Window Shopping: Brigade
A Cleveland boutique has raised the roof in Columbus. Literally.
Brigade anchored itself in its Short North home by installing freestanding wood rafters that hang over the apparel offerings, and dressing rooms in the back use reclaimed shed doors on sliding tracks as doors.
Guys will be glad to hear that the selection is just as manly as the store design. Half, if not more, of the merchandise is for men.
The original Brigade opened in the Cleveland Heights neighborhood in 2004, and this Columbus outpost launched about a month ago. When store owner Brian O'Neil considered expanding, he immediately thought of Columbus, local store manager Larry Robertson said.
"Columbus is close enough to Cleveland where we can keep in touch pretty easily and go back and forth, and then it's still far enough away that we feel like we're taking a step out," explained Robertson, who moved from Cleveland to handle operations.
From a distance, the clothes on sale at Brigade look like your basic button-up shirts, jeans, jackets and dressy tops.
"You have to take a closer look," Robertson said, pulling a jacket from Nice Collective off the rack as an example. "They're really detail-oriented pieces; the construction is different than what you'll see elsewhere. It's part of what makes it cool."
The black leather bomber jacket has four zippered pockets positioned at angles across the front and a combination knit scarf/hood/ski mask that's removable.
Other men's options have similarly quirky details: plaid, slim-fit button-up shirts with epaulettes and contrasting button thread; stiff, heavy black zip-up tops.
Denim, another of Brigade's focuses, is offered from APC Denim, Nudie, Nom de Guerre and Diesel, among others.
The lineup also includes a label Brigade considers in-house: Wrath Arcane is co-owned by Brigade's O'Neil. The line began with menswear and will expand to include women's choices this fall.
For now, the shop's offerings for women include things like black dresses with layers of chains dangling from the neckline, flannel button-ups and sweaters with off-center zippers.
Jeans from Acne, G Star and Diesel in dark washes and with embellished back pockets have been popular, Robertson said.
A smattering of accessories - like women's purses and necklaces and men's ties - dot the shelves under the roof frame. Once the store's been in full swing for a season, Robertson said, Brigade will begin ordering items especially tailored to Columbus.
607 N. High St., Short North
Noon-9 p.m. Monday through Saturday; noon-6 p.m. Sunday
For more store news and daily sale updates, click to the Window Shopping blog