On a cool-kid block of the Lower East Side is a white shop that is so meticulously orderly, it might make your head spin. Envelope clutches rest upon a white piano. Minimal gold rings sit beside crystals on the countertops. Shoes are perfectly paired on the floor. Of course I’m talking about Assembly New York.
The child of Greg Armas’ love of fashion and art, Assembly New York is an aesthete’s wet dream. Not only is it a clothing store, but it’s also its own label, launching womenswear at fashion week for fall 2012. With his calm demeanor and soft-spoken nature, Greg Armas is the thoughtful brains behind Assembly New York’s success. I sat down with him to discuss his budding business and exactly how he makes it in fashion today.
Fashionista: How did Assembly New York, the store and the brand, come to exist?
Greg Armas: Originally it was a continuation of a store I had in LA, called Scout Los Angeles. October, three years ago, is when I started Assembly NY. It was originally two doors down, and then October of last year we moved into this location, and it really grew into a men’s and women’s store. When Assembly opened it was pretty much for the guys, but then we started getting more and more women coming in and buying the mens stuff, so when we moved we decided to do both.
What inspired your move from LA to New York?
LA has a certain speed, which is great for living, but for work and breaking new ground and getting things done, I felt like I was running through molasses sometimes. At the time, it just seemed like all my direction was to be here. I guess I came here to make it big, like everyone else. [laughs]
Did you have any previous design or business experience before?
No. I mean I owned the store in LA, but I have no particular design knowledge. I do have an art background, I actually had galleries before I opened a fashion store. The design is really new to me. That process was like learning backwards, learning from the clothes. I’m fortunate enough to be able to surround myself with knowledgeable people and assemble a really good team to fill in all the gaps.