OWEN NYC: Interview with Phillip Salem
Written by: Geo Hagan Photography courtesy of: OWEN

Menswear should be many things, but it should never be boring. That’s why we have a specific liking for the assortment of men’s clothing carried at OWEN in NYC’s meatpacking district. The store carries both men’s and women’s clothing, and the merchandise mix is skillfully curated by its progressive, forward-looking owner, Phillip Salem. With regards to men’s brands offered, expect to see names like 3.1 Phillip Lim, BLK Denim, Pyer Moss, Alexander Wang, Raf Simons, Band of Outsiders, Tim Coppens and more. The multi-talented Salem even personally shoots extremely stylized editorials to display OWEN’s unique style angle. 

The store, located on 809 Washington street, is quite a sight to see. It’s designed by architect Jeremy Barbour of TACKLEBOX Architecture (who’s also responsible for the 3.1 Phillip Lim store, Aesop NYC store). We reached out to the visionary behind OWEN, Phillip Salem to discuss the store’s overall concept and his plans going forward. Read on …

“The OWEN man is an artistic, traveled man …”

What is the overall style aesthetic with regards to how you merchandise the Men’s shop at OWEN?

The overall men’s aesthetic is designer sportswear that has a street vibe to it.  The OWEN man has a very directional sense to his wardrobe and his lifestyle is very active.  He travels often and is in the creative industry, so pieces that make a statement, but also very wearable and comfortable is the vibe here at OWEN.  My best selling men’s designers are everything from established designers like 3.1 Phillip Lim and Acne Studios to some more new comers like British designer Lou Dalton and an amazing New York designer, Pyer Moss.  

What was your background in fashion before decided to open OWEN? 

I have been in the industry since I was 16-years-old.  I remember going to the mall with my mom at 15 1/2 and applying to all the typical mall stores, like The Gap, A&F just because I wanted to get myself immersed in the industry.  On my 16th birthday, American Eagle called me and I thought it was the best day of my life.  Haha, it was a great learning experience  starting at American Eagle, moving to NYC working at Barneys while working at The Fashion Institute of Technology and eventually opening OWEN post-graduation.

What do you see as some of the most directional and wearable trends for Fall 2014? 

The most directional yet wearable trends for FW14 at OWEN are metallic for men, novelty jackets with embroidery, collarless shirts, and sweatpants that look like dress pants. (My new wedding, go-to pant, as I dance so much and am so sick of dress pants!)

What brands/specific items are you really excited to carry for the coming F/W season?

I am so excited to introduce Tim Coppens to OWEN.  His designs truly exemplify the essence of the OWEN guy.  Very luxe, very wearable and the details are impeccable, without being over-designed.  It’s a step up from your everyday clothes and it’s an extremely gorgeous AW14 collection 

Who is the OWEN Man? What’s his lifestyle and what keeps him coming back to your store?

The OWEN man is an artistic, traveled man.  He keeps coming back to OWEN because he likes discovery.  He is able to find new brands, while being loyal to his favorites.  I do like to push the boundary and not be so “safe” with my buys. I cater to an overall cool guy that doesn’t wear a button up shirt and “slacks” (hate that word) to work.  

(Phillip Lim looks from OWEN Editorial below)

Is there a current trend or look in menswear that you want to see disappear immediately? 

Kilts for boys, unless I am at an Irish wedding, then it’s chic.

For style-savvy men who haven’t yet visited OWEN (or the online shop), can you give them a reason or two to stop by? 

For starters, coming into the store is like an experience. We always have beer on hand and great music playing. The service we always say is that “everyone is treated like Beyoncé” but for the boys, we say everyone is treated like “Jay.”  I really offer the highest level service while providing the best edit from the best designers. 

Lastly what exciting projects can we expect from OWEN in the near future?

Eventually another store in NYC with a third store in either LA or Miami! I want to move away for 6 months to open my next store to regenerate my brain somewhere that is warm 365 days a year. 

Be sure to shop OWEN online at:

See a similar feature here. 

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