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Hellertown Vintage Shop Owner Talks Retail, ‘Fast Fashion’: An Interview With RC Moore

Local vintage clothing store owner R.C. Moore recently shared her perspectives on the current retail scene and what retail’s ongoing evolution means for local shoppers in an exclusive interview with Saucon Source.

Est. Read Time: 4 mins

It’s no secret that many brick-and-mortar retailers are struggling in the current economy, due in part to fierce competition from online retailers like Amazon that are able to offer customers both the convenience of shopping online and attractive prices.

For the most part Hellertown’s commercial corridor continues to prosper, but many of the businesses that line Main Street are well-established and most are service-oriented. Meanwhile, in nearby shopping centers and malls it’s a somewhat different story. Vacancies are harder to fill than they once were, and few local retailers can afford the rent.

Local vintage clothing store owner and milliner Rose “RC” Moore recently shared her perspectives on the current retail scene, and what retail’s ongoing evolution will mean for local consumers in an exclusive interview with Saucon Source.

Saucon Source publisher Josh Popichak and Rose “RC” Moore, owner of RC Moore Vintage and Millinery in Hellertown and Bethlehem.

Moore–a native of Berwick–last year opened her second RC Moore Vintage & Millinery location at 1180 Main Street, behind Paprika’s restaurant, and although it’s only open Monday through Wednesday it is prospering, she said.

The Hellertown store was originally intended to function as a warehouse for her other store at 9 W. Fourth Street in Southside Bethlehem, but Moore said the response from shoppers has been so strong and the community so supportive that it’s evolved into a full-fledged second shop selling the same vintage fashions and handmade hats for which she’s become well-known. In addition to her store stores, Moore also sells internationally via her website and on, and said most retailers cannot succeed in this economy without an online store.

The RC Moore Vintage sign on Main Street in Hellertown.

One of the things she offers her customers in far-flung Australia, Japan, Scandinavia and elsewhere is free shipping, and her business has been boosted as a result, she said.

The uniqueness of what she sells–vintage and handmade clothing and hats–also helps set RC Moore apart from many large apparel chains which have been closing stores.

One of those reasons the chains are suffering, she said, is because of the rise of “fast fashion,” which is a term for cheaply-made, chic-appearing clothing that is introduced weekly instead of seasonally, as fashions once were.

Fast fashion also comes with social and environmental price tags attached to it.

“(Fast fashion) is the stuff that’s being churned out in China” and other countries where labor standards and consequently production costs are lower, Moore said.

She cited a statistic from a recent Huffington Post story about fast fashion and its effect on the American environment, which states that only 10 percent of donated clothes end up being resold, with the rest–trillions of tons–being dumped in landfills.

Much of the fabric those clothes are made of is synthetic; non-biodegradable and derived from petroleum products. Synthetics are a cheaper alternative to the traditional fabrics worn by most Americans until the latter half of the 20th century: cotton, wool and silk.

“It is made to fall apart,” Moore said of fast fashion. But as new clothing, it looks attractive on display in stores like H&M and Forever 21, where new arrivals each week are designed to tempt consumers to buy more, or risk being “out of fashion.”

The rise of synthetics and other changes in the way clothing is made–such as not including any extra fabric for structural support–is one of the reasons RC Moore Vintage & Millinery only sells clothing made before 1985.

One of the main advantages of clothing made from natural fibers is that it is more figure-flattering, because it stretches less than synthetics do over time.

Throwaway fashions, Moore said, are typically designed for “a little size 2,” which means they will rarely look flattering on someone with an average body size and type.

One of the reasons she entered the vintage/fashion retail industry, she explained, was because she wanted to buy quality clothing and found nothing that fit the bill in stores.

Another reason is that she wants to wear clothing that is made where workers are treated with respect and paid a fair wage.

Since the 1980s, most clothing sold in the United States is made in China and other developing countries where “they exploit women and children very badly,” Moore said.

Consumers who don’t want to unconsciously support sweatshops and factory worker exploitation overseas should try to buy locally and buy used clothing whenever possible.

One of the pleasant side effects of doing both of these things is the customer service you’ll receive in a store such as RC Moore, where you’re not simply a number, the owner said.

“People need to feel like they’re important,” Moore said. “We’ve gotten to the point where everything is impersonal.”

At the end of the day, her business is about a relationship with the human being who’s at the other end of the transaction, she added.

“Do you want to be treated like a person or do you want to be a number and served by a robot? That’s the choice we have to make,” she said.

Moore said she is optimistic that as more consumers become informed about fast fashion and decide to make different choices for their clothing purchases, they will demand other options, and a retail renaissance will ensue.

“I just think people are tired of being sheep,” she said.

Learn more about RC Moore Vintage and Millinery by following her Facebook page and Instagram feed.

RC Moore’s Hellertown store is open Monday through Wednesday, 12 p.m. to 6 p.m., and the Bethlehem store is open Thursday through Saturday, 12 p.m. to 6 p.m.


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About the author

Josh Popichak

Josh Popichak is the owner, publisher and editor of Saucon Source. A Lehigh Valley native, he's covered local news since 2005 and previously worked for Berks-Mont News and AOL/Patch. Contact him at

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