above: a shot of the interior of Seven
all photos courtesy of the Seven website
If you follow progressive fashion, then you’re probably already a fan of Seven New York. The boutique has had a cult-like following for about ten years, from its humble debut in the Lower East Side to its new location in Soho, a sleek, gallery-like showcase for cutting edge womenswear and menswear. Dedicated followers of fashion love Seven and often confess to spending more money there than they would like—this writer included (my weakness: Nicholas Kirkwood shoes). I interviewed buyer/partner, Joseph Quartana, whose sharp instinct for dissecting collections and selecting unique, must-have items, has managed to keep the boutique’s inventory fresh and highly coveted season after season.
Starting from the very beginning: how and when did you open Seven? Who were the original founders?
After college I wanted to apply my newly formed business skills to a creative field, whether music (my other passion), art, film, fashion, whatever. I hated my job on Wall Street, my initial two creative partners Steve Sang and John Demas hated their entry level architecture jobs, and our first backer/business consultant, Calvin Yee wanted to get involved in an interesting side project.
I was particularly inspired to try the business end of fashion by my wife (at the time, my girlfriend), who was working in the industry as a designer, and a few friends causing a rattle in the business (Gabi from threeASFOUR was one when he first started his line in the late '90s). While I was at NYU, I was more interested in the company of Parsons fashion students, and we tore up New York nightlife together, which in the early/mid '90s was a lot more crazy and intense than it is now. Being exposed to that type of creative abandon definitely inspired me, as well as certain designers I admired at the time: Gaultier, Mugler, Gigli, Helmut Lang, etc.
None of us really had any experience in fashion or retail and we really threw caution to the wind starting Seven, but I knew that if I wanted to wear 'runway' pieces then others would too.
What designers do you carry at Seven?
A complete list is available on the store’s website (http://www.sevennewyork.com/), but some names include: Bernhard Willhelm, Bruno Pieters, B Store, Common Projects, Cosmic Wonder, David David, Gareth Pugh, Haider Ackermann, Hood by Air, Horace, House of Holland, Jean-Pierre Braganza, Linda Farrow, Material Boy, Pleasure Principle, Preen, Raf Simons, Six Scents and threeASFOUR.
Who are you particularly excited about this season?
Rad Hourani, Nicholas Kirkwood and Horace.
above: another shot of the interior and the entrance
above: a look from Horace for Spring/Summer '09
above: a Spring/Summer '09 shoe from Nicholas Kirkwood
Are there any emerging designers that you recently started carrying that you want to tell us about?
Rad Hourani from Montreal, who shows here in NYC. He does a really mean, new, transformable minimalism that focuses on silhouette and texture. Gorgeous. Horace from London, a newcomer for us, does leathers that are right on the spot (and at good prices) along with stone washed, viscose jersey printed tuxedo tees that everyone seems to love. We're enjoying an incredible sell through with these guys right now.
Are you the sole buyer for the store?
I am, but I share images from showroom appointments with my sales team as well as my assistant and our art director, to get more of a consensus on what to finally write. I figure that there is no such thing as too much information in that regard.
Where do you usually do your buying?
London, New York, Paris, Copenhagen and Stockholm (as of late).
Are there any big trends you see for spring/summer?
Power shoulders, the death of denim and a return to dress pants (for men and women), darker, more muted tones, emphasis on silhouette and texture, body consciousness (though we've been doing this for a bit), and legs as the new cleavage.
You carry distinctive clothing that seems to appeal to a certain demographic…
Well, they all tend to be very informed about fashion, creative professionals from all sorts of industries including obviously fashion, music, film, fine art, graphics, and all have a decent disposable income (or inheritance) to toss around. Even split of male/female, gay/straight, and very multi-racial and international. We don't appeal to the typical WASPy American...
Are there any future projects for the shop that we should know about? Any plans to expand into other cities?
Right now we're focusing on making the website as good and groundbreaking an e-commerce site as it can be; it’s really our second shop. Although I am not opposed to opening an LA branch, or even one in London or Paris, expansion to other cities is not a priority. Besides that, I spend my extra time with the Six Scents Perfume Project, and am currently focusing on developing Series Two (http://www.six-scents.com/).
Seven New York
110 Mercer Street
New York, NY 10012
Have you had a chance to experience Seven for yourself? If so, please tell us about it! Confidential to shoe-lovers: five new Spring/Summer styles for Nicholas Kirkwood are available in the boutique now. Call or email Seven for more information!