INSIDE PEEK BlackBlue
The vibe: Nestled in St. Paul's Cathedral Hill neighborhood, BlackBlue offers designer men's clothing to Twin Cities shoppers with an eye for quality. The store has been open since 2009, operated by Steve Kang, above, who says he named the store after his favorite fashion faux pas — mixing black and navy blue. "It's a bit of an anti-fashion statement that's about being yourself and creating your own style."
What you'll find: BlackBlue stocks designer brands, which is reflected in the prices. But Kang insists you will get what you pay for: "I believe in buying less, but higher quality clothing that will last you longer, fit you better, and bring you more joy, as a result." Kang's suppliers are mostly American, European and Japanese companies that pay workers a living wage for their skills, and use higher-quality materials than most retail brands. The clothes are mostly everyday staples — button-up shirts, jeans, sweaters and jackets — and most items range from $100 to $350.
What you won't find: Formalwear, women's clothing, fast fashion.
Surprise element: While the clothing is designed for men, Kang says that many women also shop BlackBlue for themselves. "I'm happy to offer a store for both men and women who appreciate well-made clothing and are mindful of how and where it's made."
Get the goods: 614 Selby Av., St. Paul. Open noon to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday, and Monday and Tuesday by appointment (e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org). Or shop online at blkblu.com.
— Bruno Povejsil