Maria Luisa Whittingham first opened shop in 1987, in a basement space next to the YMCA on South Broadway. Thirty years later, she has two retail stores, a thriving online store, and she holds a place of honor in the Rockland County community. In a 2014 profile of Maria Luisa, Bill Batson described her as “… a civic seamstress. She weaves business, social responsibility and family into a garment of retail longevity. From the durable and colorful threads of a matriarchal tradition and her own raw talent, she has created a popular business and brand: Maria Luisa.” This month, Maria Luisa celebrates 30 years in the heart of Nyack, and in the hearts of Nyackers. On October 19th you can celebrate with her at Maria Luisa Boutique and ML by Maria Luisa — the day will include a special sale, a photo booth, children’s events, refreshments, henna designs, meeting the “#30Looksof30Years” models (loyal customers sporting fashions purchased at the shops over the decades) – and the screening of the “30 Years of Maria Luisa” video.
The flagship Maria Luisa Boutique, a notable destination for “always feminine” clothing, accessories and gifts, was joined in more recent years by a sister shop now known as ML by Maria Luisa. In this funkier offshoot, where the attitude is perhaps a bit younger, Fair Trade, artisan-made and eco-friendly products are emphasized – threads that run throughout the Maria Luisa world. Over the years – and several downtown Nyack locations – Maria has fine-tuned her business, including merchandise, special events and community involvement.
In her shops, time-tested favorite brands are joined by an ever-evolving selection of goods sourced from regional trade shows to worldwide travel, like her visits to Peru to seek Fair Trade goods. Maria Luisa fashions hit the right notes of enduring quality and timeless style – with a bit of fun. Customer service is always top priority!
Maria is both rooted in the local community and its issues – and willing to lend a hand to causes she believes in. Past and continuing efforts support causes ranging from the arts to racial equality, women’s issues to economic development, education to gender issues. Her initiatives include:
- The successful “Say NO! To The Bag” campaign that discourages single-use plastic bags.
- The ML/GL (Maria Luisa Global/Local) Initiative, where a portion of online sales support a hand-picked selection of local causes.
- The ML by Maria Luisa Scholarship. The third presentation of this annual award, administered by the Rockland Community Foundation, was made to a Spring Valley High School senior this June.
The Maria Luisa team will be marching in the legendary Nyack Halloween Parade on October 28th. We have photos of her 2014 costume — come to the parade on 10/28 to find out what she’s been working on for 2017!
From all of us in Nyack, thank you, Maria Luisa, for 30 years of making Nyack a great place to live, work, and visit. We raise a toast to the next 30 years.
Maria Luisa Boutique & ML by Maria Luisa
77 S. Broadway
Nyack, NY 10960
Open Tuesday through Sunday, 10 am to 6 pm
845 353 4122