The excitement was palpable. The feeling of exhilaration was present because of the unexpected nature of it’s arrival.
While on a weekend trip to Southern California I was pleasantly surprised to meet North Menswear in Laguna Beach and I probably got more excited about it than normal. Surprised and delighted to be exact. Part of this is due to the fact that North is a great shop, but the real reason I was aflutter is because I wasn’t expecting to see anything like this in Laguna. I was expecting to languish in the Real Houswives vibes and here I was browsing a great collection of menswear.
Over the past few years something amazing has happened: A version of North (basically a cool men’s shop with an Americana slant i.e. Unionmade) has opened in cities across America. If you expand out from Laguna Beach you’d get Orn Hansen in Long Beach, Lone Flag in San Diego, Berkeley Supply in Denver, Askov Finlayson in Minneapolis, Willy’s in Detroit, Cincinnati has Article, there’s Supply & Advise in Miami, Reserve Supply Co. in Houston, Federal in Washington D.C. and a million stores in the Northeast.
Five years ago there were only a few shops keyed in on this. Steven Alan, Context in Wisconsin and Need Supply in Richmond to name a few. What was very much the of the blog world for a period of time seemed to have given rise to a new market for menswear. And it wasn’t until I stepped into North that it really made sense. I knew there were a lot of people all over the place interested in this stuff, but when you’re a little off the beaten path (not that LB is really out of the way, but it’s not TriBeCa) and you see a shop as good as North do you really realize the scope of this thing.