Cincinnati is definitely moving in the right direction on a lot of fronts. But fashion remains our final frontier — our "white whale," our Everest.
Can we let go of those baggy jeans and cargo shorts? Can we disclaim our college sweatshirts and vertically striped button-downs? Can we never ever wear socks and sandals at the same time again?
If you’re like me, your Teutonic brain is telling you, “No! Fashion is about utility. Do not buy zee new clothes vhen zee old ones verk fine!”
Well, these Cincinnati fashion brands are doing everything they can to move that needle, self expression being paramount and all that jazz. And if my growing collection of streetwear is any indication, they’re doing a pretty good job.
2643 Erie Avenue, Hyde Park
1323 Vine Street, OTR
The name is half joke, half rebuke. Owner Matt Tomamichel worked at apparel shops like Foot Locker before adjudging the “corporate” sneaker game to be overly constraining. Corporate is his response. The Hyde Park location touts some truly glorious sneakers, while the OTR location focuses on a curated, mature selection. Either way, you’re sure to leave a Corporate store looking better than when you entered.
341 West 4th Street, Downtown
Unheardof brings some of that L.A. skater style to the Midwest, but it also leans hard into Cincinnati’s oxidized-industrial-chic theme. The results are new, edgy, and compelling.
1417 Vine Street, OTR
Righno is here to prove that Californian, European, and even Australian styles can meld with the Cincinnati sensibility. The looks it offers are precise but relaxed, dwelling somewhere between high Modernism and "surfer cool."
DURHAM BRAND & CO
617 Madison Avenue, Covington
Powered by Austin Dunbar’s imagination, Durham isn’t a store. It’s a lifestyle retail concept. Well, as long as Dunbar keeps churning out the goods, he can call his “retail concept” whatever the heck he wants. His label is completely original — gritty and bold, but unmistakably urban.
1416 Main Street, OTR
If OCD-lite clean lines aren’t your thing, there’s always Ragg Addict, a Main Street boutique dedicated to offering the “dopest” fashion. In this case “dope” is synonymous with ragged, color-splashed, hyper-faded, alternatively tight and baggy couture. Yep, this stuff is (fire emoji).
VICTOR ATHLETICS CLUB
1405 Republic Street, OTR
And we round out this list with a socially conscious brand that does socially conscious things. They do business with smaller, more sustainable American manufacturers to buck the trend of outsourcing. They use organic materials, too. More conservative than some other places on this list, but cool.
…AND TWO OTHERS
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Homage and Cincy Shirts. They both offer awesome clothing. But you already know who they are, and even if that doesn’t distinguish them from the other places on this list (snaps for you), I further submit they’re sporty stores that happen to do streetwear rather than streetwear stores that happen to do sporty. Distinction without a difference, you say? Well, make your own list then. [Insert wink-y face emoji.]