O.N.S. Clothing had originally hoped to open its new flagship in NoLIta last fall, but delays pushed that to the spring. Then, the coronavirus hit.
But the men’s lifestyle brand is finally ready to open its doors. The plan is to open the 2,700-square-foot store at 201 Mulberry Street on Aug. 14, by appointment only.
O.N.S., which stands for One Nice Shirt, was founded by Brian Chung, whose family is in the apparel manufacturing and textile development business in Hong Kong. He created the brand around six years ago out of a need for a wardrobe that felt comfortable and sophisticated at the same time.
Originally, it offered only shirts, but has since expanded into a full collection for men as well as home and lifestyle products such as lighting fixtures, water bottles, scented candles and even greeting cards.
For the past several years, O.N.S. had operated a store on Greene Street, but Chung felt the neighborhood in SoHo was changing and sought to move closer to what he sees as like-minded brands such as Noah and Kith. O.N.S.’s former space, which is located across the street from Yves Saint Laurent, will be taken over by Alexander McQueen, he said.
O.N.S.’ new space was created by the Hong Kong-based Collective, which also designed the Bauhaus Museum in Germany, the first Aesop store in Macau China and the Nike Vaporscape concept store/video campaign. To execute the space, Collective teamed with New York-based Tang Kawasaki which has worked on the Bushwick tower and other residential projects in Brooklyn and Manhattan.
The store, which was once a garage, uses plant-based asphalt for the floors and features a 100-foot-long movable wall covered with wool; 65 feet of custom stainless steel ramps and stairs to create a five-foot change in the level of the store; custom cast resin furniture; Italian tile for the fitting rooms and a custom fiberglass sculpture created by a New York yacht-building workshop.
In its former location in SoHo, O.N.S. had created a true community-oriented space where it hosted artist showcases, events and panels, a strategy it will continue in the new site.
Although O.N.S. does have a handful of wholesale accounts, the brand is primarily direct to consumer, a channel that Chung said has been growing since the pandemic. In addition to the Greene Street flagship, the brand has also operated a couple of pop-ups in SoHo and the Lower East Side, but Chung believes the time is right to set down permanent roots.
“SoHo wasn’t where I wanted to be and I’ve always liked being on a side street,” he said of the new location. “Williamsburg is too touristy and commercial and Bleecker Street is not there yet. But NoLIta has a lot of cafes and residential, too. So that’s where we want to excel.”
O.N.S. also operates three stores in Hong Kong and is hoping to open another store in New York City within the next two years. And although he’d one day like to expand to Los Angeles as well, he said opening a store there would only make sense when the brand expands its customer base in that community to the point where it can support a retail store. “We’re waiting until it’s the right time from a data standpoint,” he said.
Although Chung is hopeful the Mulberry Street store will perform well, he knows it’s not going to be easy opening a flagship in the midst of a pandemic. “We’re hoping for the best, but preparing for the worst,” he said.