Marcia Bloom, longtime owner of a popular boutique formerly located on Montana Avenue, died last week after a lengthy battle with cancer.
After 61 beautiful years of life, Bloom died Wednesday, May 13, and is survived by her husband Sam Henry Kass, her children, Mallory and Peter Kass, as well as a multitude of friends, who all recently took the time to remember Bloom’s character, which was as colorful as the attires she donned and sold for nearly 20 years.
From 2002 to 2018, Marcia Bloom Designs sold signature clothing items and a host of other accessories like blankets, hats and dolls that were all designed and sewn with love, according to her family, who wrote last week that Marcia was a beloved fixture in the community.
Her penchant for eccentric, beautiful clothing set her apart in the sea of athleisure wear, and she encouraged friends and customers to flaunt their favorite outfits instead of saving them for special occasions. “Life is a special occasion,” Blooom used to say.
Known as a fixture in local garment and fabric circles as being somebody who could design and sew the most whimsical styles into truly fashionable pieces, Bloom and her shop often attracted international tourists and locals, because people of all ages and body types felt like their best selves in her creations.
The boutique was a callback to an earlier age, but 1527 Montana Avenue was more than a shop to many local residents, according to Bloom’s loved ones, who described the shop as a community gathering place where people would spend hours browsing the racks, chatting with like-minded artists or receiving guidance from Marcia while they worked on their own crafting projects.
“People would walk into the store for the first time as a customer, and it was pretty rare that you walked out not being a friend and someone who was going to go back, even if you weren’t going to buy anything else. It was simply because you were just interested in going to talk with Marcia some more; and Marcia — being infinitely curious — was going to want to hear all about whatever happened to you in the last week,” longtime friend Randi Parent said, detailing how consumers would often come back to buy that one-of-a-kind outfit for a special occasion or simply return to sit on the bench adjacent to Marcia’s perch behind the counter and catch up on life.
Though her shop closed at the end of 2018, Bloom’s impact on Santa Monica cannot be understated. After all, she was one of the founding business owners in the city’s Buy Local program, which now has more than 1,000 participants.
“Marcia and her business were Buy Local in every essence. She designed and made her own clothes, which were really fun, quirky and unique fashions that were all her own and were very unique to Santa Monica. She reused materials,” and her impact on the city has been tremendous to say the least, said Jennifer Taylor, Chair of Buy Local Santa Monica Committee and economic development manager for the city of Santa Monica.
“What motivates me at Buy Local are people like Marcia and what she represented as a small business owner and an entrepreneur,” Taylor added. “She was a real inspiration to businesses and women entrepreneurs in our community, and her legacy will definitely live on. She will be sorely missed but we will continue to carry on the tradition of business like Marcia’s through Buy Local.”
In life, Bloom always had an incredibly positive attitude. Friends and family recall her sharing stories about the hardship of others before stating she had no reason to complain.
“Her style was different, and like her personality, it was very eclectic, very creative, very colorful. A lot of times she combined patterns that you wouldn’t think would necessarily match, but somehow she made it work,” said Albin Gielicz, who knew Bloom from the Montana Merchants’ Association. “And I think that type of originality and individualism appealed to a lot of people, because it was something you couldn’t find anywhere else.”