Uptown 17th's newest addition is more than just a clothing store. Way more.
Photos hang from the ceiling. A magical cloud staircase leads you down to a lounge with leather couches and windows that allow the natural light to pour in. Without actually seeing it, LESS17 sounds like anything but a clothing store based on this description, but it’s exactly that, plus a little more.
As the newest addition to Calgary’s Uptown 17th Avenue, known for it’s high end dining and fashion, LESS17 – pronounced Less One Seven – strives to showcase the latest trends and styles in men’s fashion while giving it’s shoppers a place to hang out, talk and enjoy the various art pieces and music the store has to offer.
When asked about the inspiration for the store’s unique concept, store manager Zev Klymochko told Notice that the store’s flavour was borrowed from around the world.
“There’s been some influence from the New York and Los Angeles Skateboard shops,” Klymochko said. “We took that model and gave it our own spin. We search clothing blogs and check out clothes when we travel and bring that back with us.”
In addition to his fashion knowledge and business savvy, Klymochko brings with him over 15 years of retail and menswear experience.
“One of my clients is the Source, who actually own LESS17,” Klymochko explains. “After working with them, I learned how their warehouse and buying systems worked, as well as what brands they carried there.”
When asked about how LESS17 is set apart, Klymochko said that he wanted to create an environment where higher-end brands could thrive.
“A lot of the people involved with the Source got a little bit older and have different tastes,” Klymochko says. “They’re not wearing their run of the mill DC shirts or Volcom jeans. A few newer brands like Nudie and Cheap Monday were brought in to appeal to the fashion side of the crowd who had a little bit more disposable income.”
“The opportunity arose to have these brands showcased in a location that would really let them stand on their own. That eventually snowballed into us bringing in other brands that are exclusive to us in Alberta, like Palace and Vans Syndicate.”
Klymochko went on to say that while he still want to keep the skateboarding essence alive and well in LESS17, he is also focused on keeping the store classy.
“We don’t cater to any specific audience,” Klymochko says. “Whether they skateboard or not, we want to attract and cater to people who want to look good and want cool stuff from really unique brands. We want to carry the vibe of a skateboarding store while keeping it high class.”
In addition to the high end brands the store has to offer, the open concept that LESS17 shows off is something to marvel at. Instead of giant signs and aisles that most traditional clothing stores carry, clothes are hung on the wall and folded onto white tables lit by candle, as well as a lounge area and an art gallery all in the store’s basement.
“From the collections that we have here to the space that we’ve established, we really think that we have set up a unique atmosphere here,” Klymochko says. “Some customers will come downstairs and have a mini heart attack because they weren’t expecting what we have here. The lounge that we have in the store lets people come in and hang out while looking at clothes. We also have the biggest change rooms you’ll probably see in your life.”
Klymochko goes on to say that the store has received high praise and ample success since their opening in mid-July.
“The support we’ve gotten from the neighborhood so far has really helped us get started. Local blogs and magazines have reached out to us and other businesses have given us free stuff and shown some love on social media. Word of mouth from our customers has also been huge.”
The store has turned heads within the downtown square, most notably one of the city’s largest and most popular bars.
“The people over at Commonwealth Bar & Stage have also reached out to us and we’re planning to do some collaborations with them. We also plan on having art openings on a regular basis, along with other events. Basically, just doing some cool shit.”
Despite the store still gaining traction, Klymochko says that he has bigger and better visions planned ahead.
“In the future, we hope to establish our brand mix and have a larger roster of brands featured in our store. Right now, we’re just figuring out here the hits and misses are and just building on that. We also hope to bring some in-house brand ambassadors to display and showcase what we carry in-store.” LESS17 also has an online store that will be launching in September that will be shipping worldwide.
Despite the store’s success early on, Klymochko says that he intends to keep LESS17 as local and unique as possible.
“I see our store as the anti-mall in the sense that we wouldn’t be allowed” says Klymochko. “Some aspects of our store’s atmosphere, such as exposed concrete, would fit in a mall. Our main focus is staying proudly independent and blow this location through the roof.”
While their grand opening isn’t until Sept. 10, LESS17 still open to the public Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Thursday and Friday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Sunday from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. Also, be sure to check out LESS17 on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and online at www.lessoneseven.com.