by Karen Alberg Grossman
The Dreamers: Ali Khatami, Eliot Rabin, and Aaron Shade

Combine two of the most creative minds in the menswear business, add a smart millennial perspective, and let the chemistry ignite!

Retailer Eliot Rabin, wholesale rep Ali Khatami (Nigel’s, Hettabretz) and his associate Aaron Shade have joined forces to create a unique wholesale agency located at 81st and Madison in NYC. The collaboration is part agency for select luxury brands from Europe and part think tank to help independent retailers create excitement in their stores. Khatami describes their Upper East Side showroom as “a whimsical place filled with well curated and tasty collections, a showplace with soul.”

He continues, “I’ve known Eliot since my 20s and I’ve grown to love and respect him. After more than 40 years as an independent retailer on the Upper East Side, he is synonymous with the neighborhood and with elegant but never boring menswear. His passion for the business is off the charts.”

Rabin speaks highly of Khatami’s similar passion and taste level, his tremendous success building Nigel’s (a colorful heritage collection he’s been selling at Peter Elliot for years) and his reinvention of the outerwear business as an integral component of today’s modern wardrobe.

Khatami elaborates, “Our curated assortment of distinctive product from exclusive brands (Nigel’s, Hettabretz, a fabulous Portofino resort collection, and one or two others) is geared to better specialty stores, which we feel are still valid and becoming more so. But the business is going through changes. It’s no longer about tailored clothing vs. sportswear; it’s now sportswear with a touch of tailoring. I believe this presents a great opportunity for smaller, more nimble merchants as well as for established specialty stores. The pendulum is swinging back to the independents, as it always does.”

A bit more on Nigel’s: This American heritage brand was created in the mid-1980s by Philadelphia tailored clothing company Pincus Brothers-Maxwell (from whom Khatami purchased the business, with legal guidance from Andy Mallor). The collection is famous for its soft unconstructed tailoring, fine fabrics, and relaxed fit, an aesthetic that was clearly ahead of its time. Khatami has recently opened a brand store in Hastings-on-Hudson N.Y. that Nigels’ retail accounts visit for presentation inspiration. He’s also added a collection of fine polos with net proceeds going to a children’s hospital in Valhalla NY where his son Pasha was successfully treated after a serious accident. (Editor’s note: Pasha is now doing great, Nigel’s is selling lots of polos and Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital is getting some well-deserved funding!)

For more information on Dreamers LLC: Ali Khatami, 215-301-3588 or khata26@aol.com.


  1. Peter Elliot is one of the last of the great merchants/designer in the ilk of Wilkes Bashford, and Stanley Marcus. Stanley’s Marcus was Eliot’s first client when he began his design career at Bratten apparel…can’t wait to see what they have come up with. Joshua LTD

    1. Thank you Karen from both of us.
      Reply to comment : You are right Elliot rabin is in the top handful with more creativity his tireless energy and all that is Peter Elliot . Amazing man a true merchant .

  2. The prior comments made are on-point in regards to Elliot Rabin aka Ya Mon!. Yes, one of the last few iconic merchants. His passion is definitely there. Always willing to roll the dice on a concept or collection. Man of whimsical taste. I’ve had the great opportunity of both working for him and selling my collection to his stores. There is one quote he told me that still holds true.
    ” T., you can’t teach this, it has to be in your heart.” Retail menswear you have to be passionate.

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