American Rag Cie, Founder and CEO
Mark Werts
American Rag Cie, Founder and CEO


L.A.-based retailer Mark Werts continues to show how denim retail is done right with his store American Rag.

Deep Dive

American Rag Cie may sell a slew of different products, from chic dog beds to cheeky ashtrays, but ultimately, the store is a mecca for true denim believers.

Mark Werts is the guy behind what he calls “the best denim store on earth bar none.” But the shop founder didn’t start out with the aim of claiming that title. An avid traveler and skilled linguist, Werts began collecting cool things from far-flung locales. “American Rag was influenced by many cultures and when I traveled to do the buying for this I noticed what worked and what doesn’t work. Fashion was an accident, as many things are,” he told Entrepreneur magazine.

It’s been a very happy accident, indeed. Just ask Werts’ customers, especially those like the denimheads who snapped up the $895 Fear of God jeans just moments after they hit the store floor.

Werts is proud to proclaim his locations feature 1,200 jeans styles from 120 denim brands at the denim bar, which runs the length of the store.

As you might imagine, shopping American Rag isn’t a run-of-the-mill experience and Werts works hard to keep it that way. The stores showcase an ever-changing array of goods including footwear, watches, luggage, jewelry and more. “Special is extremely important. If you don’t do things special, you’re not going to stay in business,” he said. “I always had the idea that retail is entertainment, that retail is an experience.”

One such experience starts with a rather unique encounter in the dressing room where shoppers are treated to a 360-degree view of their derrieres.

“So you don’t have to come into a dressing room and twist and turn around, you can just stand in front of the ass cam and you can see immediately your ass and you know whether your ass is sexy in the jeans or not,” he said.