By: Gianna May
To John Morningstar, a co-owner of clothing store Free Radicals,
self-expression is an endowed liberty.
"Expressing yourself as an individual is the most important
birthright we have in this country," he said.
In that vein, Free Radicals, an alternative clothing store, promotes
counterculture and competes against big-box, conformist retail chains.
John Morningstar said Free Radicals, a family-owned business, is
dedicated to supporting Albuquerque subcultures.
"This store represents a traditional family-owned business, which is
a business model that is becoming increasingly rare, but still has a
lot of intrinsic value," he said. "The stuff that we carry shows a
certain kind of dedication and loyalty to specific types of
subcultures that we think have value."
Beanie Hill, a long-time customer, said Free Radicals, established in
2002, is a slow-growing, subculture business.
"You don't see this style of clothing around, at least not in this
area," he said.
Unlike most retail chains, Free Radicals doesn't change its styles to
Nan Morningstar, co-owner, said niche groups such as greasers, goths,
punks and rockers can find clothing that suits them. She said it's
important to create a community for like-minded people.
"When you come in as a customer, you are apt to find people who will
become your friends," Nan Morningstar said. "The store is something
of a social filter."
Free Radicals, Nan Morningstar said, orders its merchandise from
around the world, national companies and small, local designers.
"We work really hard to bring in only quality products," she said.
"We are bent on finding stuff that people will love to have and that
won't fall apart."
Nan Morningstar said Free Radicals is about staying constant, even
when accompanied by the adversity of change.
"It is more of a quest than a business."
300 Yale Blvd. S.E.