By  on August 2, 2007

When denim company Farmer Jeans went hunting for space in Los Angeles to open its first store, the company veered away from the city's tony Westside areas — including Montana Avenue and Robertson Boulevard — where premium denim companies such as Paige Premium Denim and AG Adriano Goldschmied launched their first boutiques.

Instead, the Los Angeles-based company moved into a 1,000-square-foot storefront on Sunset Boulevard, in the hip Eastside neighborhood of Los Feliz. The area's cheaper rents were a draw, but the choice to head east was also congruous with the brand's image, said marketing director Paul Magalad.

"The Eastside is where all the trends are set," said Magalad. "Things start here and spread west."

The company celebrated the store's opening on July 14 by throwing a street party where bands including Blackbird, Quetzal Guerrero and the Warriors played.

Business on the block, located just east of Vermont Avenue, is a mix of storefronts and office space.

"We think it's very up-and-coming on this strip," Magalad said.

An upscale men's vintage store, Jack Vintage, recently opened next to Farmer, and across the street is a strip of stores that includes an American Apparel and popular gift and bookstore The Soap Plant/Wacko.

Magalad said robust sales at the new unit are a primary goal, but added the company also opened the store for profile and branding. The company declined to give a sales projection for the store.

"It's really been difficult for denim lately....Also, it's cheaper to produce a larger run of merchandise and have a place to sell it," he said.

The company aims to open two more stores by spring, in New York's SoHo neighborhood and in San Francisco, though leases have yet to be signed.

The Farmer label, which was founded in 2003, is known for its understated washes and dearth of branding on its jeans. Its first store is similarly austere, with concrete floors, dark-wood cubby shelving and custom-made wall racks that display the brand's range of jeans styles, which retail from $189 to $279.

The brand also has infused elements of an apparel design studio into the store. Paper printed with jeans patterns lines the metal shelves displaying jeans in the center, and wooden markers painted with chalkboard paint bear the scrawled names of the jeans models. Similarly, a wall behind the cash register is painted with chalkboard paint and features a daily "menu" of the names and fit characteristics of each model in stock.Magalad said as the company opens more stores, it also plans to launch new categories, including T-shirts and possibly outerwear and children's wear.

"We're planning to do what Hysteric Glamour did," he said. "They are the kings of high-end streetwear and we hope to be on par with them by spring 2008."

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