Retail | A Continuous Lean. - Page 2

Celebrate What You Already Own.

Nov 29th, 2013 | Categories: Retail | by Michael Williams

To be completely honest, Black Friday is a very bewildering time for me. I don’t know how to properly evaluate such a wildly excessive day in this consumer-obsessed country. This is especially conflicting for me because of this blog, a thing many view as a cheerleader of consumption. Over the past few years I have been more and more skeptical of Black Friday and have been exasperated by what has transpired on both sides of the register. Could you imagine being literally trampled to death in a big box retailer at 4am trying to buy a cheap flat screen t.v.? I’m having a hard time finding a more tragic way to go.

This year the lines have been drawn slightly more clearly and the madness seems to be escalating and dissipating at the same time. The way things are going Black Friday and the national retailers seem poised to triumph over Thanksgiving. Some stores opened earlier than ever on Thursday and a few retailers shockingly stood up for the family holiday, advocating people actually spend time with their families. For better or worse, Black Friday has become a retail arms race. While I understand that the retailers want to try to capture as much of the holiday shopping dollars as possible (it seems it is a zero sum game; they do have stockholders to answer to after all) and many Americans want to stretch their own dollar as far as it can go to give their families a good life; it is still amazing to me that apparently nothing is scared in the quest for retail success, including one of America’s most significant family holidays. Is it really all worth it?





Club Monaco’s New Flatiron Flagship

Nov 20th, 2013 | Categories: Jake Gallagher, Menswear, New York City, Retail | by Jake Gallagher

CLUB MONACO Opens Global Flagship Store in New York City on Renowned 5th Avenue

Whatever they’re drinking over there at Club Monaco, I want some of it. Throughout the past few years the formerly conventional brand has sprouted into a bona fide menswear Mecca, bringing quality goods and innovative designs to men not just here in America, but across the world. Under the careful guidance of Aaron Levine the vice president for menswear, Club Monaco has positioned themselves as a powerhouse in this industry, shaping the look of menswear in the twenty-first century in a way that few, if any, brands of its scale can. Club Monaco isn’t merely building a brand; it’s building an empire.

This week, Club Monaco unveiled the crown jewel of their flourishing empire, in the form of a renovated flagship store on New York’s Fifth Avenue. The two level location features not only the full breadth of Club’s collections, but also packs a coffee shop and a Strand book store, lending new meaning to the phrase “destination store.” While the upstairs, which houses the women’s line is light and airy, the lower level men’s shop adopts a more brooding atmosphere, complete with dark wood accents and fixtures fit for a New England country house. It’s more about where we are going than where we have been. The shop goes beyond rugged and industrial to strike the just the right note.

CLUB MONACO Opens Global Flagship Store in New York City on Renowned 5th Avenue

CLUB MONACO Opens Global Flagship Store in New York City on Renowned 5th Avenue





Shopping London | Trunk Labs

Oct 31st, 2013 | Categories: London, Men's Stores, Retail | by Michael Williams

Trunks Labs London

The City of Westminster is considering renaming Chiltern Street to Monocle Row. The magazine’s spin offs occupy several storefronts on this quaint corner of Marylebone with a Monocle café and the Trunk marque, which now includes both a men’s clothing store and a (fairly) recently opened accessories store called Trunk Labs.

The shop has thoughtful selection from brands like Alden, Rimowa luggage, Sanders & Sanders, London Undercover, Aspesi and many more. It feels English, European and Japanese all at the same time. It’s the kind of place that makes you want to buy a ceramic dish, a pen from Japan and a cashmere throw. It’s a store for discovering something new and for buying gifts for yourself.





Shopping Los Angeles | Wittmore Pop-Up Shop

Jun 18th, 2013 | Categories: Los Angeles, Menswear, Retail | by Michael Williams

Wittmore_popup_01 (1)

Recently, while in Los Angeles, I paid a visit to the new Wittmore pop-up shop on Third Street. The colorful space is brings to life Wittmore’s nicely curated and eclectic brand mix, which up until a few weeks ago has been an entirely digital shopping affair.

The physical and online stores are the product of my longtime friend and mentor Paul Witt. Wittmore is a culmination of Paul’s many years in the clothing business and his varied work across various creative disciplines, a few of which involved me as his underling. The shop presents Witt’s personality well, and represents a playful perspective that very much aligns with his personal taste and style. It’s an inclusive and needed respite from the world of pretentiousness that can often surround so many menswear brands and stores. Wittmore brings a keen eye and an injection of playfulness that makes clothing fun again.

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The Time is Right for Independence.

Sep 15th, 2012 | Categories: Chicago, Made in the USA, Retail | by Michael Williams

It seems like every time work takes me to Chicago, I only get one day to explore. And the more I visit, the more apparent it becomes that I need much more time in The Second City. The food/drink scene alone can dominate the better part of a week’s furlough. While time was limited on my most recent trip, I did have a chance to visit a few stores I have been hearing about as part of my ongoing, unofficial quest to document every good store in America. Certainly deserving this call out and your own visit is Independence — which is the retail outpost of Oak Street Bootmakers. The store, by concept, sells only US made goods—one of the only stores I have seen that sticks to such a defined subject.

There’s a lot to buy at the shop, but what really stands out to me is the opportunity to try on and take home a very nice selection of footwear from Oak Street Bootmakers. That said, there is all sorts of other good stuff from Batten Sportswear, LVC, Gitman Vintage, Post Overalls and Imogene + Willie. Also present are a bunch of very nice (and well priced) wool blankets from the fairly recently relaunched Faribault Woolen Mills — which are highly likeable things.





Shopping Copenhagen | Norse Projects

Sep 10th, 2012 | Categories: Copenhagen, Retail | by Michael Williams

Norse Projects has a great multi-label shop in the company’s hometown of Copenhagen. I paid it a visit a few weeks back when I was in town for the CIFF trade-show and was thoroughly impressed with what I saw. While the brand’s clothes are clearly very similar to New York’s Supreme, the skate aspect of Norse seems slightly more subdued. To me that makes it more understandable, more digestible and in turn more likely to be in my closet. It’s not that skate is bad, and honestly what Supreme does overall is very obviously next level and untouchable, but Norse is on a good wave-length with what it is doing and its shop reflects that well.

Of all the things I saw in Denmark, Norse was by far the most likeable thing in a sea of likeable things. The city of Copenhagen, the people and the culture were very enjoyable to me. It is the type of place you want to visit and then tweet about annoyingly, like when people visit Austin, Texas and then talk with the locals (while drinking wine at Tivoli Gardens) about how you could move there. If you are wondering, they would probably prefer you stay home. The lack of massive amounts of people is sort of integral to the enjoyable nature of the place.





Shopping Amagansett | Love Adorned East End

Jul 25th, 2012 | Categories: Retail | by Michael Williams

Everything you need that you never knew you needed. That’s the easy way to describe the shop Love Adorned in Amagansett Square. The Hamptons outpost is an offshoot of the Elizabeth Street store by the same name, which is the off shoot of the popular tattoo parlor New York Adorned. It sounds more confusing than it really is. The hardest part of Love Adorned East End is dealing with the LIE on a Friday afternoon.

Another way to describe the summer-centric Love Adorned in Amagansett would be to say it is a sort of tribal Labour and Wait. That’s a strong compliment considering Labour and Wait is one of my top five favorite stores in the world.