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Jewelry at Idlewild Woman boutique in OTR, recently launched by the team behind Article Menswear

As store manager Cale Darrell will be quick to tell you, Article Menswear is not just a men’s clothing store. It’s a complete lifestyle brand. They sell everything for the fashion forward, modern man from suit jackets to casual wear, hoodies to t-shirts, accessories to home décor, and even men’s bath and body products.

This young, small, locally-owned business has only been up and running for two years. But in that short time, the positive feedback from shoppers has been overwhelming, Darrell says. “We wanted to create a modern day men’s general store to make guys feel comfortable while shopping with us,” he adds. “We have everything from shaving goods to shoe polish and we carry such a large variety of apparel for men.”

The store is surrounded by big, floor-to-ceiling windows allowing natural sunlight to pour in, partnered with dimmed spotlights throughout the store, with rustic furniture, and an American flag that proudly hangs above the check-out desk. Apparel with a rugged yet edgy and edgy feel hangs on the racks and fills the shelves.

According to Darrell, the store is strategically merchandised so that it sparks a client’s interest as they walk through the store, shopping for whatever they need. They sell brands from all over the U.S., while still showcasing its local love too. Carrying brands such as Noble Denim, which was founded in Cincinnati, and even a man-friendly, scented candle company called, Good Candle that was created by UC DAAP graduate, Johnathan Kroeger.

“We buy the majority of our merchandise from trade shows in other cities like Las Vegas, so it can sometimes be a challenge when buying stock for upcoming seasons since we order clothes for seasons way in advance. But we know our customer well enough to give him that traditional clothing and staple pieces in cool and unique ways,” says Darrell.

In fact, he said it’s a team effort to accomplish the best trend forecasting, as the entire staff offers insight for this process. The team consists of Darrell — along with their multi-talented sales consultant, Trey Jolly, and owners Anthony and Maria Graziani.

Freeman Sporting Club, Schott NYC, Baldwin, and Saturdays Brand are all brands you’ll find at Article. If that doesn’t get you in the door, they also have some special events coming up. During MLB’s All-Star weekend, reps from Mitchell Bat Co. and Ebbets Fields will be visiting Article Menswear to host a party to welcome their new merchandise to be sold in the store. The event is free, while light refreshments and beer will be served.

Don’t worry, ladies. The team at Article hasn’t forgotten about you. Just last month, they opened up a sister boutique just one block down called, Idlewild Woman. Idlewild started out as a pop up shop they tried out within Article Menswear. “The response was so great from the pop up shop, it was evidently clear there was a need for the owners to create a sister store for women,” Darrell says.

Idlewild has soft and feminine décor with an all-white building with white brick walls inside. They carry flowy, bohemian chic clothing paired with delicate accessories. They are also a lifestyle brand that embraces womanhood, carrying home goods, bath and body products, and accessories. Both stores carry some of the same brands such as Billy Reed, Imogene & Willie, and Gant Rugger that have men’s and women’s lines within their brands.

Keep your eye on Article Menswear as they will be introducing new brands to their store this upcoming fall. They are also planning a special event coming up for the fall, but are shy on sharing details just yet. “We want to keep it a secret so people will be surprised when we announce,” laughs Darrell.

To stay tuned with both stores, follow them on Instagram at @Articlemenswear and @Idlewildwoman.

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We chat with the owner of this OTR-based boutique about how his store is becoming a creative hub for independent fashion designers. Keep reading for all the fashionable details.

James Marable, Founder of Original Thought Required
James Marable, Founder of Original Thought Required

Cincy Chic: What is Original Thought Required?
James Marable, Founder of Original Thought Required: Original Thought Required is a cultural and fashion destination for Cincinnati. We focus on limited edition apparel created by independent designers.

Cincy Chic: What inspired you to start Original Thought Required?
Marable: The inspiration for the shop is the desire to be an outlet for creativity. Whether it’s from fashion, music, art or simply fun with friends.

Cincy Chic: When did you launch Original Thought Required?
Marable: We opened on January 29, 2010.

Cincy Chic: What types of items do you sell in the store?
Marable: We sell graphic tees, tanks, sweatshirts, outerwear, headwear and accessories.

Cincy Chic: What about price points?
Marable: Items are typically priced between $20 and $60.

Cincy Chic: Where is the store located?
Marable: You can find us at 1307 Main Street in Over-the-Rhine.

Cincy Chic: Is there anything new on the horizon for Original Thought Required?
Marable: We were recently named a finalist in the Artworks Big Pitch program, so we’re super excited about that!

Cincy Chic: Where can readers go to learn more?
Marable: Check out www.OTRfresh.com or like and follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Tumblr.

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 Two Cincinnatians behind the popular frameshop recently launched a concept to continue bringing business to Over-the-Rhine. Keep reading for all the details.

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Cincy Chic: Tell us more about Workshop!
Jake Gerth, Partner and Co-owner at frameshop: Workshop is where “frameshop” makes their picture frames. It will grow and evolve but currently we house a welder, UC’s “metrolabs” program in our space, along with the custom picture framing.

Cincy Chic: What is frameshop?
Gerth: My business partner’s name is Jake also—Jake Baker. He’s been doing framing every summer. One day, we were talking and decided frameshop was something we wanted to pursue. We like that it reflects the arts and a live-in population in Over-the-Rhine; having a frameshop in a neighborhood really says that there are people here.

Jake Gerth (Photo by Onur Armagan)
Jake Gerth (Photo by Onur Armagan)

Cincy Chic: Is there anything new on the horizon for Workshop?
Gerth: There will be many excited changes and additions at Workshop but currently we are developing these products and services.

Cincy Chic: Where is Workshop located?
Gerth: Workshop is located at 700 East McMillian Street in Cincinnati.

Cincy Chic: Where can readers go to learn more?
Gerth: To learn more about frameshop, like us on Facebook or visit our website. You can also learn more about workshop on Facebook.

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In a neighborhood focused on revitalizing buildings, MORTAR is focused on building up what they say is OTR’s greatest asset – its people.

left to right: William Thomas, Derrick Braziel, and Allen Woods
left to right: William Thomas, Derrick Braziel, and Allen Woods

Sometimes in the name of progress, the focus is put on improved buildings and places instead of people and communities. MORTAR believes that to build a true community, you need more than just great buildings. If we try to look at the buildings as a neighborhood’s bricks, then the people are the “mortar” that hold it all together, says William Thomas, co-founder of MORTAR.

Over the last decade, OTR has begun to grow with unprecedented determination, overcoming the long-standing reputation of poverty and violence. MORTAR seeks to further this growth, focusing on empowering underserved individuals through entrepreneurship.

“Although there is a great progress being made in this community, the benefits have not reached all of the residents equally,” says Thomas. “This program will seek to bring opportunity to those who previously may have thought that business and entrepreneurship was not an option for them.”

Thomas, Derrick Braziel, and Allen Woods started MORTAR in June 2014 with the belief that they could do more to support entrepreneurs who were traditionally overlooked. “We had concerns about the OTR development being equitable and we say MORTAR as a way to help create more opportunities through entrepreneurship,” says Thomas.

MORTAR offers a nine-week business course designed to help urban entrepreneurs start or grow their dream businesses. This course is targeted towards underserved and underrepresented Cincinnati entrepreneurs. Additional business services provided by MORTAR include: one-on-one mentorship, legal support and connections to potential funding streams.

They have also started a unique co-working/pop-up shop concept in OTR designed to provide opportunities for entrepreneurs to test their ideas in real-time. Whether it is for a day, weekend or month, MORTAR’s co-working facility and pop-up shop will provide real-time experiences designed to help students earn revenue, customers and lessons associated with operating a business.

Since launching, MORTAR has continued to find additional ways to remove barriers and add to the entrepreneurship ecosystem here in Cincinnati. “I want Cincinnati to be a city where big things happen – where entrepreneurship comes from many different walks of life,” says Thomas. “I want Cincinnati to be a city in which your demography doesn’t determine your destiny. I want Cincinnati to believe in its own people.”

Thomas says Cincinnati is on the brink of a major comeback. “I hope MORTAR provides an opportunity for us to build together,” he adds. “We would love to be able to take MORTAR to additional neighborhoods throughout Cincinnati because it truly is a great city with awesome people.”

MORTAR is located in OTR at 1329 Vine Street and their pop-up shop, Brick OTR, is located next door. To learn more about MORTAR, visit www.weareMORTAR.com.

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