Serving the Fullerton Community Since 1922

The Hornet

Serving the Fullerton Community Since 1922

The Hornet

Serving the Fullerton Community Since 1922

The Hornet

Latest Print Issue

Ipso Facto’s Gothic Haven

Fullerton’s Ipso Facto has been keeping generations of punks and goths in style with the best alternative apparel for 35 years.
Eli Young
Terri Kennedy is the friendly face of Ipso Facto. She’s been one of the forces creating a cultural hub in Fullerton since the doors to her business first opened in 1989.
(Eli Young)

For most of the week, Ipso Facto on Harbor Boulevard welcomes locals into their gothic occult fashion boutique to shop their selections of alternative apparel and gear. But on special days of the week, and for a small donation, customers become students ready to learn. The clothing racks are pushed to the walls of the store, tables and chairs are brought out on the sales floor, and Ipso Facto goes from being a gothic fashion retailer to a classroom on spirituality. Lessons and workshops on tarot, candle-making, wire-wrapping and more are led by Ipso Facto’s eccentric store owner Terri Kennedy as well as other guests she invites to share their words of wisdom.

Ipso Facto, which sits next to the iconic Fox Fullerton Theatre, isn’t just any brick-and-mortar store in town. For 35 years, it has been Kennedy’s mission to create a safe space (or “salon”) for the community’s thinkers to freely discuss taboo subjects. This was especially needed during a time when society was less accepting of those who bent the norms of conventionality—whether it be music tastes, fashion styles, personal beliefs, gender identity or sexual orientation. Since Ipso Facto opened in 1989, the store has become a Fullerton landmark. 

It’s not only an apparel store—it’s a destination store, not just for locals, but also notable customers like British gothic band members visiting from across the globe. Ipso Facto sells an array of gothic and alternative men and women’s gear including footwear, jewelry, as well as literature, spiritual items and miscellaneous goods like gothic collectibles. Ipso Facto offers some of the top brands for alternative gear, with staple names such as Tripp NYC, Punk Rave, Demonia and more. Unsure about your size? Not only does the store have fitting rooms with coffin-shaped mirrors, but Kennedy and her employees are happy to pull out a tape measure to ensure you leave happy with your purchase.

For Kennedy, starting her business was a no brainer, because the punk scene was very much a DIY, or do it yourself, scene. As she tried to figure out her identity in high school, Kennedy was drawn towards the darker styles and aesthetics. In the ‘80s, according to Kennedy, there was no such thing as “goth.” Goth as a style evolved from the emerging punk rock genre that took off in the mid-70s. During her adolescence, Kennedy was into punk rock bands like Siouxsie and the Banshees and the Virgin Prunes. She attributes her fashion inspiration to influences like punk rock diva Lydia Lunch and new wave’s Lene Lovich. Bands weren’t just something she listened to and watched on stage from afar; she was in them. Her most popular band, Stone 588, inspired by the early ‘80s post-punk sound, was formed in 1992 and produced CDs with titles “Door in the Dragon’s Throat” and “Midnight Claret.”

Kennedy didn’t want the regular transactional experience of a retail environment for her business. She wanted to provide a “salon-type” of environment where people of all backgrounds could meet, learn, exchange ideas and accept one another’s differences.

“In the 1700s, salons were places where people of all strata of society—rich, poor, artists, politicians, thinkers, writers—would all go together and talk about stuff. That was what I imagined here,” says Kennedy. “This was the idea I had to provide that kind of space; not just to sell things, but to be a lifestyle space and community.”

Ipso Facto sells some of the best alternative gear in the market, with staple names such as Tripp NYC, Punk Rave, Demonia and more. (Eli Young)

She was always into fashion, learning how to make clothes and jewelry as young as seven years old. She attended the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising for one year from 1982 to 1983 until she ran out of money and could no longer afford the tuition. But while she was there, she learned critical business skills such as accounting that helped her start her own business. Some of the garments for sale at Ipso Facto like miniskirts with fun prints and dresses are handmade by Kennedy herself.

Before opening, it was her plan to have all the store’s apparel be her own original creations. It didn’t go exactly as planned, because she found herself with so little time operating the store, trying to create the ideal community salon. When it first opened, Ipso Facto always had something going on—housing a permanent art gallery that changed monthly, a music performance space which hosted live bands (including her own) and even its own piercing booth. In fact, Kennedy says Ipso Facto was the first piercing studio at the time to open in North Orange County. Once the apparel started to engulf the store, Kennedy remodeled it into more of a shopping environment and passed down the crown of local piercings off to her friends next door, Monkeys To Go.

Like many store owners, Kennedy wears all the hats in order to stay in business. She’s the buyer, merchandiser, cashier, digital marketer, social media manager and so much more. (Eli Young)

To aspiring business owners, she emphasizes that you shouldn’t go into business if you’re doing it solely for the money; it must come from love and passion. Ipso Facto is open every day, seven days a week—and Kennedy usually works all seven of those days. As a business owner, she believes in adapting to the current market trends and persevering through the challenges life throws your way. 

“You’re gonna do it because you love it, and you’re gonna sacrifice everything for it—believe me. That is the one takeaway people should have: It’s not all fun and games. But it is very rewarding in other ways,” says Kennedy.


Taken from the Summer 2024 print issue of Inside Fullerton. Read it here.

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About the Contributors
Mikey Moran
Mikey Moran, Editor-in-Chief
Mikey is a fashion journalism and merchandising major. He finds pleasure staining the countertops and walls of his bathroom blue, listening to difficult dance music and going to underground raves. Mikey aspires to become a publicist working in fashion public relations, or pursue a career as a writer for arts, culture and lifestyle publications.
Eli Young
Eli Young, Photo Editor
Eli is pursuing two associate degrees, one in journalism and the other in photography, to add onto their business management degree. In their free time, they like playing Dungeons and Dragons with their friends, reading romance novels, and learning about herbalism. They want to become a freelance photojournalist or a teacher. Their ultimate goal is to open an art gallery in their hometown, Compton. 

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