Only five years after opening their flagship Williamsburg boutique, and on the heels of a Park Slope outpost, Oak co-owners Louis Terline and Jeff Madalena are making that famed East River crossing: The duo has landed sleek new digs in downtown fashion mecca NoLita, and will be opening their third store next Monday, February 4.
"It happened rather quickly," said Terline, when asked how long the latest store had been in the works. "This was really the only neighborhood we wanted to be in, so when the space became available, we jumped on it." Tucked away on a narrow corridor between Lafayette and the Bowery, Oak's newest space—its location, as well as its merchandise—is emblematic of the owners' continuing interest in thriving on the fringes. "We tend to buy clothes that are a little bit different, a bit borderline...art-inspired, or formally unusual, but always wearable." Likewise, the store's interior—sparsely furnished and punctuated with a sculptural central fixture—blurs the boundaries between gallery and retail space.
Oak's NoLita location will carry most of the labels currently available at the Williamsburg store (Ksubi, Alice Ritter, Jeremy Scott, and the like), so Manhattanites seeking retail therapy no longer have to brave the trek out to North 8th Street. And Brooklynites suffering from outer-borough abandonment needn't fear: Terline assures us that he and Madalena live in Brooklyn, have their offices in Brooklyn, and intend to stay there. "In fact," he says, "we're really hoping that the Williamsburg store will become an incubator for our more adventurous schemes, the place where we'll take bigger risks and figure out what works."
The indie retail renegade branches out in NoLIta.