The Best New Brooklyn Boutiques

08/13/2014 4:00 AM |

Front General Store

I first met Hideya Sagawa, the proprietor of Front General Store, last winter at the Brooklyn Flea. He was manning a vintage pop-up booth with a variety of tasteful military jackets and other vintage menswear; I left with a black wool beanie, U.S. Army issue. Sagawa moved to the US from Japan in 1990, and quickly fell in love with vintage Americana. For thirteen years, until he opened his own store late last year, he worked at What Goes Around Comes Around, organizing window displays and coordinating designer sales. Before that, he was a peripatetic regular at New York flea markets, selling from his vast collection of Americana: clothing, kitchenware, toys, rugs, etc.

Front General Store is an extension of the pop-up shop’s aesthetic. The concept draws inspiration from old general stores of the West, or at least the West of the imagination: the clothing is heavy on denim, military wear, horsehide leather brogues, classic wool sweaters, and flannel shirts. Sagawa and his partners travel to flea markets across the country looking for wares. Some (OK, a lot) of Sagawa’s collector’s impulse has found purchase at Front General Store: along with the clothing, there’s an amazing array of collectibles, soft goods, and tchotchkes, including Italian and French sunglasses from the 40s and 50s, mid-century bowties, saddle bags, government issued watch caps, felt pennants, vinyl signs, Navajo jewelry, metal work tags, garment pins, and brass buttons.

143 Front Street, DUMBO