It was a cold evening on the Lower East Side and I was in a rouche-front jumpsuit, skipping across Clinton Street with my Isaac Mizrahi loving best friend (haha) when we spotted the tiny boutique that is Spec.
We paused for a moment to admire the military jacket by Surplus Plus that hung above a vintage leather wingback in the display window. We walked through the doorway and were greeted by a burst of warmth that was caused not only by heaters but also by the interiors rich tones and the personable dispositions of the owners; Andrew Wong and Elton Chung.
Andrew is a designer from Hong Kong and has designed for the likes of D&G and Triple 5 Soul. He is obviously the creative force behind this venture and his passion for fashion is apparent. He told me that he doesn’t care to follow trends but instead focuses on timeless styles with unique elements because he feels that “fashion is like technology and new is never new enough.” He gave me this example to illustrate his point: “I buy an iPod and by the time I load it up with songs, iPod Nano comes out. I blink and now theres iPod Video…Fashion trends are just like that and I don’t want to have to race to keep up with something that will be dead in a month. I want to sell things that are practical with an edge.” He hopes that customers will find clothing there that they will wear forever, or at least, until the seams fall off and judging by the quality of what I saw, that wouldn’t happen for a very, very long time.
After spending some time with Andrew and Elton, I stopped to flip through the guest book in the entryway. Its pages were filled with the doodles, email addresses and comments of their many satisfied customers. One scrawling stood out to me in particular, it read: “SPEC. IS LIKE CRACK!”, referencing the highly addictive quality of their clothing.
Out of the corner of my eye I noticed a young man in a velvet blazer trying on scarves, hats, sweaters and zip-up ski masks. I moved closer and noticed that it was AKTS-NYC designer Micah Monserrat, who happens to be one of my favorite artists. I felt honored when he took a break from his shopping spree to show me around his favorite store and talk fashion with me! Spec. is truly the hot spot for fans of Japanese Designers and Unique menswear in New York City.
Spec.’s designer lineup includes Ships, PPFM, Think Pink, Labo, Surplus Plus, Whole 9, General Standard, Red Wheat, Takeo Kikuchi, Comme Ça Commune, Power to the People – Most of which you can’t find anywhere else in New York.
Spec. is short for special and if the suit fits, wear it. Spec. is indeed, a very special place and I have to agree with the statement that Spec. is like crack – without the damaging side effects and unsightly skin problems, of course.