“United we bargain, divided we beg!”
While I was in Atlanta this past weekend I stayed in Buckhead, which is an affluent area near the popular Lennox mall. I never like to feel like a tourist so I felt like I needed to get down to the city and see what was popping. Only problem was that I didn’t have a real destination, so before I headed out I just kicked back and thought about what I would do while flipping through a local men’s magazine. Within the first 5 or 6 pages I spot a fullpage ad for Striver’s Row . BINGO! I had a destination. It’s almost like this ad found me as opposed to me finding it.
I’d been familiar with Striver’s Row since late 2009 early 2010. The brand was founded by Jason Geter, T.I’s partner/manager with Grand Hustle, and Emmett Harrell, long-time fashion insider and designer from Rocawear, Phat Farm, Akademiks, PRPS etc. The two came together to build a lifestyle brand that draws inspiration from classic Americana, workwear and military garments. They consider Striver’s Row a premiere vintage replica brand where they combine form and function and try to build new classics. New classics that include aged distressed premium denim and hunting vest that are updated with impeccable details. For more insight in the brand and its founders you can read about it here.
My Saturday in the city started around 10 a.m. As I approached the shop I had to check my watch to make sure it was 11 and that they were actually open . I was totally suprised by the “Now Hiring” sign in the front window. Knowing what I already know about the brand, the expertise of its founders, and the quality of its product I would think there would be a line of employees or interns. I later found out that for now only one person operates that store, a great guy by the name of Will Nguyen. When I walked in I couldn’t help but notice how great the shop was laid out. All the details of a heritage brand carefully placed to tell a story. The old cash register, the branding irons, the vintage leather football helmet. The entire store is set up for you to feel as though you’ve become a part of America’s hardworking, hard playing history. I began to check all the pieces neatly hung on the racks, feeling the fabrics and evaluating the designs. Will asked if I needed help and what brought me in. I told him how I came across Striver’s Row on a few blogs and how I visited a few tradeshows where the name and brand were either mentioned or showcasing. He and I began to chop it up about the brand. He explained to me some background on the brand, what they’ve been working on, and how they decided to skip a few shipments due to the natural disasters in Japan. He talked to me about their partnerships with Brooklyn Circus and Atrium, both of which I’m very familiar. We just began to nerd out over different premium brands and even shared our common troubles of living in two cities that aren’t known for being very fashion forward. He described typical fashion for men in ATL as “seasonal Polo”. The same applies to most guys here in Baltimore. Although I can say guys here have their own signature look with basketball sneakers, New Balance or reppin’ home-grown brands like Samos. I can appreciate that to an extent. (tangent)
Anyway, I felt like that was good time ask for his card and I would give him mine for Quell Collections. Something funny happened, Will looked at my card longer than anyone would normally look at any business card. Then it hit him. He’d seen my card before then he says “You have those bracelets. You send me one!” Then the light bulb went of for me as well. I did send him a bracelet. I actually sent a pin and bracelet along with a hand written letter to Striver’s Row, not knowing exactly who would receive it. Back when I received my first batch of natural wood pins and maple wood bracelets I put together a small list of brands and bloggers who’s style and taste I respect and sent them what I had along with a letter of appreciation for what they do and represent.
Will lit up with a smile and told me how his newborn pulled on his Q.C bracelet and popped it. He mentioned how he still had my letter and how he meant to get back with me but his life had become super busy. Most times you hear “I meant to get back to you” its totally unbelievable but not this time. In fact I was even invited to see my letter pinned to a board in the stock room with a few other letters all on full display as if to say “Thanks, we appreciate this”. We continued to discuss other premium brands as well as Striver’s then fun began. Will offered to let me see and try on some of the upcoming 2011 Holiday collection. This is the part where I name drop the few other celebs or clients who’ve seen or tried on the same garments but I’ll skip that and just get to some of the dope details in the new pieces.
There were new denim jeans and trousers washed and stained to perfection. You’d think I worked in a steel mill for a few years if you saw me bopping down the street in those bottoms. Then there were the awesome hunting jackets, heavy weight tees, corduroy tops and a few flannels from Fall 2011. Might I add I’m typical sample size so I tried on almost everything. The details are what set Striver’s Row apart from most every other brand you’d compare it too. The button placement, the linings, pockets, and leather trims were all awesome. Will even schooled me to how when you purchase certain items in the store you can have your initials branded into the leather patches. The branding irons in the front of the store weren’t just for show. I even had the chance to check out the new Striver’s Row boots (below) and the new cap toe boot that I’m not going to show any pics of.
My visit to Striver’s Row was quite a terrific experience. I learned what it takes to cultivate and build a lifestyle brand. I saw the commitment it took from workers within the brand. I saw how lots of small details make old classiscs extraordinary new garments. I even saw what happens when you put good things out into the world with no strings attached. I sent little gifts to someone just because I appreciate what they do and how they inspire me. That gesture later welcomed me into a brand I admire as experiencing it not just as customer but as participant, as worker… as a striver.
Striver’s Row e-shop will be up and running soon enough but until then take a look at the brands story below.