East + West Menswear Clothing Heads Southwest to Tulsa
When Brian Simpson first opened East + West in his native St. Louis, he might not have expected to open a location in another city so soon, but here we are: Simpson will open the boutique’s first outpost in downtown Tulsa. East + West 2.0 will open in a unique retail venue called The Boxyard, featuring a pared-down selection of the brands Simpson has become known for: Apolis, Norse Projects and 3Sixteen, to name a few. It will also serve as a test site for the proprietor and his partner Ben Kilgore to expand the store’s private label to a clientele that hasn’t had many local options for fashion in quite some time.
“Tulsa has a similar vibe to St. Louis,” Simpson explains. “It’s neighborhood-centric and family-focused, with a growing food and entrepreneurship scene. There are great communities for artists, designers and influencers here.”
Consider the new neighborhood that East + West will call home: The Boxyard opened in mid-2015 as downtown retail hub built from gently used cargo hold. Live music, rooftop bars and communal space for street fairs and lounging are drawing small business owners who desire the color of downtown Tulsa without astronomical rents or traditional design. “It’s a nice place to enter the market, rethink what we’re doing and how we’re repurposing the design,” says Simpson.
Tulsa’s creative flavor wasn’t the only reason the store is moving southwest. Simpson’s wife grew up in the city and has become familiar with its economic flow and Tulsa residents. He describes this series of events as a “perfect storm in terms of Ben (Kilgore), the location and future co-tenants.” They intend to maintain the integrity of their St. Louis flagship store while also introducing a series of only-in-Tulsa collaborations and events that will intermingle men’s fashion with food, drink and entertainment.
And while Simpson foresees more expansion for his retail baby, don’t start booking hotel rooms in Nashville or Milwaukee any time soon. “We’re looking in specific cities right now, but that’s still years away,” he says. Better get acquainted with Interstate-44 in the next few months and add Tulsa to your 2017 hit list.