Fortune favors the brave, as Brett Carron, owner of Charleston, South Carolina’s red hot menswear store Indigo & Cotton, would have it. Since opening the 600-sq.-foot store in April 2010, two blocks off Charleston’s famed King Street, Indigo & Cotton has become undeniably one of the country’s top menswear stores, carrying the best names in menswear, including Apolis, Doug Johnston, Engineered Garments, Gitman Bros. Vintage, Jungmaven, M. Nii, S.N.S Herning, The Hill-Side and Velva Sheen. It’s so good, in fact, that the two most popular destinations it ships to are the fashion meccas of New York City and California.
And to think Carron wasn’t even a retail expert when he opened the store. According to Carron, a former Midwesterner-turned-New Yorker who worked in framing, it was a job offer his wife accepted that drew the two of them to Charleston. When Carron started missing the kind of shops he frequented in Manhattan and realized there weren’t that many options for menswear, he jumped at the opportunity, taking over and giving what used to be a former office a complete makeover with a few historical gems thrown in for added flavor, including an antique filing cabinet behind the cash register, now used to organize Warby Parker eyepieces from A-Z, and a former yet still operational safe on which hand-finished belts are currently displayed.
Today Indigo & Cotton’s product offerings extend to swim, home and even magazines, but the main focus rests on apparel and updating the local vernacular of traditional blue blazers, Brooks Brothers’ button-downs, khakis and boat shoes. In place of traditional button-downs, guys might now consider one of the store’s more pattern-based, Japanese fabric shirts. On the denim side, there’s Raleigh, arguably now the hottest American-made label. And for the more adventurous, there’s Engineered Garments with its tie-dyed popover shirts.
“Some people look at it sideways. Some people embrace it,” says Carron, who refreshes his assortment typically with just two to three brands each season. This fall, for instance, Indigo & Cotton will carry for the first time Private White V.C., Imogene & Willie and J.W. Brine. It’s a discerning buy, no doubt, but as Carron explains, “That’s sort of our mantra: understated, timeless, well-made pieces that get to work with everything else in your closet.”
That said, Indigo & Cotton seemed destined to flourish right from the start. Long before the e-shop, there was the blog Carron himself updated. That blog led to one-off orders from Canada to the UK and Japan and eventually the launch of the existing e-shop. A hands-on type of guy, Carron continues to shoot and write himself for the website and is now even mulling over the idea of womenswear after numerous requests. “I don’t think it’s too crazy of an idea,” he explains, “but I feel like things are good now.”
79 Cannon Street, Charleston, SC. (843) 718-2980. www.indigoandcotton.com