No style fools at Bertha Cool’s

RENO, Nev. – A gal who wants to combine the past and the future, Judy Jackson’s motto for her business, “Bertha Cool’s Custom Clothiers,” is: “Rescue, Restore and Reinvent.”

She’s a woman with a talented and varied background in both business and the arts. She started this, her latest venture, in a small boutique about a year ago; but since moving this past July to “Space 608” in Reno Nevada’s huge Virginia Street Antique Mall, “Business has just exploded since then!” she says.

Noting her own age is 49, Jackson explains she is fascinated by “the weird eras of the ‘60s through ‘80s which will be about 100 years old at just about the same time I am. I guess I’m after capturing the next generation of antiques.”

So with this in mind, she describes her business as specializing not in antiques but in “Near-tiques.”

Why the name Jackson selected for her highly individualized custom clothes? She turned to the description of “B. Cool” the heroine in a 29-series of books Earl Stanley Gardner wrote under his pen name A.A. Fair.

His unusual lady detective, Bertha Cool, had unusual adventures as did Jackson who studied business and law at Mills College while designing and operating her own jewelry store.

In the last 20 years her experiences included being a home improvement designer, a personal shopper and —thanks to sewing skills taught by her mother and grandmother — a designer of professional fashions for a premier custom clothier.

She even finds time to perfect the quilting techniques her mother, Patty Jackson, has developed and within a year she hopes the two will be earning competition ribbons. Anticipation is that the name “Sew-phisticated Ladies” will become a booming expansion of her present business.

Judy Jackson hopes to catch her breath in the near future so she can design and develop a Web site. In the meantime, her Reno space offers high quality used clothing that she describes as “beautiful and bazaar statement pieces for those who appreciate the fashions and styles of the ‘60s through ‘80s. I also custom design ensembles and leather vests for my customers which I call ‘Seams of Dreams.’”

She is passionate about recycling whenever possible, putting buttons, furs and fabrics to new and unusual uses or effects. Prices start as low as $20 and grow accordingly to the hundreds.

“It all depends on what you’re dreaming of and how hard I’ll have to work to make that dream come true,” she said.

The latest crowd-drawing “Hot August Nights” cruises that Reno annually celebrates highlighted for her not only the new generation of “old” but emphasized how the vintage and antique world is now attracting a newer and a younger audience to malls and shops.

Jackson says, “With the cars has come a new nostalgia. It’s no longer just pink poodle skirts, ‘59 Chevys and rock ’n’ roll. The ‘now’ on the scene is lime green, hot pants, muscle cars and Jimmy Hendrix.”

With her fast talking and enthusiastic manner this energetic entrepreneur continues: “From the bell-bottomed flower children of the 60s to the contagious Saturday ‘Night Fever’ in the discos of the 70s and through the padded shoulders and Corinthian leather of the 80s, I’ve made it my goal to preserve these quirky fun fashions for future generations to collect and enjoy.”

Although she says her business at the is open Monday through Saturday Jackson suggests calling for an appointment and her undivided attention.

Bertha Cool’s Custom Clothiers, Virginia Street Antique Mall, 1251 South Virginia Street, Reno, NV 89502. Hours: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m., Monday-Saturday and noon – 5 p.m. Sundays, 775-344-COOL (2665),