R13, a ready-to-wear brand founded in 2009 by designer Chris Leba officially opened its first retail space at 34 Howard Street earlier this month. Inspired while driving through Italy, touring denim manufacturers, Leba created R13 with the goal of presenting luxury basics that recalled the rebellious spirit of America’s history.
Leba draws upon his experiences in representing the classics of American fashion with unflinching honesty, the “Other America,” the always provocative underground of culture and art whose importance often goes unrecognized, but in time comes to define the zeitgeist of an era.
In its new space, R13 aspires to take customers on a journey and to create a memorable shopping experience through exposing customers to great customer service and an elevated experience all while celebrating their community that has grown R13 to where it is today.
“We wanted to create a progressive shopping experience for our customers, and we felt that Howard Street was the perfect location for that,” Leba told MR. “We wanted to create an experience for the shopper who is walking in from off the street. We chose Howard Street because it’s basically an art cul de sac which is very hard to find in NYC. We are located next to really cool stores such as Rick Owens and Opening Ceremony which makes the intersection of Howard and Crosby St extremely relevant and timeless.”
The store is all about endless contradictions, it’s an elevated space yet has a raw edge aligned with the brand’s DNA. Leba took a minimalist approach to his design work, incorporating exposed brick and concrete into the space. In addition, five modular racks are installed in the space with LED screens on the other side with flashing imagery.
“Self-expression is very important to R13 and we wanted to relay that message through our SoHo flagship store,” adds Leba. “It was extremely important for us to create a space where our customer can come and really be immerse in everything that we do. We believe our customers will enjoy the store’s interior design which includes LED screens, exposed brick and raw-edged interior. This Fall, the back wall of our store will be transformed into a giant glass window where our customers will be able to see our inner courtyard. It will be a breath of fresh air in a city surrounded by chaos.”