National Trend Expert Says So
Hey Woodlands! You're trendy
Whenever trend spotter Tom Julian travels to a new city on business, he arrives a few days early to check out the latest retail trends. So when he came to Houston a few days ago, he headed directly to The Woodlands to check things out.
Yes, The Woodlands.
He was intrigued by the mix of independent retail boutiques, chain stores, entertainment and dining choices. He marveled at a hip new 70-room boutique hotel, the Avia, along with loft and townhome complexes within walking distance of retail establishments.
"Now you get why people don't have to leave The Woodlands," he said. "It's self contained there."
It's a trend Julian, who owns a New York branding company, sees everywhere from Pittsburgh to San Diego. Far flung suburbs are maturing, with new lifestyle centers that provide nearly everything the big city has.
Julian was intrigued by Tattu, a store at Market Street-The Woodlands that features customized jeans in 48 hours, using a variety of denim washes, embroidery and detailing. "It's a very viable concept. The only thing I've seen like it is at an independent store in Beverly Hills," Julian said.
He also singled out Norton Ditto for its mix of men's tailored clothing and modern sportswear, and the Tommy Bahama store (the only store the casual menswear chain has in Texas).
He also noticed that most stores he visited in The Woodlands close at 6 p.m. Store owners told him that their customers prefer dining and entertainment to shopping.
In the city, Julian checked out 310 Rosemont in River Oaks Shopping Center and Lot 8, owned by Project Runway winner Chloe Dao, in Rice Village. And he planned a trip downtown to check out Forever XXII and BCBG in the Houston Pavilions. "I am intrigued by urban development," he said, noting that increased downtown retail development is another national trend.
He noticed that smaller independent stores in Houston, like in the rest of the nation, carry a good selection but not a range of sizes. "What does the independent store do to survive? They don't do a lot of smalls. Good selection, but most don't carry an extensive size range."
Julian will be at the Nordstrom Galleria store tonight (7-9 p.m.) to sign copies of his book, Nordstrom Guide to Everyday Dressing, and advise Houston men on how to update their wardrobe.