Inter.view: Mike Townsend of Inven.tory

New York moves along at a fast pace. Staying in tune with the shifting forces of streetstyle and cutting edge design takes more than fluency it takes prescience, intelligence, and taste. It takes more than syncretism; you have to be what's happening.

The minds behind Inven.tory are
owners Mike Townsend, Whitney Singer, Jon Daou, and Erin Berkery. Last fall they launched a brand which hit the ground running, targeting the thirst for wholesale priced overstock. Imagine a perpetual sample sale. They opened their first store on Kenmare and Elizabeth, bringing together brands like Idol Radec, Corpus, and Acne. It worked and so they opened the doors of a second location on Lafayette in a massive space with simple laid back decor.

I spoke with co-owner Mike Townsend to discuss the neighborhood, Inven.tory, and his views on style.

Q: New York has been a fashion mecca for a long time but not many people
have heard of Nolita. It's a little neighborhood which has over the past decade developed into a unique pocket of New York culture. What originally attracted you to Nolita as a location for Inven.tory?

Mike Townsend: My gravitation to Nolita was based on the places my friends and I ate like Lovely Day (before the fire), Rubys, Bread and Cafe Gitane. The neighborhood also has a great feel to it with great restaurants and cool boutiques. It also helps when your business partners do real estate in the Nolita area.

Q. Did all the restaurants play a factor? There's a lot of excellent little restaurants in the area.

MT: I think my answer to the first question answers this! It definitely is a plus, the great restaurants, but wasn't really a factor in our decision to set up shop here.

Q. How did the idea for Inven.tory emerge? I think the wholesale direction
its a brilliant move for the area and the times, but what thread connects the labels that you've brought together?

MT: The idea of Inven.tory started after we had hosted a few sample sales at OpenHouse Gallery with Whitney Singer and Erin Berkery. We realized that young designers needed another outlet to sell overstock than sample sales. That's when we created the idea of a curated boutique with wholesale prices. As for choosing labels, we go after designers who we personally admire and wear, but also designers whose overstock is on trend. We also have future collaborations with some young designers.

Q. Was it scary expanding to another location so soon? I know little about running a business but I've heard expansion is supposed to be scary.

MT: No, it wasn't scary! We saw it all as a great opportunity. We have a very confident team- Whitney Singer, Jon Daou, and Erin Berkery.

Q. What's permanent in men's style?

MT: I think footwear is the most permanent in men's style. It is one of the way men can be fashion forward and have fun with their style.

Q. If you could resurrect one element of menswear that's gone the way of the dodo what would it be?

MT: At the moment, I feel that a lot of elements have been re-used and tweaked throughout the years whether it be from the 70's or the 90's. I don't think I have any one specific element because almost everything has been resurrected at some point. I really like how designers such as Robert Gellar and Rick Owens take the best of the past and incorporate them into new ideas for today's fashion.

Q. Trends you could live without? And by 'live without' I mean piss you off.

MT: I can't stand when people don't dress age appropriate.

Check out Inven.tory's stores found at 237 Lafayette St and 19 Kenmare or follow them online @ inventorynyc.com

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