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WWD: You opened your 11th store, in San Francisco, last week. What city is next?
Steven Alan: Stores are very capital-intensive, so for us it’s a slow process, but I’m thinking about Boston, Georgetown, Chicago, Seattle. We’re really a neighborhood store, like on Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn — I can’t imagine us ever being on Fifth Avenue or 57th Street. It’s really fun to shape the store to the community. You know, the Venice Beach one feels very different from the Hollywood one.
WWD: Steven Alan already carries clothes, accessories, jewelry. Could home goods be on the horizon?
Alan: Funny you should ask. We have an office space on Franklin Street [in New York] that we’re moving out of in July, so we’re considering doing home there. It would be a mixture of vintage and new products, and eventually we’d also make our own things. I like finding artisans — this guy who makes these carpets, and this person who makes lamps. I haven’t made one purchase for the store yet, but that’s the plan, to transition there in the fall.
WWD: You always have such great prints. Are they all originals?
Alan: When we first started, we’d go to the Garment District, to jobbers. Then we started buying from fabric mills, but eventually I felt like we had exhausted their libraries. So now we have them fabricated by computer, not just the pattern design but also the constructions and the fabrics. If we’re going to use a white fabric or a blue oxford, we’ll still source that, but we might make the wash different. Our prints are now all proprietary, though, and most of the plaids and stripes as well.
WWD: What are some of your favorite items in your stores right now?
Alan: We represent a lot of designers in our showroom, and some of them are so hot in the stores. Like No. 6, Acne, Clare Vivier bags. And Isabel Marant is one of the strongest lines we carry.
WWD: Did you pick up any new brands for the fall season?
Alan: We’ve added Alasdair, Laurence Doligé, Micaela Greg, Thomas Sires and Objects Without Meaning.
WWD: How important is it for you to carry American-made merch?
Alan: In an ideal sense, I like the idea of it. I just got back from the High Point furniture fair in North Carolina, and I was really excited about it. But there wasn’t one thing that I thought was great and wanted to carry. So I think that sometimes when you make American-made the focus, it can preclude you from having really amazing things.
WWD: What are your summer plans?
Alan: We rent a house in Southold, on the North Fork. It’s almost like this little commune area, with an organic farm that you can walk to. There’s all these kids running around, so it’s great for my two kids. We’re also probably going to visit my brother in Normandy, and then possibly go to the Adirondacks. My girlfriend’s friend’s great-grandparents have this compound there — it’s kind of like camp.
Click Here to See Last Week’s Fashion Talks, With Topshop’s Kate Phelan >>
In Fashion Talks, running every Monday on WWD.com, we chat with retailers and designers about what they love, what they loathe, and what’s driving them right now.