INSIDE JASON SCOTT’S NEW NYC FLAGSHIP STORE

Jason Scott
by Brian Lipton

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To say the crystal-clear windows at 48 Eighth Avenue in New York City give a true glimpse into the world of Jason Scott is not an exaggeration. All aspects of the three-year-old luxury basics brand can be found behind them at Scott’s new (and first) flagship store, including the entire collection (which, for spring, includes T-shirts, henleys, cardigans, sweatshirts, pants, and shorts), plus the company’s offices and showroom. In addition, the shop’s custom-made wooden and metal shelving units also hold a small section of Frame Denim and Garrett Leight sunglasses.

Scott’s line is currently sold at a variety of specialty retailers ranging from Saks Fifth Avenue to Ron Herman and Tenet in Southampton, NY, as well as online; but there’s no substitute for a retail home. And while the line’s designer and founder, Jason Mandler, is a Chicago native and former Angeleno, he had no doubt that New York City, and especially the West Village, was where he wanted to set up shop. “I think this area is an extension of how I see the brand; it has a real neighborhood feel and a lot of cool history. I find it inspiring both personally and professionally,” he says.

In its first two weeks of “soft launching,” the store has already attracted fans of the brand as well as passers-by, all of whom are tempted by the line’s minimalist yet well-thought-out design. Scott’s clothing is marked by smart details, ranging from antique nickel buttons to hand-dipped dyes, and the luxurious cotton and blended fabrics (all from Peru) have a wonderful hand feel.

“The reason I started Jason Scott, even though I didn’t have any fashion background, was that I could never find exactly what I wanted in a piece of clothing,” says Mandler, whose prior careers included five years training to be an agent at William Morris and being an assistant manager of a restaurant in L.A. “And now, there is nothing here I make that I don’t personally try on and even give to fiends to kick it around. This is really all about my aesthetic. And while comfort is still very important, to me, fit is the most important thing.”

Mandler says most of his customers are in their late twenties or thirties, although he’s had men in his 70s purchase items from the shop. (Prices start at $65 and rise to just under $200 for the current collection). The fall collection will focus on more layering pieces, including a bomber jacket with Italian leather sleeves and knits using alpaca and cashmere, and he expects to add some lighter weight garments to the store’s lineup in May and July. “You have to newness throughout the year once you have a store,” he notes. “But everything will stay true to the brand; I would never do anything just for the sake of trendiness.”

Moreover, Mandler is already planning on ways to make the store more than just a place to buy his clothing, from carrying issues of magazines such as Kinfolk and Man of the World to hosting whiskey tastings. “I want the boutique itself to become a destination,” he says.