Menswear expert Josh Peskowitz has cut his teeth at some of the coolest and most competitive businesses in the fashion industry, from The Fader and Esquire to Bloomingdale’s and Gilt Groupe. But his latest gig—owning a small menswear boutique in Los Angeles called Magasin—is a new challenge entirely.
Opening a brick-and-mortar retail store in today’s landscape takes guts, for one, but it’s also the vision Peskowitz and co-owners Simon Golby and Christophe Desmaison have for Magasin that makes it radical. The clothes are understated, well made and elegant, but the store doesn’t cater to an exclusively wealthy, older clientele. In fact, walk in on any given day and you’ll see mostly 20- and 30-somethings. Kids in Vans. Dads in Birks. That sort of thing.
Inspired by the store’s unconventional, iPad-free approach to retail, we asked Peskowitz to walk us through his background and business plan. Here’s what he had to say.
Can you tell me just a little bit about how you first got your start in fashion?
Josh Peskowitz: I worked at a clothing store when I was in high school and I really thought I was going to open my own store right away. That’s what I wanted to do, but I also was an avid fan of magazines. I just loved the idea of access, about having exposure to all these things that I was interested in.
My two favorite magazines when I was in college were The Face and The Fader. The Fader had just launched at that time, so when I came back to New York after school, I asked a very good friend of mine who was working in their photo department to introduce me. And that was my first job in editorial. At first I was like, "I can’t do this," and my friend was like, "Stop being an idiot. You put clothes on mannequins all day long, just go." At the time, I was a window display guy for Urban Outfitters, building shit in the basement of the store on West 4th Street in Manhattan.
There were six of us putting out the magazines at a time, maybe eight? It was just such a wonderful experience to be part of something that felt like it was really capturing the moment. The early 2000s in downtown New York—the music scene, the art scene, the fashion scene—was encapsulated in the pages of The Fader, and some of our contemporaries like Vice, Tokion; it was just a big community back then, and so I was really lucky to be a part of it. It opened a lot of doors for me and a lot of people who worked for them have gone on to be successful people.