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April, 2024
Lauren Manoogian New York store | Photography courtesy Lauren Manoogian©

On the ground floor of a century-old building on 407 Broome Street, somewhere between Soho, Little Italy and Chinatown, Lauren Manoogian opens her first flagship store. 

The owner and designer behind her namesake label, together with her partner Chris Fireoved, open the doors to their very own world, complete with ceramics and sculpture to accompany their handmade, sophisticated knitwear all made entirely by artisans in Peru.

Lauren Manoogian New York store | Photography courtesy Lauren Manoogian©

Through calming tones of a natural palette of oak, sand and stone, the store also acts as a place for clients to slow down, reflect and relax from the vibrancy of New York City outside. Japanese incense fills the space (the Japanese incense maker has been collaborating with the duo for years now, always transforming the LM showrooms in NYC and Paris) whilst their friend, DJ Theodore Jahng created a 48 hour playlist for guests to zen out to in the space.

Textures and naturally-made patterns are reflected in the organic interior design, executed together with more of Manoogian and Fireoved’s friends: Rodrigo Santillán Barcellos, a skater/architect from Peru and Luren Jenison, who hand-plastered the brick walls. Just like the materials Manoogian works with in her collections, the interiors are hand-made with intention.

Across timezones, Champ Editorial Director Monique Kawecki spoke to longterm friend Chris Fireoved about interior design, Peru and their undying love of craftsmanship.

Lauren Manoogian New York store | Photography courtesy Lauren Manoogian©

Why did you choose this particular area of NYC?

We have a showroom around the corner, one block away actually and we wanted to stay in the area. We originally got a store space one block in the opposite direction from the current 407 Broome Street location and after a year of back and forth with the building owner, we gave up on that space – the same day we decided to move on and focus our energy on something positive, we walked by the current location – the owner just so happened to be standing in the doorway – I spoke with him briefly and brought him over to our showroom and said “this is the general idea of how we would like to renovate your space and turn it into our store” – 24 hours later the lease was signed and we started construction – the “let go or be dragged” saying echoed in my head after trying to force the other space to work for so long. Total luck!

We also really like being at the crossroads of such different neighborhoods – Nolita, Soho and Chinatown.

Lauren Manoogian New York store | Photography courtesy Lauren Manoogian©
Lauren Manoogian New York store | Photography courtesy Lauren Manoogian©

Who worked on the store design with you? 

The entire store design we did on our own. We worked with Laurens friend Luren Jenison who handled the wall finishing, plaster and most of the fixtures and my friend, Rodrigo Santillán Barcellos an architect from Peru (who I met skateboarding in Lima when I first started going there so long ago) came to NY for a few months and helped officiate the plans and see the build all the way through.

It was an intimidating moment when we got the keys and knew we had to do a total renovation from the not-so-fun stuff like demolition, HVAC, electricity and all that – as well as all the “fun”, aesthetic elements – but having all our friends involved made the build feel like a big adventure together. I am really proud of everyone involved for taking on such a big job with us.

Lauren Manoogian New York store | Photography courtesy Lauren Manoogian©

What did you aim to convey in the store design?

When we were looking for a store – one of the things Lauren and I really wanted was space, air and openness – which seemed to be the antithesis of what is typically available in a place like NY, so it was no easy task – we wanted to give the collection room, while at the same time making the space seem cozy. Up until a few weeks ago, even Lauren and I had never seen the entire collection in such a large space, spread out, giving each individual piece a moment. We wanted the finishing and the fixtures to be tactile and possess the same traits as the clothing – clean, manually made, with character and warmth.

What is most special about visiting the store in person?

Tactility, hand, scent, space – basically all the things that are unable to be translated digitally. A lot of what we make truly needs to be seen in person, to touch, feel and discover the subtlety and nuance that we feel makes our collection special (and we spend so much of our time focused on) – the internet is a very functional tool – but a lot of the times the most special elements of a piece can be lost in a thumbnail image – the store is our vehicle to display that.

Additionally – we have been collaborating with a Japanese incense maker for many years now, different scents we always burn in our showroom – I like the fact memory is so closely related to scent and want that to be part of the experience being in the store as well. We also want our staff to be able to impart knowledge of our process directly to the customer.

Lauren Manoogian New York store | Photography courtesy Lauren Manoogian©

How many years has Lauren Manoogian been operating for, and how has your clientele grown?

Lauren started the brand in 2008 making leather jewelry by hand in her Brooklyn studio – it has since grown into a full collection of wovens, shoes, accessories and of course, knitwear.

She started the company with zero dollars and together, we have organically and independently grown the business to where it is today – there are pros and cons to this of course, but the biggest ‘pro’ so to speak – is the fact we are able to do exactly what we want 100% of the time – and we believe this translates to the customer being able to feel that, they can feel our involvement and care in each and every part of the brand and over time, I think this is a way to grow a core customer and following.

Do you still produce everything with farmers and artisans in Peru?

100 percent of what we produce is made in Peru. We have an office in Lima and Lauren and I spend almost half the year there working on development and production with our small team.

We made the decision many years ago to focus on producing our collection in one place, knowing that we are so involved in every part of the process, we simply had to focus on one destination to do it all.

What’s next for Lauren, yourself and the Lauren Manoogian brand?

As we grow, Lauren and I are working to push ourselves to allow others to help – there is only so much we can do well before our efforts become watered down, so ‘whats next’ is truly working to slowly grow our team and learn how to do that in our own way.

Lauren Manoogian New York store | Photography courtesy Lauren Manoogian©
Lauren Manoogian New York store | Photography courtesy Lauren Manoogian©

Lauren Manoogian
407 Broome Street, 
New York, NY, 10013

For more NYC destinations, click here.

Text: Monique Kawecki, Editorial Director
Images: Courtesy Lauren Manoogian©  

April, 2024