Located in historic Over-the-Rhine is the type of highly curated men’s clothing store previously unheard of in Cincinnati — one that would normally find its niche in a high-end fashion hotspot like New York City. Owner Anthony Graziani says that Article, a lifestyle blog turned shop, is for the classic man who possesses a sense of refinement and adventure. The brand’s style is rugged yet chic, casual yet upscale and traditional with a classic edge. It has a certain outdoorsy appeal but is likewise undeniably urbane.
Graziani was inspired to take action when he noticed a gap in men’s fashion in Cincinnati. He felt that the retail here was subpar and that men were subjected to the small selection at the back of mall stores usually intended for women.
“Men’s fashion nationally has been going through a renaissance lately,” he says. “I didn’t really feel like that was being portrayed here. I thought there should be a store that would act as a source of empowerment and inspiration for men in the city.”
Joe Springelmeyer, a sales associate at Article, agrees that the brand is an attempt to empower men’s fashion once again. “There was a time and place where men felt good about what they were wearing and about going shopping,” he says. “We’re trying to make men not ashamed of looking good. Back then, it was nothing to wear a suit every day. Also, quality wasn’t an issue. It was top of the line. That’s what we’re trying to bring back.”
Article succeeds at this, providing genuine merchandise, often locally made. The number one selling product, Noble Denim jeans, made with selvedge denim, are designed in Cincinnati and handcrafted from 100-percent handmade American components.
“We want to have high-quality, ethical manufacturing and support makers and craftsmen that we believe in,” Graziani says. “A lot of them are here at home.”
It is hard to believe that the storefront has only been up and running for a few months with its impeccable display of diverse products: scarves by The Hill-Side (Brooklyn-based designers of handmade ties, scarves and handkerchiefs), wallets from leather and canvas design company Billy Kirk, outerwear from the socially conscious Apolis. The store is pet-friendly and sells merchandise such as Tanner Goods pet bowls and dog collars. It even sells beverages — locally made Deeper Roots coffee in two blends especially made for Article, and Juniper Ridge tea.
Article began as a curated lifestyle blog on the website articlemenswear.com. The journal contains posts on local brands, such as the ones featured in the online store and storefront, as well as local people and trends. For instance, Graziani profiled Aaron Strasser, “bartender-in-chief at A Tavola, part-time model and all-around great guy,” and included the “Genuine Article” drink recipe Strasser makes, which contains smoked bourbon and rosemary.
“Our long-term goal would be to launch a quarterly journal similar to the information you’d find on our blog — artistic, creative journal articles with editorial shorts, photography, biography, stuff like that,” Graziani says. “As we’ve become a store, it’s become more focused on the products we’re carrying. In 2014, we want to get back to lifestyle-oriented posts.”
“The blog helped us get our focus before launching a physical presence,” he continues. “We had such a good response that we felt confident moving forward with an actual storefront.”
Much like the blog, Graziani wants Article’s storefront to be an experience. “We want to create a sense of community around the store that’s infectious [from which] everyone can gather a source of information and leave these doors feeling like a better man,” he says. “That will help us craft our lifestyle and culture as opposed to just being a place to buy a shirt.”
Article offers shoppers a space in which they can truly feel at home. Guests can relax with a periodical and complimentary beverage — there is occasionally even beer on tap.
“We are very friendly to everybody,” says Springelmeyer, whose job is to provide patrons with a comfortable environment. “The vibe that we create is very original and homey, where everybody feels togetherness in the neighborhood. We’re on a first-name basis with a lot of guys who come into the store. It’s a sign of what kind of people we are.”
Article’s welcoming environment has contributed to its success. “The reception has been huge,” Graziani says. “We’ve had nothing but really positive feedback and we’re really grateful for that. Cincinnati is an incredible market. The citizens really like to rally around the local businesses. We couldn’t have expected such a great turnout.”
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