Michael Burns’ new shop has no storefront. It sits on the penthouse floor of a nondescript Manhattan office building in a loftlike space with picturesque views of TriBeCa. It’s open 24 hours, but by appointment only, and has a tight brand roster that consists of six men’s wear brands including Stone Island, Barena Venezia, Herno, TS(S), Begg & Co. and President’s. Each of these lines are also a part of M5 Showroom, which Burns has operated for 15 years and is located on the same floor as the store. The shop is staffed with reps who spend a lot of their time selling these brands to retailers. “We know this merchandise,” said Burns. “It’s not someone just working at the store part-time.”
While many department stores are attempting to court younger men’s wear shoppers with Justin Bieber merchandise and popular streetwear brands, Burns is taking a different approach and targeting a 40- to 60-year-old man. “You lose a very important demographic when you try and cater to a young guy,” said Burns, who added that his team is made up of mostly twenty and thirtysomethings with an understanding of what’s classic and what’s cool. “We wanted to bridge the gap between the two age groups and create common ground where all aspects of style and taste can be appreciated.”
Burns believes the intimate experience and personalized service will draw in shoppers — New York Knicks player Brandon Jennings has made an appearance at the store. And because Burns is well aware of what risk-averse department store buyers are purchasing from his clients, he’s able to sell an assortment of items that aren’t already stocked in neighboring shops and offer exclusive pieces.
“There’s a need for this,” said Burns. “The personality has been sucked out of men’s wear and men don’t just want a place to buy things. They want a place to talk about brands and have an experience.”