1. BARNEYS NEW YORK
Location: 44 around the country
For the second consecutive time, Barneys New York has been voted the most infl uential men’s wear store in the U.S. Under the watchful eye of men’s GMM Tom Kalenderian, the store scours the world for the latest and greatest designer brands to stock its seven flagships, two smaller stores, 15 Co-ops and 13 outlets. Although the business is currently without a CEO, its mission remains steadfast: to offer the finest of-the-moment merchandise, much of it exclusive to the retailer. The store’s latest thrust was the opening of a made-to-measure suite at its Madison Avenue home, designed to woo the discriminating male shopper and capitalize on the growth in that category. On the horizon are new flagships in Chicago and Scottsdale, Ariz., slated for 2009.
2. FRED SEGAL
Location: Los Angeles and Santa Monica, Calif.
Owners: Santa Monica location owned by Fred Segal family; Melrose flagship owned by Bud Brown; individual shop owners license the Fred Segal name for their boutiques.
Pegging Fred Segal to a singular men’s wear aesthetic is a fruitless endeavor. As savvy DNR readers know, the storied L.A. retailer is no monolith, instead comprising multiple boutiques—Fred Segal Man, Fred Segal Fun, Fred Segal Trend, Ron Robinson and Ron Herman (see separate entry number 6) among them. But if there’s a common bond between them, it’s a legacy for launching emerging brands that quickly get noticed elsewhere. Scotch & Soda, Cold Method and Raf Simons for Fred Perry are among current favorites with local discerning shoppers, according to Karen Meena, vice-president of Ron Robinson.
Location: Two stores in New York, plus the affiliated Den shop
Owners: Edward Chai and Paul Birardi
Since landing in the East Village in 2004, Odin has fast grown from a neighborhood favorite to an international men’s wear destination. With a second, much larger location now on Lafayette Street, and the single-brand retail concept, Den, next door to the original East Village shop, Chai and Birardi have plenty of opportunities to purvey innovative men’s designers including Robert Geller, Shipley & Halmos and Engineered Garments. This year the duo added women’s wear to its roster, via a nearby sister shop called Pas de Deux.
4. BERGDORF GOODMAN MEN
Location: New York
Owner: Neiman Marcus Group
Frequent events, an eye for designer talent and a sumptuous atmosphere keep Bergdorf Goodman Men on the speed-dials of the world’s style setters. Since the men’s store opened in 1990, it has served both a traditional sartorial consumer and a designer collection shopper. It has increasingly focused on discovering and supporting the new wave of American designers, which began with Thom Browne, Tim Hamilton and its former fashion director Michael Bastian. Most recently it added Spurr and Rag & Bone. In June, it opened a Tom Ford shop that is the largest designer shop in its history.
5. OPENING CEREMONY
Location: New York and L.A.
Owners: Humberto Leon and Carol Lim
Opening Ceremony opened its doors in New York in 2002 in a somewhat rickety space on a somewhat desolate street near Chinatown. But with its avant-garde selection of young designer labels, like Patrik Ervell, Band of Outsiders and Fifth Avenue Shoe Repair, it became a hidden gem for New York’s discerning fashion pack—although the secret is pretty much out of the bag now. Last year owners Humberto Leon and Carol Lim opened a 5,000-square-foot store on La Cienega Boulevard in L.A., and the duo have become rather prominent tastemakers on both coasts. Opening Ceremony also wholesales a namesake sportswear label, and Leon and Lim operate a showroom business on the side. Next up on their to-do list: opening stores in Europe.
6. RON HERMAN
Location: Los Angeles
Owner: Ron Herman
Ron Herman has maintained his relevance in the world of Los Angeles men’s sportswear business for decades, even as many of the brands he’s helped to cultivate have developed a me-too attitude when it comes to opening stores along Melrose Avenue, where his men’s store still resides within the ivy-covered walls of Fred Segal. (Herman also has stores in Beverly Hills, Brentwood and Malibu.) Detail-oriented, accessible sportswear brands like Nice Collective sit alongside Lanvin and other crème de la crème European labels at his twostory boutique. His L.A. customers, Herman says, “have a more worldly sense of fashion today. They are more aware, and they care about presence.”
1. BARNEYS NEW YORK
7. AMERICAN RAG
Location: Los Angeles, San Francisco and Newport Beach, Calif.
Owner: Mark Werts
American Rag has come a long way since its vintage beginnings in the 1980s. In its L.A. flagship, the retailer debuted an expansive denim bar that’s become a reliable barometer on what’s trending in the competitive world of premium jeans. (Earnest Sewn and RRL are among current best sellers.) Men’s buyer James Hammonds has brought an eclectic and refined mix to American Rag’s three California doors, from rising American sportswear labels like Shipley & Halmos to avant-garde stars like Danish designer Henrik Vibskov.
Location: New York
Owners: Nordstrom and Jeffrey Kalinsky
You can both credit and blame (depending on your outlook) Jeffrey Kalinsky for creating the retail and nightlife phenomenon that is New York’s Meatpacking District. Kalinsky altered the landscape of the neighborhood when he opened his luxury fashion emporium there in 1999. Today, the core men’s brands at Jeffrey include Prada, Jil Sander, Gucci, Dries van Noten and Gucci, along with newer additions like Trussardi, Mastermind and Aspesi. Men’s wear comprises about 20 percent of sales at the store. “It’s very hard to be an independent store and compete against the bigger stores. You have to hope that by being yourself and buying what you love, you will create something that is individual and ignites an emotion in people,” says Kalinsky. Of course, he has the best of both worlds: Kalinsky sold a majority stake to Nordstrom and is now executive vice-president of designer merchandising at the mega-retailer—which allows him to oversee buying for both his namesake store and his employer. (There is also a Jeffrey store in Atlanta, but it only sells women’s wear.)
Location: Three stores in Seattle and Portland
Owner: Mario Bisio
With a selection that includes Hugo Boss, Zegna, Prada and Dolce & Gabbana, the two Mario’s flagships are the gold standard of upscale boutiques for men and women in the Pacific Northwest. In 2006, owner Mario Bisio added a third store to the mix: the casual concept Mario’s 3.10, which has a 6,000-square-foot location outside Portland. Mario’s 3.10, which also appears in shop-in-shops in the two Mario’s stores, sells premium denim and designer collections from labels like Paul Smith, John Varvatos and Etro.
Location: New York and Miami
Owner: Sam Ben-Avraham
Best known now as the founder and president of Project Global Tradeshow, Sam Ben-Avraham first made his mark as the proprietor of New York’s enduring Atrium store, which he opened in 1993 in Noho. Situated on a prime stretch of lower Broadway, the 6,500-square-foot store grosses $12 million a year, half of that from men’s wear. Last year a Miami outpost of Atrium bowed, and the 5,400-square-foot unit on Collins Avenue—near chic hotels like the Setai and Shore Club—is expected to pull in about $5 million in sales this year. Top brands at the two stores include Prps, Y-3, J. Lindeberg and Nudie, along with accessories from Tom Ford and Nixon. “Our secret is simple: We always evolve. You have to stay ahead of the curve,” says Ben-Avraham.
Owner: Nicole Miller
The 2,000-square-foot shop in Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood carries a broad array of apparel and accessories from brands like Cheap Monday, Rag & Bone, Acne, Band of Outsiders and Tim Hamilton. It draws in customers via special features, like a recent Unholy Matrimony shop-in-shop, featuring T-shirts and canvas bags designed exclusively for Blackbird. Owner Nicole Miller (not the designer) uses the store’s blog as an effective marketing tool, frequently posting shop news, sales alerts and information about its brands and products
Location: Two stores in Brooklyn and New York
Owners: Louis Terline and Jeff Madalena
The original Oak store was a modest 900-square-foot shop in the hipster enclave of Williamsburg, Brooklyn, where founders Louis Terline and Jeff Madalena made a name for themselves with a cool assortment, from names like Filippa K, Spurr and Generra. In January of this year, the duo opened a larger, 1,500-squarefoot shop on Bond Street in downtown Manhattan, and have stocked it with cutting-edge labels such as Raf by Raf Simons, Rick Owens, Bernhard Willhelm, Chronicles of Never, Hyden Yoo and Complex Geometries. A comprehensive e-commerce site has been active since 2007. Additionally, Terline and Madalena wholesale an Oak private-label collection, and also run a multiline showroom business.
Location: Westport and Greenwich, Conn.
Owner: The Mitchell family
The Mitchells have been hugging their customers—and growing an extraordinarily loyal following—for 50 years. Richards of Greenwich, acquired in 1995, accounts for about half of the company’s sales, which total more than $100 million annually. The 27,000-square-foot Greenwich shop, along with the 25,000-square-foot Mitchells of Westport, carries a similar mix of clothing and sportswear for men, represented by high-end vendors like Zegna, Canali, Kiton and Hickey Freeman.
14. LOUIS BOSTON
Owner: Debi Greenberg
Since 1929, this Boston institution has outfitted generations in luxury with fashion-forward flair. Greenberg has brought in innovative, unconventional labels like Marni and Dries van Noten and reconfigured the merchandising in favor of mixing designers and categories. Louis Boston will leave the palatial Newbury Street building it currently leases in 2010, a blow to Boston’s best-known shopping street. Greenberg has said she is considering moving to the Seaport District or the South End. Wherever the store goes, it will bring tremendous cachet to its environs.
Location: 40 around the country
Owner: Macy’s Inc.
The recent star performer within Macy’s Inc., Bloomingdale’s has continued to make strides with its focus on the bridge customer. The chain raised the bar four years ago with its smaller, contemporary-skewed Soho store—now set for an expanded rollout to other markets—as well as its revamped No. 59 Metro shop of premium denim and sportswear, and a reenergized tailored clothing department that debuted this year.
Location: 14 stores in the U.S. and overseas
Owners: Stefani Greenfield and Uzi Ben-Abraham
In 13 years, Scoop’s enterprising owners have grown their premium retail concept into an international favorite for the contemporary fashion crowd. This year, though, Greenfield and Ben-Abraham opened up their empire to outside expertise, bringing in president and CEO Melanie Cox. The company also added Melvin Murry as its men’s DMM, replacing Lori Swersky, who jumped ship for Saks Fifth Avenue. Scoop’s 14 retail iterations, 10 of which include Men’s, rake in around $1,500 in sales per square foot.
17. LISA KLINE MEN
Location: Los Angeles
Owner: Lisa Kline
Despite the store’s cheeky logo referencing the naked-lady silhouettes usually found on semi-trailer mudflaps, Lisa Kline Men is anything but girly. California casual pervades at the Robertson Boulevard institution, one of Kline’s four locations in the L.A. area. (She opened her first shop on Robertson in 1995.) Homegrown brands comprise much of the assortment, including Modern Amusement, Howe and premium denim from Joe’s Jeans and Cohesive.
18. NEIMAN MARCUS
Location: 39 around the country
Owner: Neiman Marcus Group
Although the retailer has finally felt the results of the recession, its focus remains steady: to provide the tastiest luxury merchandise available from the market’s finest companies, including Zegna, Armani, John Varvatos and William Rast. Looking ahead, the company will bring its enviable assortment to six new cites over the next several years.
19. VILLAINS/VILLAINS VAULT
Location: Three stores in San Francisco
Owner: David Engel
San Francisco is a city that prides itself on being progressive, and Villains Vault ensures that label applies to men’s wear as well. The denim-friendly retailer opened up as Villains on Haight Street in 1986, and spawned the higher end Vault in 1997. There’s also a Villains Shoes store nearby. Villains general manager Randy Brewer prides himself on under-the-radar lines like Kicking Mule Workshop and City of Others for its upscale customers, and Analog and WeSC for its street-savvy style setters. The stores pull in $7 million in sales annually.
Location: West Hollywood
Owner: Tommy Perse
Many L.A. boutiques beckon customers with busy window displays and anodyne decor. Maxfield is not one of them. The store offers, arguably, the most avant-garde shopping experience in L.A. One is greeted by a smooth concrete facade and ominous sculptures reminiscent of those found on Easter Island. Inside is a men’s and women’s mix straight from the Paris runways, in addition to one of the largest vintage Hermès collections around. Lanvin, Balenciaga and Junya Watanabe are among the men’s offerings for fall.
Location: Three stores in Chicago and Winnetka, Ill.
Owners: Lance Lawson and Jim Wetzel
This chic Chicago boutique has evolved from its more casual denim-centric roots to a sophisticated shopping destination for the Midwest’s fashion-forward set. A well-edited selection of eclectic labels like Band of Outsiders, Oliver Spencer and Nice Collective, which can sometimes be hard to find outside of New York, has kept Chicago’s urban sophisticates flocking to Jake. Since opening the first store in the city’s Lakeview neighborhood five years ago, founders Jim Wetzel and Lance Lawson have extended their reach to include a boutique in Chicago’s Gold Coast neighborhood, an outpost in the upscale suburb of Winnetka, as well as a Web site, Shopjake.com.
22. STANLEY KORSHAK
Owner: Crawford Brock
Even in a town with four Neiman Marcus stores, this vaunted uptown landmark still reigns over the Big D’s retail scene. With a staff that rarely turns over, Stanley Korshak is a beacon for the city’s luxury shoppers who spend top dollar for clothing and sportswear from the likes of Belvest, Brioni and Isaia. Even in this economy, the ultra-luxe Kiton brand is the men’s store’s top seller. Traditional and upmarket brands continue to be Stanley Korshak’s best business; earlier this year Brock downsized the men’s offering at his contemporary boutique, The Shak, as his customers shun denim for more gentlemanly looks.
23. SAKS FIFTH AVENUE
Location: 53 around the country
Owner: Saks Inc.
The new men’s team at Saks Fifth Avenue has inherited a spot-on assortment of luxury merchandise ranging from Dolce & Gabbana and Hugo Boss to Antik Denim and Joe’s Jeans. The next thrust is a heightened focus on accessories and shoes, as well as a renewed emphasis on successful modern/contemporary brands.
24. SOUTH WILLARD
Location: Los Angeles
Owners: Ryan Conder and Danielle Kays
On South Willard’s Web site, cofounder Ryan Conder seems less preoccupied with e-commerce and more invested in cultivating taste—political, epicurean or otherwise. Perhaps the boutique’s goods don’t require added shilling, thus the owner’s thoughtful blog eclipsing the online store. Raf Simons button-front wovens and Dries van Noten knit cardigans are particular standouts in South Willard’s quiet, cozy confines, as is a thoughtful shoe selection from Common Projects, Quoddy Trail Shoes and other niche brands. Look for a South Willard private label collection for spring 2009.
25. STEVEN ALAN
Location: Five stores in New York and three stores in L.A.
Owner: Steven Alan
Steven Alan’s mini-empire includes multibrand flagships in Tribeca, N.Y., and in Venice, Calif., and six monobrand stores that sell his private label collection, which has become best known for its casually wrinkled dress shirts. An outlet store is set to open in L.A. this winter. Alan’s aesthetic tends to emphasize low-key but sophisticated style, with key brands in his flagship including RRL, Rag & Bone, Nice Collective, Acne, A.P.C., Engineered Garments, Opening Ceremony and Woolrich. The stores ring up about $1,500 per square foot, according to Alan, who also runs an e-commerce site in addition to a showroom that sells brands including Cassette, Relwen and Simon Miller Jeans.
Location: Los Angeles
Owner: Fraser Ross
A paparazzo’s stakeout shortlist invariably includes Kitson on Robertson Boulevard, which lures sightseers and starlets alike. L.A. continues to be Ross’s retail epicenter, with another two-level store on Melrose Avenue opening this month, followed by a men’s-only door in the Malibu Lumber Yard. Global ambition isn’t off the table, however. Expect a future rollout of stores in Japan.
Location: Flagship in Newport Beach, Calif.; additional locations in Orange County and San Diego County
Owners: Dick, John and Kari Braeger
A landmark of tailored clothing and fine sportswear, Garys has grown into one of southern California’s preeminent men’s wear destinations. Originally founded in Brentwood nearly 40 years ago by Gary Wasserman, the business was bought in 1984 by former Cole Haan owner Dick Braeger, who built a presence for the retailer in Orange County that now comprises 12 locations, ranging from casualwear and women’s apparel to home furnishings. In men’s, Garys is home to one of the world’s largest independent Zegna accounts.
Location: Six stores in southern California
Owners: Bob and Ron Abdel, Jamal and Mike Abdelmutti, and Shane Shadeh
For those living the beach lifestyle in southern California, Jack’s Surfboards has been a retail institution since 1957. The specialty chain serves up a definitive roster of surf, skate and snow labels, complemented by an expansive offering of hard goods that is virtually unmatched anywhere else in the state. Jack’s current owners, who purchased the Huntington Beach–based company in the early 1970s, have lately been on an expansion kick; Jack’s will open its sixth store next week in Irvine, and will add a door next year in San Clemente.
29. DOUGLAS FIR
Location: Los Angeles
Owners: Jon Noble and Faustino Abarca
Located on West Third Street, Douglas Fir predates the L.A. thoroughfare’s gradual transformation into a chic destination. Enviable address aside, the boutique’s offerings haven’t necessarily changed to court throngs of hipsters descending on the neighborhood for Sunday brunch. Dry-witted window presentations, a sizable Martin Margiela collection and a solid shirt collection from brands like Steven Alan, Paul Smith and Seize sur Vingt are a particular draw for a decidedly un-L.A. men’s shopping experience.
30. BILL HALLMAN
Location: Three stores in Atlanta
Owner: Bill Hallman
Hallman is highly regarded by vendors and retailers alike for his savvy take on retail. He operates three stores in two cutting-edge parts of Atlanta just blocks from each other: Bill Hallman Flaunt in Little Five Points and Bill Hallman Original, with separate men’s and women’s stores, in Virginia- Highlands. Key men’s brands include Nudie Jeans, Maison Bibliothèque, Paul Smith, John Varvatos, Bogosse, Rowdy, Public School, Indie Peace and Cerar & Malcolm. “By carrying hard-to-find and exclusive products,” says Hallman, “my customers know when they buy an outfit from us that it won’t be seen all over town.”
Location: New York
Owners: Sean Shuter and Daniel Jackson
Situated in the hipster-infested Lower East Side of Manhattan, BBlessing stocks an assortment of brands that creative types gravitate toward: Raf Simons, Obedient Sons, Rag & Bone, Patrik Ervell and Surface to Air. Co-owner Daniel Jackson was also a cofounder of the latter label, and he and partner Sean Shuter have created their own BBlessing men’s collection, which is sold in the store and wholesaled to about 35 other stores. BBlessing opened in April 2006 and emphasizes a lifestyle environment with books, music and film offerings, as well.
Owners: Kent Gushner, Jeff Glass and Ralph Yaffe
The crown jewel of Philly retail continues to diversify its offering. It recently added a fine jewelry and watch shop to its first floor, and in May the store opened a chic sushi restaurant and lounge, Raw Café at Boyds, within its walls. (Kiton and Kirin—together at last.) Execs also poached Bergdorf Goodman’s former head of human resources, who in addition to snapping up new buyers and sales personnel has updated client systems and set new performance standards.
Location: 107 around the country
Owner: Nordstrom Inc.
With one-third of its stores in financially hard-hit California, the Seattle-based retailer has been significantly impacted by the tough economic times. Nevertheless, it is staying the course, continuing to offer shoppers a varied assortment of luxe men’s labels. From Affliction and Boss Black to Gucci, Ferragamo and Zanella, the chain offers a wide assortment of top brand names.
34. WILKES BASHFORD
Location: San Francisco, Palo Alto and Carmel, Calif., plus a WilkesSport door in Mill Valley
Owner: The Wilkes Bashford Co.
Wilkes Bashford is getting back to basics. In the last year the company pulled the plug on two WilkesSport stores—a spin-off retail concept that specialized in more affordable weekend wear—in order to focus on its flagships and their healthy luxury business. Long-term stockists of Zegna, Brioni and Kiton, Wilkes Bashford excels at romancing fine tailored clothing and sportswear. In the age of mass luxury, its seven-story San Francisco store endures, showing that a good merchant can outshine even the largest mega-brands.
Owners: Riccardo Dallai Sr. and Riccardo Dallai Jr.
Riccardi has a wide assortment of fashion-forward product, ranging from a pair of $1,000, hand-dipped Japanese jeans to ready-to-wear from designers like Comme des Garçons, Dior Homme and John Galliano. Its unique mix has put the 3,000-square-foot Newbury Street store on track to hit sales of around $6 million this year. And, in preparation for its 30th anniversary next year, Riccardi is planning exclusive collaborations with vendors like Prps and Chrome Hearts.
36. ACTIVE RIDE SHOP
Location: 27 stores in southern California
Owners: John and Shane Wallace
There are few action-sports retailers that achieve both the personalization of a single-door skate shop and the breadth and selection of a large-scale chain. Active Ride Shop, with nearly 27 stores dotting the southern California landscape (and two more opening within a month), manages to hit both designations, attracting discerning young shoppers with its impressive mix of action sports and streetwear labels. Founded by John Wallace in 1989, the company is now helmed by his son Shane, who has plans to expand across the country.
Location: New York
Owner: James Jebbia and Mary Ann Fusco
For those in the streetwear business, a plug from Union is akin to becoming a made man. The Spring Street shop, founded in 1989 by Mary Ann Fusco and Stüssy insider James Jebbia, serves as a launchpad for some of the most progressive labels in the streetwear business, from Visvim and WTAPS to Neighborhood and Pegleg. Union also now offers New York City’s most expansive selection of Stüssy, which is currently homeless until it moves into its new flagship digs, also on Spring Street, next summer.
Location: Seven stores in Florida and Manhasset, N.Y.
Owner: Elie Akiba
Lulu, based in Miami, is a denim destination and carries around 40 denim brands, including Diesel, True Religion, Robin’s Jean and Rock & Republic, as well as fashion brands Paul Smith, Y-3, Jean Paul Gaultier and Moschino. With annual sales of approximately $19 million, Lulu has six stores in South Florida from Boca Raton to Miami, and one unit in Manhasset, N.Y. It opened an expansion (from 1,700 square feet to 3,200 square feet) on Nov. 7 of the Bal Harbour store designed to look exactly like a French bistro, including a 25-foot denim bar. “We have a tremendous knowledge when it comes to jeans' wear, and we have the most variety under one roof,” says Akiba.
39. ALOHA RAG
Location: Honolulu and New York
Owner: Tatsugo Yoda
As its name suggests, 17-year-old Aloha Rag started off as a humble vintage store in Waikiki, then began adding top designer labels, like Lanvin and Martin Margiela, to its mix and moving to a larger, 2,500-square-foot space in Honolulu. The store thrived on the city’s booming tourist business (about 80 percent of sales come from vacationing shoppers), and earlier this year owner Tatsugo Yoda opened a second unit in New York’s Meatpacking District. The store offers rising men’s wear labels like 3.1 Phillip Lim, Tim Hamilton, Ksubi and Linda Farrow eyewear in a white, art gallery–like space. There are also a host of lesser-known brands from Japan—Silvain Sylvian, Sixe, G.H.M, Haoming, Kitsune—and Europe, such as Maria Rudman, Golden Goose, Tatras and Puffa.
Location: 132 stores in the U.S., Europe and Canada
Owner: Urban Outfitters Inc.
Urban Outfitters’ many locations make designs by Fred Perry, Cheap Monday and Scotch & Soda available to young men in areas devoid of chic boutiques. Recently the store has launched collaborations with By Corpus, CPT by Cockpit and Lark & Wolff by Steven Alan, which sell alongside boat shoes, Nike fanny packs and neon sunglasses. The selection is working well for the chain, which reported net sales of around $297 million in its 112 U.S. stores for the first six months of the year.
Owner: Lauren Amos
Lauren Amos bought Wish, which is located in the hip Little Five Points neighborhood of Atlanta, in 2004 from International News and put it through a major renovation. Relaunched in 2006 in its Carnegie Library location, Amos expanded selling space to 4,000 square feet from 2,800 square feet by turning the basement into a sneaker destination. In fact, 60 percent of sales now come from footwear. Apparel brands include 10.Deep, Corpus, Endovanera, Henrik Vibskov, Kill City, Perks-n-Mini, The Hundreds and Wood Wood. Footwear brands include Nike QS, Alife, Clae, Supra and Creative Recreation.
42. H. MEN
Location: Los Angeles
Owner: Lorenzo Hadar
With a sweeping staircase and balcony, Sunset Boulevard’s 3,000-square-foot H. Men is an edifice of epic Hollywood proportions. Yet in the spirit of H. Lorenzo women’s and shoe boutiques, owner Lorenzo Hadar’s collections skew decidedly European. Sportswear from DSquared, Raf Simons, Kris Van Assche and Comme des Garçons graces the second floor. A solid premium denim department features Prps, Tsubi and Stitch’s. In April, Hadar also opened a sleek, green-friendly store on Robertson Boulevard named HLNR.
Location: New York
Owners: Karlo Steel and Constantin von Haeften
Atelier opened in 2002 on a lightly trafficked street in Soho, but with its carefully edited assortment of advanced designer labels, such as Carol Christian Poell, Ann Demeulemeester, Undercover, Number (N)ine and Julius, it’s become a go-to spot for New York’s artsy set. “I like things that are dark, and I don’t like prints,” says co-owner Karlo Steel of the somewhat Gothic, high-style mood of the store, which only sells men’s wear. Next month, Steel and partner Constantin von Haeften are moving the shop to a 3,000-square-foot space on Hudson Street in the West Village, tripling its selling space. The duo also operate a recently opened, stand-alone Rick Owens store in the same neighborhood.
Location: Two Seattle shops
Owners: Scott McElmury and Cerise Lacock
Ian’s owners brought trendy brands to Seattle four years ago and now sell exclusives like Engineered Garments and Nice Collective from two stores. The 3,200-square-foot downtown location focuses on men’s wear from Relwen and NSF, with an upstairs G-Star department offering a wide selection for men and women, while the newest shop in the city’s Fremont district, which opened in January 2007, caters to both genders with a slightly lower price point, featuring brands like Modern Amusement and Cheap Monday.
Location: Madison, Wis.
Owners: Ryan Huber, Sam Parker and Ben Parker
This 1,000-square-foot shop, which opened in December 2005, focuses on dry selvedge denim and outerwear, apparel and accessories. Denim—including hard-to-find selvedge brands Sugarcane, Imperial and Atelier LaDurance, and best sellers like Nudie and APC—currently makes up about 50 percent of the store’s merchandise. Last year Context launched an online boutique, Contextclothing.com, that ships to more than 30 countries around the world, and it is set to outperform the storefront this year.
Owner: Heiji Choy
The eclectic mix of modern classics at this 4 1/2-year-old boutique would make it just as much of a standout in New York, London or Paris as it is in Chicago’s hip Wicker Park neighborhood. “I was commuting from New York, working for a client in Chicago, and I noticed there weren’t any boutiques here catering to the designsavvy, avant-garde, fashion-loving art crowds,” says owner Heiji Choy. Hejfina’s unique assortment of hard-to-find men’s labels, like Engineered Garments and Loden Dager, does just that, much to the delight of Chicago’s fashion aficionados.
Location: Los Angeles
Owner: Joey Grana
Scout stocks a blend of vintage clothes and contemporary, independent designer labels. Joey Grana, who gained full control of the five-year-old boutique from another partner about a year ago, says he wants the contemporary stuff to be as special and as deliberately curated as the vintage selection. Right now that means new Henrik Vibskov, Endovanera, Lova, knit basics from V::room, and some Fabrics Interseason. “There’s a dialogue between the vintage and the new, making a complete wardrobe,” says Grana. “It makes it read more like a closet, more personal.”
48. THE CLOSET
Location: Five stores in Costa Mesa, Irvine, Huntington Beach, Newport Beach and Santa Monica, Calif.
Owner: Billy Stade
The Closet’s new Costa Mesa flagship, a 10,000-square-foot headquarters that boasts ample selling space, a café and a soon-to-open salon, is prompting some to call the chain the Fred Segal of Orange County. The accolade is appreciated, but the five-store company sees itself as a more laid-back version of the L.A. juggernaut. Since 1993, The Closet owner Billy Stade has found a niche in balancing boardsport brands like Stüssy and Vulcan with contemporary labels like Ever, Nudie Jeans and April77 in his quest to define “California couture.”
49. VINNIE’S STYLES
Location: Brooklyn and Atlanta
Owners: Desta, Jacob and Paul Parris
The three Brooklyn brothers behind Vinnie’s Styles have a pedigree in men’s wear. Desta, Jacob and Paul practically grew up in their grandfather’s tailored clothing shop in Crown Heights. Their own retail shop, on Flatbush Avenue, is a bit more reflective of their youthful street style, with contemporary men’s brands like Nudie jeans, J. Lindeberg and Maharishi gracing their shelves. The trio just expanded southward, and opened their second shop in Atlanta’s Little Five Points neighborhood. Look for a Vinnie’s Styles to hit Manhattan in 2009.
50. NOM DE GUERRE
Location: New York City
Owners: Holly Harnsongkram, Wil Whitney, Devon Turnbull and Isa Saalabi
Nom de Guerre has focused on growing its own men’s wear brand since the fashion collective launched the line of luxurious utilitarian clothing in 2005. But the company’s New York location is still a covetable account for cool-hunting vendors. Its store—a signless bunker below Broadway and Bleecker streets—has been much copied by other retailers who equate the speakeasy format with underground authenticity. It’s become a gimmick, but Nom de Guerre was among the first to use it.