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By Norb Garrett
“If you know better, do better.”
For vintage fashion designer Shamani Hall, 34, that expression not only explains her current state of mind, it also defines her personality and life’s purpose. Born in Alaska (her name is Inuit), raised outside of Seattle, schooled in Los Angeles and New York at FIDM (Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising) and FIT (Fashion Institute of Technology), respectively, Hall cut her teeth in the fashion industry working in Los Angeles. It was in LA where she found her own style and partnered with a friend to launch a brand in 2007 that attracted the LA celebrity set, including influencers such as the Kardashians. After 10 years, the “brand ran its course,” and a change of scenery was needed. She decided to start a new design company just as a friend asked her to help open a new store in Costa Rica, and Hall jumped at that chance.
“When I was [in Costa Rica], I was able to have space to go deeper and really think about what I wanted to do with my life and career,” said Hall, who recently became vegan and has committed herself to a more purposeful life through conscious consumerism. “When it feels right, I’m going to do it.”
Hall returned to LA in 2020 just as COVID was forcing lockdowns throughout the state, which left her alone in her apartment in LA working on her own brand. “I was forced to just focus on my own thing,” she said. “I even started shooting myself with the product; during COVID, you had to be resourceful.” Her limited line of vintage clothing products was selling out online, but she felt trapped in LA and needed a change. San Clemente was just the elixir.
“My ex-boyfriend used to surf at Trestles all the time, and we always loved coming down here,” she said. “I always felt a great vibe here and knew one day I would end up in San Clemente.”
Craving nature, peace and the surf-town vibes after spending three years in Costa Rica, Hall moved to San Clemente from LA in August 2020. Six months later, in May 2021, while driving through town, “I passed by a ‘For Lease’ sign that called out to me, reversed my car and called the number,” she recalled. Four days later, she signed the lease on the Avenida de la Estrella, location.
On July 1, 2021, Hall opened Shop Shani, “a consciously curated space of collected and curated goods to raise your vibration.” All of the women’s vintage clothing and accessories are eco-conscious with an eye on sustainability. “I love classic pieces, but I try to stay fashion-forward and give them a new life,” she said. Most of her pieces sell for less than $100, and clothing ranges from blouses, dresses and jackets to shoes and belts and are available both at the store and online.
As this next phase in Hall’s life takes shape and she reflects on the lessons learned during the pandemic and the years leading up to it, she’s content and comfortable with her path. “I didn’t have a social life during the pandemic, so the business gave me something to dive into,” she said. “It feels good to be here and see it all coming together.”
310 Avenida de la Estrella, San Clemente