October 15, 2010
What’s not to like?
I don’t typically write about places where things are sold, favoring instead to write about the communications that help the places where things are sold. But I’m going to make an exception. Because there’s a new store in town that is so high concept it transcends mere retail experience.
Welcome to the Isle of Man. Sandwiched between two funky antique shops on Lincoln Avenue in the bustling North Center neighborhood in Chicago, Isle of Man is like walking through the home of Hunter S. Thompson and then into Steve McQueen’s garage. In other words it’s f—cking awesome! You know the most interesting man in the world? This is where he shops.
The brainchild of entrepreneur Arthur Holstein (“AG”) and his partner, Brice Copper (the former host of HGTV’s Design on a Dime), Isle of Man combines the pair’s love of motorcycle racing with a ton of other cool guy stuff: vintage leather jackets, badass tee-shirts, military trunks and myriad lifestyle accessories and apparel for, as their tag line puts it, “men of character.”
The term “character” has two meanings. First the obvious homage to man’s potential for integrity and strength. Masculinity as defined by sportsmen and soldiers. Characters like Walter Hagen and Teddy Roosevelt. However, it’s the second interpretation of character that differentiates Isle of Man from Ralph Lauren and other purveyors of classic masculine progress. It’s “character” defined by individuality and quirkiness. Think Johnny Depp or Robert Downey Jr. This is the fun part, where Harrison Ford becomes Indiana Jones, where one can find a pair of gold-speckled deer antlers or a vintage pot leaf belt buckle.
The owners go into their philosophy more on the website but to get the full effect you have to get your manly butt into the store. Trust me, if you were born with a penis you won’t regret it. On my first visit I bought a nifty hat worthy of Don Draper as well as a Johnston Motors tee shirt that impressed even the jaded boys in my creative department. For my kids, Isle of Man offers free oversized antique marbles and shark’s teeth. Beats the hell out of a lollypop.
Full disclosure: AG is a friend of mine but I have no financial interests in Isle of Man. I just dig the concept. Here’s the site: Iomstyle.com
“I don’t always shop but when I do I prefer Isle of Man.”