May 17, 2018 | By Taryn Tavella
On Saturday, Brooks Brothers opened up its Flatiron concept store in New York City’s former Lord & Taylor building, measuring in at 7,200 square feet and three levels tall. Bricks walls and wooden beams are exposed, brass chandeliers are hung, and as you might expect, there’s antique furniture and props that represent the good life scattered through the store. Floor-to-ceiling curtains are fashioned from exploded repp stripe tie patterns and vintage collegiate imagery from the company’s archives lines the walls.
WWD reports that the new store, geared towards young customers like “college students and young professionals,” is quite different from your average Brooks Brothers. “Instead of the standard tables for shirts and ties inside the front door of the unit at 901 Broadway, at 20th Street, the store showcases an edgier, more playful assortment of men’s and women’s sportswear.” Examples of the deviations include a navy pinstripe suit paired with a puffy vest and bow tie. In the basement is the quintessential “man cave,” complete with Levi’s jeans, rugby shirts, a foosball table and a working photo booth. There is free WiFi throughout the store.
Claudio Del Vecchio, Brooks Brothers’ chief executive officer, said he looks at the new store as a laboratory. “We know what our existing customer thinks of this product,” he said. “But we wanted to give the next generation of Brooks Brothers customer an environment to attract them so we can have a more direct relationship.” Del Vecchio said he believes the concept can be rolled out to other places, especially China and Korea, where many of the most avid shoppers are young. “We think this has a lot of legs to expand in Asia and emerging markets,” he said. “It’s a strategic move to create new customers here and internationally.” A second Brooks Brothers Flatiron will open in Toronto in the spring, he revealed.
Del Vecchio said that even though the concept may exist outside of New York City’s Flatiron district, the name will remain. “It has double meaning to us,” he said. From 1884 to 1915, when the company’s Madison Avenue flagship opened, Brooks Brothers had been housed in a location at Broadway and 22nd Street, two blocks away from this store. In addition, in 1901 Brooks introduced its first sack suit for men after noticing that university students were using flatirons to flatten their lapels. Del Vecchio said it “represents how we honor the past and celebrate the future.”
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