Rowing Blazers is going the retail route.The preppy brand of vintage-inspired sport coats, button-down shirts and ties will open a 2,500-square-foot store at 221 Centre Street in Manhattan on June 15. The space formerly housed the Odin store.Rowing Blazers was created last year by Jack Carlson, a former coxswain on the U.S. national rowing team who also holds a Ph.D. in archaeology from Oxford University (a center of rowing worldwide), and is the author of “A Humorous Guide to Heraldry” and “Rowing Blazers,” a coffee-table tome about the “authentic striped, piped, trimmed and badged” jackets worn by oarsman around the world.Since its debut, the collection of boldly patterned and brightly colored jackets has caught the attention of Millennial customers, and the brand had a successful partnership with J. Crew on a limited-edition capsule of rugby shirts.In addition, a pop-up that the brand operated on Rivington Street last fall was so successful Carlson believes it’s the right time to take a bigger plunge into the brick-and-mortar world.“When we started, the idea was to be e-commerce exclusively and maybe add wholesale selectively,” he said. Rowing Blazers does wholesale its line to Asian retailers Beams, United Arrows, Journal Standard and others.“But when we opened the pop-up, in addition to the business we did in the store, the amount of traffic and business to our web site went way up,” he said. “So it told me there’s something to be said for seeing, touching and trying on the merchandise.”So when Carlson found out the former Odin space was available, he signed on. “It’s near a lot of brands we really love, and none of them are doing what we’re doing,” he said, pointing to Drake’s, Noah and Garrett Leigh, which all have stores in the vicinity.For the first three months, Rowing Blazers will take over the entire 2,500 square feet, “which is huge for us,” Carlson admitted. So he’ll host a series of rotating guest brands which will change monthly. The first will be Eric Emanuel, who creates retro-inspired basketball jerseys and shorts that have developed an “underground following,” he said.At that point, the landlord will divide the space in three and Rowing Blazers is expecting to keep one of the slots, Carlson said.The design of the shop will be similar to that of the pop-up with sports memorabilia on the walls and antique rugs on the floor.
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