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Too Cool for School Opens SoHo Flagship

The South Korean beauty brand will sell 11 of its 12 product lines in its first U.S. store.

Too Cool for School certainly isn’t too cool for SoHo.

The brand, officially based in New York but formulated in South Korea, is opening its first U.S. flagship on Lafayette Street in Manhattan at 2 p.m. Friday. It will sell 11 of its different lines, including Dinoplatz and Egg, which are also sold at Sephora. Glam Rock, Za, Art Class, McGirly, Plaid, Special Care and others are also for sale in the location, which is organized by brand with testers to allow shoppers to play. Products range from around $8 to $49.

The brand is taking over the SoHo space previously occupied by artist Keith Haring. “We found out this store used to be Keith Haring’s and actually we found this piece…it was on the supporting pole. We were talking to the landlord of the building and he confirmed this was actually Keith Haring’s and we’re waiting for the…foundation to verify,” said Michelle Kim, who handles U.S. public relations and marketing at Too Cool for School.

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And while the Haring tie-in works well with Too Cool for School’s technique of having artists collaborate for its packaging (painter and architect Hatori Sando did the Dinoplatz packaging, for example) — it’s mere coincidence that the two parties have shared the same New York space, according to Kim. SoHo’s ability to attract venturesome customers who seek new and innovative products, she said, is what made the company choose the location. “The brand is very well-known for breaking the rules,” Kim added.

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A shot inside Too Cool For School's SoHo flagship.
A shot inside Too Cool for School’s SoHo flagship.

The brand has 39 stores in South Korea, and more locations in China, Japan, Malaysia. Too Cool for School is also sold in Europe, where it was in Colette and is now in Galeries Lafayette with plans to expand into 40 doors. It also has plans to expand in Sephora doors in Europe, first in Spain and later in the rest of Europe, Kim said.

Though the brand name evokes a generalized too-cool mentality, the brand says that’s not actually what it’s about — that school refers to fish — and that its customers are the fish that stick out from the other fish in their crews. “It’s not like too cool for school literally,” Kim said. “School means fish, so within fish you are actually a unique individual who stands out from the rest of the crowd, so you are cool. You’re always like, something new.”