In 1830 John Rich opened his first woolen mill in Plum Run, Pennsylvania. Rich, an English immigrant, visited the surrounding lumber camps to sell the goods he produced — woolen fabric, socks, coverlets and yarn — from a mule cart. Rich’s little operation would go on for nearly two centuries, and today the business remains in Rich’s family, eight generations after he started it. The company, which eventually became Woolrich John Rich & Bros. and is still known for its comfy flannels, warm coats and cozy blankets, recently opened its first U.S. flagship, located on 125 Wooster Street in New York’s Soho neighborhood. The two-level retail outlet will carry both men’s and women’s clothing from its contemporary line, as well as its high-end label, Woolrich Woolen Mills, which is designed by Mark McNairy. The Woolrich flagship will also have programming designed by Stefania Pia — a DJ, artist, writer and designer who is in charge of its art direction, events and special marketing projects. We recently chatted with Pia to get the inside scoop on the store and to learn about what she has planned.
What do you do as the store’s art director?
Since this is the first store for Woolrich John Rich & Bros in America, my main focus will be work on presenting our world in the most authentic way.
What kind of programming can we expect to see?
We have a series of activities coming up that will take us to next year’s New York Fashion Week. You must follow us on social media @woolrichsoho for upcoming news.
Did you learn anything interesting about the brand?
Every day I learn something new about the brand it fascinated me so much the heritage of the brand and the mix of tradition and history .— if you only think that Woolrich was the first company to use a zipper in men’s trousers — and Its still an 8th generation family business.
How would you describe the Woolrich man?
A gorgeous man that is integrated with nature, a modern man who loves beauty.
What kind of environment are you trying to create?
I would like to create a very interactive environment with a special eye on what is interesting and could communicate the image of the brand . New York is an incredible city full of stimulation and we would love to stay connected with it and share it with everybody who loves Woolrich.