James F. Mills
Gay men are always looking for the latest fashions—but they don’t have to go to Bloomingdale’s or Macy’s to find them.
Melrose Avenue is known for its trendy clothing stores. Two of the best boutiques are a block apart on Melrose near Gardner Avenue—New York, New York and its sister store New York Speed. These stores have the trendiest streetwear and clubwear, including top brands like Diesel, G-Star, Affliction, True Religion and 55 DSL.
“Our philosophy is to supply our customer with the best brand names that you have in the market,” reports owner Ness Twina. “We have the trendiest fashions, the best prices and the best service.”
In business since 1984, he’s clearly doing something right. Twina says it’s the service they provide. “In our store, you will not find sales people—we prefer to call them stylists,” he says. “When you come into the store, our goal is to style you. Of course we want to sell to you, but first to style you.”
That styling ability is such an important part of the store’s business philosophy, all employees who work the sales floor must go through a style test of dressing someone else before they’re hired.
But no matter how talented the stylist, ultimately, it comes down to the customer feeling comfortable. “If you’re not comfortable in the clothes, you will wear it once and never wear it again,” says Twina, who reports denim is the trendiest item in the store now. “We make sure you’re comfortable in it.”
Although he gets a large percentage of gay shoppers, he says there’s little difference in what gays and straights buy. “The gays will buy it first, and then pretty soon, the straights will start buying it.”
While the store’s website accounts for a substantial amount of business, Twina says people should come in the store regularly.
“People should visit the store a few times a month, even if they’re not looking to shop, just to see what’s new and what’s trendy,” he says. “People have become too computerized. They need to visit the store. It’s a lot more fun to do—you get to see the clothes. Touch them, feel them, try them on if you like.”
New York Speed, 7460 Melrose Ave.; New York, New York, 7522 Melrose Ave. newyorkspeed.com