The Hoodie Shop, in downtown Manhattan, sells...you guessed it, hoodies! But not your run-of-the-mill college hoodies, rather a range of chic hooded apparel for both men and women. The store has a psychadelic 70s vibe, funky seating, and an overall party atmosphere, which is why it is more than just a store - it's a place to hang out. Aleah Speranza, owner of The Hoodie Shop, recently collaborated with NYC-based designer Alexander Campaz. We chat with the successful businesswoman about the shop, her recent collaboration, and future projects.
How did you come up with the concept for The Hoodie Shop?
Aside from my personal love for hoodies, I really couldn't believe that there was no shop specifically devoted to this item of clothing that you find in just about everyone's closet. People love hoodies. There are denim shops, hat shops, shoe shops, so, why no hoodie shop? I always had a big collection of hoodies, but they came from the most random stores and brands. Some were expensive, some cheap, some I had for ten years. The Hoodie Shop is my dream closet and my dream store, I figured if this was a place I'd love to shop, others would, as well. Why not find all the best of the best hoodies and put them in one place? To me, hoodies are the perfect balance of fashion/style and function. You wear a hoodie not just because of the way it looks but because of the way it makes you feel. Hoodies to me are a wardrobe item that symbolize fun, youthful energy and casual style. It's what you wear to a show, what you wear to lounge, what you wear to party. I love that a hood is a permanent/attached accessory, a hood can add an element of casual to what otherwise might be more serious look. I think my personal style is generally casual. If you throw a hood on a dress, it becomes playful and casual. You layer a hoodie under a blazer, and you get a good balance of stylish yet casual. I think hoodies are really more about how they make you feel rather than how they make you look. Clearly, I just have a serious thing for hoods and with anything, if you are passionate about and love something, devote yourself to it and do it well.
Tell us a bit about your collaboration with Alexander Campaz. This was exciting for The Hoodie Shop as it was our first private label product. It was very exciting to dive into the process of design and production and watch it go from idea to execution. Alexander is an incredibly passionate and hard working dude. He never stops! I guess him and I both have that in common, which made it really fun to create something together. I also was very interested in working with a local designer, using local production. We're proud that our first hoodie was designed and made in New York.
How did this collaboration come about? We first knew Alexander as a friend and were fans of his work. The Hoodie Shop and Alexander's aesthetic are both inspired by the 60s and 70s. I really love the fact that Alexander actually started designing apparel and screen printing at a very young age. His first go at fashion design was assisting his father in making soccer uniforms in Colombia in the 80s. The influence of the retro athletic apparel is still very apparent in his designs and something I am drawn to.
Can you describe what the collection will be like? I think this collection of hoodies subtly show a little bit of all the things Alexander and I appreciate in design. Casual, simple, stylish--the retro athletic influence. I was very adamant that the collection had all of the qualities that The Hoodie Shop is about. Something classic with a twist. Casual in design, but using luxe fabrics. Unique but wearable and unisex in style and fit. Here at The Hoodie Shop, we have ideas for days for hoodies and hooded apparel of all kinds but we think this first design captured a lot of the most important elements to demonstrate the important qualities a great hoodie should have.
Do you have plans for any future collaborations, either with Alexander or other designers? For sure. We have gotten some great positive feedback on this collection and I would really like to explore variations of the design and color ways with Alexander. I am looking forward to working together with many of our brands. All of the designers and brands that I buy for the shop each represent to me, a piece of who we are collectively as The Hoodie Shop brand. Our brands range from Aviator Nation to B. Scott to Nicholas K--all of which do hoods and do them well in their own way. I would be thrilled to work with each of them to create hoodies that merge the vision of both brands. I love seeing the result of two individual creative entities making a collaborative project.
If you could work with any one designer, who would it be? I think revealing my dream collaboration right now might actually reveal some of the exciting things that are already in the works. I can't reveal all of our secrets quite yet but I will say that I'm beyond excited about what's ahead.
The Hoodie Shop is located at 181 Orchard Street New York 10002
Not in New York? Snag your own coveted, cool hoodie here.