Doo Dah Parade Queen & Her Retro 80s Beacon

Dressing up to kiss
I’m dressing up to touch all this
I’m dressing up to dance all week
Oh I’m dressing up to sleep

Dressing up to kiss
Dressing up to be all this

– The Cure “Dressing Up”

Pasadena’s punk princess Veronika Sorrow, owns and runs MeowMeowz vintage shop on East Colorado Boulevard, and just recently she became Doo Dah Queen 2015. Five years ago, the former Pasadena Unified School teacher turned her vintage resale eBay business into more than a store; with regular music shows and a strong sense of nostalgia, MeowMeowz is a beacon for alternative/punk/goth music, fashion and  culture in the San Gabriel Valley.

“Our tag line is ‘Retro 80s Thrift Shop,’ to appeal to more people so that they understand what we’re doing here,” Sorrow said. “I carry mostly vintage 80s and just affordable cool stuff for kids, and kids at heart.”

But as far as the inspiration for her personal style and the fascination with 80s punk. “It just came naturally. Ever since I was a kid I always liked different music. And, The Cure was my first favorite band, so obviously with the hair and the makeup and all that stuff, it was an easy transition to all things dark and Siouxsie and the Banshees and goth,” Sorrow said. “And, you know I had my big goth phase forever, it just – wait, wait! It hasn’t ended! Never mind!”

Sorrow is a whole new era of Doo Dah Queen. She recalled how in her teens and 20s she had been so intrigued by the “cool people with cool clothes, music shows and parties” at vintage shops like Penny Lane, Ah-ha, Unruly Fashion and Retail Slut, just to name a few. The decision to open her own place came because “all my favorite shops from the 80s were gone. Everything was dying. Melrose was changing,” she said. She couldn’t let the culture she loved simply go away. “I always loved shops like this.”

So, when Sorrow opened MeowMeowz, she wanted the shop to be both an homage to her predecessors and a re-creation of her earlier years. “The idea was to create my high school bedroom,” she said of the shop’s decor. Plastered, pinned and stapled posters, t-shirts and records cover the ceiling and walls making a hectic and nostalgic background for the fashion treasures. Even “Mr. MeowMeowz” the shop’s logo and mascot is the amalgamation of Sorrow’s two favorite retail logos from the 80s.

Tell me who doesn’t love
What can never come back?
You can never forget how it used to feel
The illusion is deep

It’s as deep as the night
I can tell by your tears you remember it all

– The Cure “The Blood”

Like her predecessors t-shirts are the biggest sellers among her mostly early 20s clientele. And, like her predecessors she keeps customers and music lovers intrigued with stories from when she was an all ages punk music club promoter or by playing in an all-girl band during one of the music shows held at the shop. “We clear off the stage and clear off the clothing. We try to do it every Saturday, all ages,” Sorrow said. She’s always looking for local San Gabriel Valley acts to participate. “We’ve had stand up and open mic poetry. During the metal show stuff kept falling of the walls and they had to tone it down!”

What began as a business stocked from Sorrow’s vintage hunting and her own closet has grown to be by about 80% consignment. “I sit back and wait for the clothes to come to me.” She’s always looking for more and more 80s punk, alternative, 60s and black (which is always in demand), but added, “I love vintage 60s, 70s and 80s. The 90s not so much.”

And, while that is a nice benefit of success and longevity, Sorrows admitted she misses shopping under the guise of work. “I love shopping! Ever since I was a kid, I’ve loved going to thrift shops and going through each piece. And I know vintage just by touching it, you could blind fold me and say ‘Pick out the vintage piece,” she said. Lest there be any confusion out in the world, “anything 20 years and over, is considered vintage, now.”

The majority of items at MeowMeowz are under $25, with the exception of very special pieces. The descriptions she writes on the tags of her vintage pieces tell fantastic stories. In addition to vintage clothes, records and cassettes, shoppers can find new items like T.U.K. shoes, Manic Panic hair dye, leather accessories and posters. “We’re a low dough, good bargain place. And, plus I like to haggle,” Sorrow said. “I love haggling. I never turn away a customer because they don’t have enough. ‘Oh I’m five short!’ It’s fine. This isn’t Bloomingdale’s, darling. Far from it!”

Dressed up to the eyes
It’s a wonderful surprise
To see your shoes and your spirits rise
Throwing out your frown

And just smiling at the sound
And as sleek as a shriek
Spinning round and round
Always take a big bite

It’s such a gorgeous sight
To see you eat in the middle of the night
You can never get enough

Enough of this stuff

The Cure “Friday I’m In Love”

MeowMeowz: 2423 E. Colorado Boulevard, Pasadena, CA  91107. Hours: Noon – 8 pm.
Tele: (626) 798-6969 – Email: – MeowMeowz Facebook Page.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

* Copy This Password *

* Type Or Paste Password Here *

%d bloggers like this: