Madison Moorhead’s personal style is nothing short of unique. After years of shopping and selling secondhand clothing, she quickly harnessed that passion and turned it into her lifestyle, and career. Madison is more than just the owner and general manager of the buy-sell-trade store Apocalypse, she is their culture carrier—through her great deal of institutional knowledge, and the way she embodies the company’s values, she is someone that others simply just want to be around.
Tell us about yourself and your background.
I grew up here in Boulder where I went to Fairview High School, and then moved to San Francisco to study fashion at Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising. I got a degree in Visual Communications and focused on editorial styling. After school, I moved back to Boulder and started my first resale job where I was inspired by the circular model of buy-sell-trade. I threw myself into the job and learned as much as I could about clothing, being a buyer, management and merchandising. I was hooked for life! Fast forward to October 2020, I was living in Lyons, happily in partnership with my beloved fiance (and now business partner) Jed Bickford, producing movement immersions on Zoom, all in the midst of a cataclysmic global pandemic. We learned that two Pearl Street resellers were closing up shop in Colorado. Initially, I was devastated to feel the loss of the resale community, but then I realized that this left a gap in the market that I’d been waiting to fill. Apocalypse was born four months later!
What is Apocalypse?
Apocalypse is a buy-sell-trade store that exists to empower every individual's unique expression through style! Essentially, we offer two services to the public: we're a place to come get some amazing new-to-you threads that don't harm the environment, and we also serve the community in that people can sell their clothes for cash or store trade. Beyond that, Apocalypse is larger than just the storefront—we're a community hub, an education center and a welcoming space for folks from all walks. We exist to connect people with each other and their sense of personal style, all for the benefit of the environment.
What was your inspiration for Apocalypse? How did you come up with the name?
I came up with the name @disco.apocalypse in 2018 when I was showing my vintage collection at pop-ups around Boulder and looking for a brand name for my tiny reselling company. In the collective consciousness at that time, the climate crisis was getting harder and harder to ignore. I was also really inspired by the REM song “It’s the End of the World as We Know It (and I Feel Fine)." Generally, the world felt ominous, and I knew I needed to create something that would ignite joy. And just when we needed joy the most (thanks, 2020), we had the opportunity to create the brick-and-mortar! We landed on the name Apocalypse for the store, and we kept Disco Apocalypse as a sprinkle of joy on top of our online identity.
What kind of culture exists in your store, and how did you establish it?
Curiosity, kindness and creativity are the values we share that have shaped the space of inclusion we strive to create together. We are interested in creating a felt sense of belonging and community for our shoppers and sellers. We have a team of empathetic, educated, socially aware, not to mention fabulously high fashion people. The varied identities, styles, and perspectives that exist within our 16-person team is what I believe creates an environment where folks feel safe to try on different aspects of who they are and lean into visibility. Primarily, we want folks in our community to feel more freedom in their choices of clothing and expression.
Anyone that walks into Apocalypse can see immediately your staff is dressed as exuberantly as the colorful decor inside, yet it looks effortless and accessible. What is fashion to you?
Fashion to me is just that—effortless and accessible. One thing that I love about the radical times we are living in is that people are giving themselves more permission to dress in a way that is authentic, comfortable and easeful. As this happens, I think we’ll see that trends begin to blur and personal expression becomes the heart of fashion.
It is apparent that environmental consciousness is at the heart of Apocalypse; aside from shopping secondhand, what is one other way Boulder consumers can become more eco-conscious in the way they shop?
I think a lot about the lifespan of our garments and how to extend an item's life as long as possible. First, we have to start by really creating a relationship with our clothing. Always check content labels to see where something was made and the fabric it is made from. Consider who made it, the environment it was produced in and the resources it took to arrive on the rack in front of you (or in your hypothetical shopping cart on your phone). A lot of the time after I ask these questions, I either decide against the purchase or I look for the item secondhand first. And sometimes the choice is just clear. I must buy this item because it feels like a step towards expressing something that needs to be expressed. Overall, just use your purchasing power in a way that aligns with your values.