Despite constant bellyaching about suburban chain stores overtaking New York, there are scores of independent boutiques throughout the city that keep it ahead of the style curve. Here are our favorite five.
1 Aloha Rag
Honolulu isn't the first place that comes to mind when the subject of avant-garde fashion comes up in conversation, but this Hawaiian import's reliance on Ann Demuelemeester, Commes des Garçons and Philip Lim to fill its stark West Village space offers a compelling argument for why it should.
Barneys and Steven Alan alumnus Jennifer Mankins is at the vanguard of funky-chic Brooklyn fashion with the three Kings County outposts (in Williamsburg, Park Slope and Cobble Hill) of this beloved boutique. A.P.C., Jackson, Johnston & Roe and charmingly outlandish prints from a spate of other designers define Bird's idiosyncratic style.
3 Castor & Pollux
4 In God We Trust
The store du jour of the downtown and North Brooklyn demimonde. The Williamsburg location is spacious and bright, which is good news for the bleeding edge designers whose goods end up on the industrial racks. Acne, Rick Owens and Alexander Wang lead the charge, while Oak’s own line also acquits itself nicely. The Noho location is a bit more cramped, but will appeal to Brooklyn-phobes.