by Stephen Garner

totokaelo5New York City’s SoHo neighborhood just received an injection of style, just in time for the start of New York Fashion Week and the added influx of fashion insiders to Manhattan.

Saturday, September 12 saw the much anticipated brick-and-mortar opening of Seattle-based contemporary store Totokaelo. The store has gained a large following within the fashion community for its fantastic customer service and contemporary merchandise mix. It also runs a successful e-commerce site.

SoHo is already known for its contemporary brands and stores and Totokaelo’s presence enhances the neighborhood’s reputation as a premier shopping destination. The five-story shop, located at 54 Crosby Street, features unique merchandising, an outdoor patio on the fifth floor and a dramatic skylight that fills the store with tons of natural light. According to a salesperson, the impressive space was completed in a mere 70 days.

Menswear takes up about 20 percent of all of the merchandise offered. In the men’s section, located in the basement, shoppers can find sought after brands such as Acne Studios, Jil Sander, Rick Owens, Marni and Ann Demeulemeester. There is also a strong sneaker selection, with brands such as Common Projects and Adidas’ collaboration with Raf Simons.

Founder and CEO, Jill Wenger, opened Totokaelo in 2003 with the mission of encouraging her customers to dress outside of the box. In 2008, Wenger added menswear to her already established modern aesthetic to her store, which led to the 2013 launch of her menswear site She is now focusing her creative energy into the retailer’s New York store and presence, while still maintaining the importance of the Seattle location.