Charleston is known for its southern charm, hospitality, delicious food, and beautiful downtown architecture. While menswear might not be added to that list, this town does boast one of the most brilliant and hottest menswear shops in the country, Indigo & Cotton. While small on the inside, the store is designed and decorated beautifully, featuring an old-school filing cabinet, antique tables and seating, and other vintage display pieces. The natural light is abundant, and the decorations and clothing are vibrant in color, which creates a warm and pleasant experience.
One of my favorite things about the shop is the inspirational "look-book" pinboard on the back left well. It features clothing pieces that store carries, showcasing them in the form of brilliant photographs.
Beyond the design of the shop, Indigo & Cotton carries some of the most high quality menswear products around (see brand names in Q&A below). You will find anything from raw denim and casual dress shirts to swim trunks and weekend bags.
The store is truly unique.
So, who is the man behind this creative and flavorful menswear store?
Please meet Brett Carron.
Check out the Q&A below, and scroll all the way to the bottom for more photographs of Indigo & Cotton.
Kirk: Brett, tell me a little about yourself and where you’re from.
Brett: I grew up in the midwest, spending time in both Illinois and Indiana and later studying fine arts at a small art school in Columbus, Ohio. I met my wife there and afterward we moved to New York City for a few years.
Kirk: How did you end up in Charleston?
Brett: My wife took a job here. We were both ready for a change and took the opportunity to relocate.
Kirk: When did you first realize that you had an interest in men’s style and fashion?
Brett: I’m not sure exactly when it happened, but it's something I was definitely paying attention to at an early age. Throughout elementary, high school and later, college, I studied art and design. Being in those creative environments I think inevitably sparked an interest in style and what I wore. Things really crystallized for me while we were living in New York City. Not only are there so many great shops and galleries, but the wealth of style and culture there is so concentrated--inspiration is everywhere.
Kirk: How would you describe your personal style?
Brett: It’s basically a snapshot of what we offer at Indigo & Cotton. I’m usually wearing a button down from my favorite shirt maker Gitman Bros. Vintage and my Imogene & Willie Bartons. In the warmer months I like Velva Sheen tees (it’s a tubular knit body so there aren’t any side seams) and shorts from Battenwear or Engineered Garments. Lately I’ve been leaning toward pieces that are a bit dressier but don’t feel too formal. A favorite jacket of mine is from Barena - it’s a lightweight cotton and completely unstructured, which makes for a super comfortable and versatile sport coat that can be worn when the temperature starts to rise. On my feet are either plain toe bluchers from Alden, classic New Balance running shoes or a simple white canvas sneaker.
Kirk: We’ve seen trends come and go. Last year camouflage was huge, and this year it seems like floral is breaking through once again. What do you think is going to be the next big trend or appreciation in men’s fashion?
Brett: The desire for American brands and domestic manufacturing has continued to thrive and I don’t see any sign of that slowing down. There’s been a growing interest in Japanese brands--it seems like each season more and more become available stateside. Given the affinity the Japanese have for our culture and denim heritage, it makes perfect sense. We’re bringing a long-time favorite of ours, orSlow, to the shop this fall. They produce a really focused collection each season, with great washed denim pieces and a healthy dose of workwear and military influence.
Kirk: The interior layout and design of your shop is magnificent; what inspired this look?
Brett: Thank you! The design has been a lot of fun, it’s always a work in progress. Inspiration comes from all over: art history and design, travel, and of course, the brands themselves we’re lucky enough to work with.
Kirk: I’m sure running your shop keeps you very busy, but when you have down time to relax, what are some of your favorite things to do?
Brett: We have an 8 month old baby girl at home, so these days free time is in short supply. I run and play tennis when I can. We live downtown and fortunately there are a number of great restaurants we can walk to for dinner or a drink. The beach is also a short drive away. We travel a fair amount, it’s always fun to see new places or just get away and do a whole lot of nothing.
Kirk: What does the future hold for Indigo & Cotton? Is there a possibility of another shop opening, or even creating your own product line?
Brett: Right now, we’re focusing on the physical store and e-commerce. We just had our three year anniversary and I feel like we’re in a really good place right now. We do have a lot of customers asking for a women’s version of Indigo & Cotton so that’s something we’ve been considering.
Kirk: What do you love most about men’s fashion right now?
Brett: I love that guys are paying more attention to how they dress, and they aren’t afraid to branch out and experiment a little.
Kirk: What is your all-time favorite drink? (Cocktail, beer, wine, soda, water…etc.)
Brett: It’s too hard to pick just one. We took a trip to Tuscany last year and I’ve been partial to Italian reds since then. My favorite beer of late is Westbrook Brewing Co.’s One Claw. They add rye to this pale ale for a little extra kick, and it’s great for the summer months. On the cocktail side, the Brown Derby from The Belmont is really tasty. They squeeze fresh grapefruit with bourbon and mix in a jalapeño infused honey. It goes down all too easily.
Kirk: Brett, thank you so much for taking time to talk with us. I want to wrap up with this last question: If a gentleman had the money to invest in 1 thing regarding wardrobe, what would you say is the most important thing he should own?
Brett: Without a doubt, I would say invest in your footwear. Go for a shoe that’s goodyear welted. They can be resoled for less than the cost of a new pair and if cared for properly will hold up for many years and only look better with age.
79 Cannon Street, Charleston, SC. (843) 718-2980. www.indigoandcotton.com