A touch of class

Published 3:27 pm Monday, August 21, 2017

Boutique focuses on trendy, sophisticated fashions

Kenzington Alley, a chic boutique highlighting European fashions, is one of the latest additions to Huntington’s downtown shopping scene.

“A hundred percent of our inventory comes from abroad,” owner MacKenzie Morley said. “We have vendors scattered across the globe. Our aim is to bring something different, something unique. You’re not going to find our products at the mall or anywhere else. We are very particular in our selections and choose in small quantities.”

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Morley moved to the Tri-State two and a half years ago with her husband, Bob.

“Even though we aren’t from here, we chose to make Huntington home,” she said. “We were fortunate to be able to live abroad and then come to this area to raise our children.”

The couple lived in Scotland for five years before relocating to West Virginia for Bob’s job with Special Metals. Not long after they arrived, Morley had twin boys, Nico and Sebastian. She stayed at home to care for them for a little while before they began preschool.

“That’s when I decided to take on a new adventure,” Morley said.

Kenzington Alley opened on Halloween in the space formerly occupied by White House Black Market.

“There was a lot of sadness and frustration when it closed,” Morley said. “While we can never replace it — we don’t carry the same things or the same amount of inventory — we hope when people do come in they are able to find something for themselves since we have a mix of everything.”

Morley’s background is in corporate communications in a manufacturing setting, so the world of fashion and retail was pretty new to her.

“It was a complete change of pace, change of industry,” she said. “It’s been a massive learning curve, but this is pretty much every girl’s dream — to have a massive closet and be able to share your clothes with your friends. It’s absolutely the most fun thing I could do.”

Kenzington Alley offers a distinctive selection of women’s clothing, accessories, shoes, bath/beauty products and home/gift items that are trendy, yet sophisticated. “I’ve always been a classic girl, a little cautious with my style,” Morley said. “I’m more conservative and classic. Living in the UK for five years, I got to see so much of that but with a little flair. That’s the inspiration for what we have. It’s just edgy enough but not too out there.”

Sizes typically range from XS – XXL in tops, 00-14 in jeans and 5-10 in shoes. Prices range, but the average is about $61.

“We work hard with what we choose to keep our price point reasonable,” Morley said. “Now, we do have some expensive pieces, but it is important to me to keep things affordable.”

Morley is selective with the brands that she carries at Kenzington Alley and does a significant amount of research before choosing her vendors. “I think you have to be knowledgeable, to intimately know your labels,” she said. “As a business owner, you want to know that what you’re providing to your clients, you’re personally happy with.”

So far, Articles of Society jeans (available in waist 25 – 32, 29 or 31 inseam) are the boutique’s biggest seller. “Every woman loves a good pair of jeans, and they are hard to find,” Morley said. “We hit the jackpot finding these. They’re a magical blend of materials. They’re the first pair of jeans that I’ve ever worn that stay the same fit throughout the day.”

The shop’s shoes — high heels by Roberto Durville Paris and Butterfly Twists wellies — also stand out.

“Wellies are such a big deal in the UK,” Morley said. “They’re a necessity, and the U.S. has really started getting in      on the trend.”

Kenzington Alley might still be in its early stages, but the community response has Morley looking forward to the future.

“Our customers and other business owners have been very supportive,” she said. “They’re happy we’re here, and we’re excited that they’re willing to give us this chance.”