is open noon to 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday and noon to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

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