Atelier & Repairs is taking a stand in New York City.
For the next few weeks, the brand that made a name for itself by combining its one-of-kind upcycled vintage apparel with its services as a high-end denim repair shop, will operate a trendy pop-up location at 180 the Store in Tribeca—its first major foray into New York after spending years in Los Angeles.
Rivet met with Maurizio Donadi, the co-founder and creative director of Atelier & Repairs, at a coffee shop in downtown New York one day after the brand opened for business in the city. His dress was understated and he spoke passionately about his favorite topics: sneakers, military clothing and culture and, of course, denim.
Donadi was in town to celebrate and advertise the opening of the pop-up, which can best be described as part art gallery and part high-end boutique, and represents the very first time the vintage designs and distinctive tapestries have been showcased by the Los-Angeles-native brand for a New York audience.
When asked why the foray into Manhattan, Maurizio’s answer was simple: “We’re looking for what everyone else is: visibility.”
On the streets of New York, Donadi said, there is much greater opportunity to catch the eye of the passing shopper with window dressing and appealing art. According to Donadi, that’s the purpose of the large, patchwork tapestries that hang over the racks of military-themed denim and apparel that line the walls of 180 the Store’s interior. Donadi and Atelier & Repairs relish the opportunity to bring the operation to the East Coast and elsewhere for this very reason. It’s a chance to see how the products perform in new environments.
“The culture of L.A. is just different,” Donadi explained.
“When people walk into a shop, they usually make a purchase,” a brand spokesperson added, citing the differences in transportation realities between the two cities as the defining factor. Driving all the way across town to not buy anything doesn’t seem to appeal to Angelenos, she says.
The reality is a little different in New York and the brand has experimented with several approaches in order to spread the word that they are in the city and ready for business. The first was the decision to enter into the market with a pop-up in one of the trendier parts of the city.
The next step was to host an opening-day gala in January at 180 the Store to show off the Atelier & Repair’s collection and give fans an excuse to meet the man behind it. Donadi even encouraged attendees to bring their own beat-up denim for repair.
A representative from 180 the Store told Rivet that mutual interest between the brand and the store developed when Donadi and his team fell for the floral decor of 180 the Store. This led to Donadi bringing his own antique gardening tools to complement the large, leafy centerpiece in the shop’s foyer.
“They are kind of famous,” the representative added regarding Atelier & Repairs. “We have customers who already know them coming to us pick up a jacket or pair of pants. It’s all one of kind.”
The brand rep’s said female customers have particularly enjoyed the silk scarves in the collection and among the hottest selling items were the antique Hawaiian shirts and vinyl jackets. But, for the most part, customers have been coming in to buy Atelier & Repairs denim and military bottoms—the brand’s calling cards.
Atelier & Repairs have no immediate plans to make New York City a permanent home but Donadi suggested it would be in the brand’s best interests once the high rent and competitive environment of the city didn’t pose such a risk to the bottom line. He said that, for the time being, the brand will continue to operate in other markets in much the same way, spreading its influence without taking on too much overhead.
But Donadi was clear that no one should take that to mean that the brand has no ambition to expand. When asked which other cities Atelier & Repairs could consider landing in, Donadi’s reply was: “All of them.”