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THREAD LOUNGE Opening today in downtown Berkeley: Thread Lounge, an upscale fashion store offering discounted designer clothing for women, men, and children, as well as limited home furnishings. Owner Colleen Schmidt, a former buyer for Ralph Lauren and Donna Karan among others, already has two stores — in San Francisco and Chicago — and is testing the waters in Berkeley with a popup version of the bohemian-style shop in the old Fed Ex-Kinkos corner building at Shattuck and Bancroft Way. “We are like a designer sample sale,” Schmidt says. “We work with over 400 designers worldwide.” Local labels currently in stock include Laurel B (sweaters that retail for $250-$400 are $80) and Wendy Katlin ( $200-$450 tops and dresses for $50-$100). Schmidt works in partnership with her boyfriend, Jon Vohr, who creates the artwork and fixtures in the store, although Schmidt is quick to point out that the décor will be much more appealing if they decide to settle here. “Everyone asks me why I didn’t go to Fourth Street but I think there’s room for growth in downtown Berkeley. There aren’t a lot of fashion options here,” she says. Thread Lounge is throwing a “Meet & Greet” opening for the public with wine and appetizers on Thursday, Jan. 31, 7-9pm. Thread Lounge is at 2295 Shattuck Ave. Open: weekdays, 12-7, Sat. 11-7, Sun. 12-6. (more…)