Bella Bridal at 3530 Foothill Blvd, Oakland – Mazuri and I were on our way back to campus when a window display of two gorgeous and unusual gowns caught my eye. We entered the shop, Bella Bridal, and found the interior as beautiful and unique as the gowns in the window. The proprietor, Isidoro Tabarez, spoke with us about the economy’s effect on his small business. He has been creating custom designed clothing for the past twenty-seven years and opened Bella Bridal at this location seven years ago. His business has dwindled as the economy has weakened. He says many potential customers are buying off the rack gowns instead of purchasing his one-of-a-kind dresses. Whether or not Mr. Tabarez is forced to close his shop, he plans to sell his creations via an online store. He is currently mentoring a design student from MetWest High School’s Learning Through Internship program, and has participated in fashion shows on First Fridays in Downtown Oakland. He began sewing at age seven, designing at age fourteen, and is enthusiastic about sharing his expertise with hopeful young designers. It was great to meet him and seeing the shop.