I am fully aware of the hypothetical outdatedness of a new article about Oak NYC as an emerging or under-the-radar store. Chances are, you’ve already browsed through the store’s racks (filled with such labels as ACNE and Alexander Wang), have seen OAKZINE, or attended an Oak party. The fact is, Oak is no longer emerging—it holds its ground as a cool, respectable, and recognizable name in New York fashion. Oak has transformed from a store into a lifestyle, of which a major component is the original “OAK” brand.
The brand blends in nicely with the other big-name clothing lines carried by the store. In fact, one could say that it gives the rest a run for their money. Many of my favorite pieces are from Autumn of 2010, pictured below.
This line, which was “inspired by vintage Tokyo street fashion,” encompasses all of the qualities one thinks of when talking about Oak, including the drastically oversized outterwear, as well as the simplicity of combining black, white, and grey colors. (www.thefashionisto.net) Often made of wool or cashmere, the pieces from this line are a collage of quality and “downtown cool,” blending the two into an affordable and stylish look that is generally appropriate for either gender at any age.
Travis Deluca (pictured), assistant manager of Oak NYC in Brooklyn, gave us some insight into the Oak world.
Who is your favorite designer or line right now? In terms of brands we carry, I am always a big fan of the OAK private label line for great basics. Acne has some of the best denim and leather jackets, and you can never go wrong with T by Alexander Wang. Outside of brands at OAK, I love Givenchy, CdG, Dior Homme, Margiela, and Raf Simons.
How would you describe Oak’s original brand? OAK’s private label brand consists of comfortable and wearable basics. The jersey pieces are all simple with an interesting detail (an asymmetrical hem, a dropped shoulder, an extra deep cowl) and serve as the perfect pieces to make an otherwise basic outfit a little more eye-catching. The denim is a force to be reckoned with, and is consistently one of the highest sellers. The cuts and tailoring of the denim is spot on, the fabric is thick and resilient, and the price point is very competitive compared to some other designers that we carry. The men’s shirting is another popular category, as well as the outerwear for women and men which blows out year after year.
What is the best part of working at Oak? I work with some really amazing people, enjoy the aesthetic of the store, and most importantly, look forward to coming into OAK everyday.
What is the “general vibe” of Oak? OAK is laid-back, effortless, minimalistic, and sexy.
Who are you inspired by in the fashion world? I think it is important to stay true to what you like and what you see as beautiful. I wouldn’t say that I have a style icon; I find myself being more inspired by art and music than I am by what others are wearing. I see beauty in a lot of different places other than just fashion, and I try to not allow myself to emulate a look or base what I am wearing off of what I saw on style.com.
Even without the use of visual branding or labeling on the clothing, one can easily notice an OAK piece worn by someone walking down the street, due simply to the brands bold and unique vibe. I don’t believe it would be too much of a stretch to suggest that Oak NYC, and particularly the store’s original clothing, have had and will continue to have an impact on what comes to mind when one thinks of modern New York fashion.
(Photos by Jason Eric Hardwick, via www.thefashionisto.com)