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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.