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Alternative Apparel (which is going by just "Alternative" these days) opened its first-ever East Coast storefront…right next door to American Apparel in Soho. And, in case you were wondering how Alternative would differentiate itself from its similarly-named neighbor, look no further than the shop's exposed beams (sourced by interior designer Danny Gonzales), yarn-based art installations (courtesy of Brooklyn artist Andrew Lyon), copper pipe clothing racks, and copies of The Gentlewoman fanned out next to potted succulents just so.
The brand's Made in Peru collection—a line of organic pima cotton separates colored with all-natural Peruvian plant and insect dyes—is given prime store real estate on the women's side, as is Alternative's ultra-soft Move by Alternative activewear, which doesn't officially launch until fall. Eco-wash chambray dresses (made with 60% less water than standard chambray) hang beside Breton-stripe shirts, tissue-thin tanks, and sporty drawstring-waist jumpsuits, while over in the men's section, short-sleeve oxfords are stacked next to muted henleys and heathered hoodies.
Alternative has plans to make the space interactive, with in-store concerts (there's a reclaimed wood stage), indigo dyeing classes, and a community table where you can charge your iPhone while your friends try on racerback maxi dresses (or just marvel at the illustrations on the dressing room walls—the work of Parsons grad Jenny Walton).
Now you know where to go if you like your affordable basics served with a little less neon and spandex (and your mannequins served with a little less pubic hair).