Fashion is an increasingly globalized industry. Today, more so than ever before, it is possible for the polished Parisian shopper to purchase the American aesthetic without stepping foot out of the city, let alone the continent, while the knowing New Yorker can just as effortlessly access a store hawking classic Parisian cool. For those looking to score on a style that may be alien to the area, look no further. The last year has witnessed an explosion of store openings all around the world that have only made it easier to shop the styles you seek, regardless of your present position. Here are five of the best stores from the past year to help you on your consumption crusade.
Paris- Gant Rugger, Les Marais
Though Gant, the eponymous label initially launched by Marty and Elliot Gant in 1949, has many stores throughout France, the opening of the Gant Rugger store in August of 2013 was the first time the Rugger line had a store all to itself, and in the City of Light, no less. The American brand that was built on the button-down shirt has since expanded to include several smaller lines, including Gant Rugger, which offers a youthful and more cosmopolitan interpretation of the American neo-prep its parent brand tends to peddle. The Gant Rugger line brings with it a whimsy and unpretentious simplicity that is sure to be right at home among the similarly minded menswear brands of the French.
London- J. Crew, Regent Street
Earlier last year, J. Crew, the ubiquitous purveyor of classically American clothing, opened its third location in London, a 17,000 square-foot ode to Americana that dwarfs many of the surrounding stores. The opening of the brand's third store, on Regent Street in the West End, marked yet another conquest for the ever-expanding global fashion brand, but more importantly, brought with it an opportunity for Londoners and their compatriots to shop the archetypally American wares J. Crew has always done so well. Clothing like washed oxford cloth button-downs and slim suiting in the now signature Ludlow silhouette typified the store as a true J. Crew production, and sent a strong signal to any skeptical Brits as well. “The J. Crew Invasion” was the front cover headline touted by the weekly issue of Bloomberg BusinessWeek. The Americans had arrived.
Tokyo- Todd Snyder, Shibuya
When Todd Snyder, the designer named one of GQ’s Best New Menswear Designers of 2012 and a recent nominee for the CFDA Swarovski Award in Menswear, decided to launch his flagship store in Tokyo, the fashion world took notice. Snyder’s three-storied store space, christened “The Townhouse”, is the perfect venue to display his sporty take on American tailoring. The basement floor boasts the designer’s collaboration with storied sportswear company Champion, and the top floor houses a Tailor Shop set up with Snyder suiting and all of the accompanying accoutrements, while the rest of the space is dedicated to showing Snyder’s signature spin on Americana to the heritage hungry and style savvy shoppers of Japan.
Berlin- Carhartt WIP, Bikini Berlin
In April of this year, Carhartt Work In Progress, the slightly hipper diffusion line of the iconic American workwear brand, opened a store in Bikini Berlin, a concept mall in the heart of Germany’s capital city. The introduction of the Carhartt WIP store in 2014 marked the opening of the brand’s seventh store in Germany, its second in Berlin alone, and speaks to the popularity of American workwear in Europe and the success the WIP line has seen translating the timeless designs of Carhartt collections into pieces that appeal to the contemporary consumer today. The WIP line features classic Carhartt pieces like tough twill pants in khaki and navy, and sturdy canvas work jackets, all updated with a more modern slim fit; a formula sure to prove successful yet again in the brand’s newest outpost.
New York- Dover Street Market, Murray Hill, Midtown Manhattan
Dover Street Market is not so much a store as it is a full on retail experience. The seven story brainchild of Rei Kawakubo, the founder of Comme des Garcons and mentor to many a designer including prominent protégé Junya Watanabe, boasts a bevy of high fashion brands including Louis Vuitton, Saint Laurent and Prada, as well as numerous covetable pieces from every Comme des Garcon line you can think of. Don’t let the “beautiful chaos” of the exterior fool you, either. The interior boasts a meticulously curated selection of disparate brands, each with its own unique voice, that somehow all sing together in synchrony to form a delicious cacophony of visual noise. Kawakubo’s penchant for kooky design and avant-garde expressionism comes through clearly in the layout of her store, as does the multicultural context that inspires her work. What better place than New York City, a mecca of modern menswear and hub of cultural diversity, to open a store bursting with brands from all over the world?