King Street has long been considered a shopping Mecca of the Southeast, and Jordan Lash wants to do everything he can to keep in that way far into the future.
With the emergence of fashion websites and the large, everything-under-the-sun retail companies that dominate online sales, Lash believes that the personal service that has made King Street what it is today will be the key to his own store’s success in the years to come.
“When you can just go online and find whatever it is you’re looking for, shops like mine need to offer something that those websites can’t,” says Lash. “If we can give someone who comes in a great, unique experience and help them with what they need, then chances are, they’ll come back again.”
Located in the heart of middle King, among clothing stores and fashion boutiques that have been around for decades, Jordan Lash Charleston opened its doors in early March of this year, catering to what Lash refers to as the “timeless fashion” found in the South.
“We’re not like those bigger U.S. cities, or the high-fashion centers of the European Union,” says Lash. “Fashion usually begins overseas, hits New York and other major areas a year later, and we’re lucky to see them even two years later down here.”
What this means for the region is a fashion sense that doesn’t always mirror what’s found on the runways. This gives Charleston—and the Southeast as a whole—a unique style that’s grounded in the classics: long-sleeved sport shirts, polos, casual shorts and comfortable shoes.
People “from off” may call this style preppy. For those who live here, it’s just the laid-back way men dress, and it always has been.
Lash doesn’t chase trends. He understands what his clientele wants, but he’s always searching for the newer looks that more fashion-forward clients will crave. He travels to the New York shows twice a year to prepare for the upcoming seasons, but the local people who walk into his store are his biggest inspirations. In the end, he has to trust his instincts when he buys for the store.
“The best source for knowing what I should buy each season is the customer,” says Lash. “If people are walking in, asking if I have a certain brand or a certain look, I can almost guarantee it will sell in the upcoming months.”
Lash offers many different brands in his store—and soon, online—that can accommodate anyone looking for that timeless Southern style. He has his own personal brand, Jordan Lash Charleston, that is a perfect fit for everyday wear. He also sells Brax, the best-selling pant designer in Germany, which just recently arrived in the United States. Stenströms is another big seller, specializing in handsewn shirts in a variety of styles and colors.
Keeping up with what customers want while spending time with each person who walks through his doors can be a challenge. But Lash is up to it. He’s spent 17 years in the fashion industry, starting in the stockroom and moving up to sales before becoming a buyer and partner at another King Street apparel store. With the help of his brother, Daniel, and the full support of his wife, Haley, he’s been able to fulfill his dream of opening Jordan Lash Charleston.
And now that he’s a part of the fashion scene in one of the most popular shopping districts in the Southeast, what does Lash expect for the upcoming autumn season?
He expects outerwear and sports coats—two Charleston classics—to be as popular as ever when the air starts to chill. Casual and golf-inspired sweaters may also be big, as well as five-pocket pants with an emphasis on belts.
Whatever the future trends may be in Charleston, Lash bets that they will reflect the classic, timeless style of the South.
M. Luke Yoder is a freelance writer who lives in the Charleston area. Learn more at mlukeyoder.com