A few hours with Stacia Canon is a real New York City history lesson. We stopped by her new namesake store on Sullivan St a few weeks ago and were thrilled to discover new brands and a fresh retail perspective. The neighborhood is in her blood; her father grew up on Washington Place and her grandmother grew up on Bleecker Street. The basketball courts on Sixth Ave near her store-many years ago this was where her grandparents owned the Fugazy theatre. The store is a sort of homecoming for Stacia, who used to own the fashion-forward Dernier Cri in Meatpacking before it closed in 2008. Stacia spent some time traveling and consulting before returning to her retail roots. This time her perspective is less rock ‘n roll and a little quieter. Both stores have combined Stacia’s strong, prevailing points of view without the pretentious tone. Canon is the place to shop when you want something you’ve never seen before; the store is stocked with designers St. Roche, Argentinian label Trosman, Bangkok-based Wonder Anatomie, and shoe designer Susana Traça.
What are some of the reasons that your Sullivan St. location is so unique to you and the city?
I grew up in Miami, but I have deep roots here: I lived around the corner for 14 years. My grandparents grew up within blocks of the store. They were married across the street at St. Anthony’s church. My grandfather’s family ran a theater in the 1920’s at the corner of MacDougal and Houston [now the William F. Passannante ballfield). It was called the Fugazy Theater and it was sold to the city back in 1929 to expand the ACE subway line. Even now, Sullivan street has retained so much of its charm. The neighbors here keep it very real. The food is awesome. I love it here.
How would you describe the aesthetic of your new shop, Canon?
Fun. Comfortable. Easy and interesting at the same time. My ultimate goal is for shoppers to have a sense of discovery when they come here.
What aspects of the merchandise assortment at Canon are an extension of your personal style?
I appreciate form and function, but I have a weakness for special, unique pieces with killer details and that’s what I’m drawn to when buying for the store. The world is full of homogenized assortments that you can get for less online and I have no interest in selling stuff that isn’t unique or inspired.
Who are some of the designers we can expect to find at your new store?
Markus Lupfer, Figue, Antoni & Alison, JTBYJT, Whit, Apiece Apart, Umit Unal, Asli Filinta and several other designers you never heard of!
What characteristics do you look for in young designers?
I love inspired designers that follow their own path and don’t get trapped by trends or industry pressure to constantly design more pieces and more deliveries. It kills the passion. I look for designers who love what they’re doing. Ultimately, it comes out in the final product.
Who is the Canon customer?
She’s a woman who knows what she likes and dresses for herself. She doesn’t care if anyone else gets it. That said, she also has high standards and appreciates a well-executed garment.
How has the retail environment changed since opening your first downtown success, Dernier Cri?
I ducked out of retail just before the recession and a lot has changed in the buying world since then, at least domestically speaking. A lot of people got burned during the recession. Now brands require a deposit when you order for the first season, so you’re paying 30-50% of your order 5-6 months before you even receive it. I get that they need to protect themselves, but it’s brutal for new small retailers!
Why do you make such a great effort to stock newcomers, despite the risks?
To me, it’s much more of a risk to deliver established brands that have already saturated the market. The designers at CANON NYC aren’t everywhere else. In fact, some of them aren’t anywhere else! At least, not in North America. And that’s what my customers are looking for: fresh, new designers that can deliver the same quality that an established brand can.
What are you most looking forward to as you rekindle your love of being a store owner?
I love discovering new talent and then sharing it with my customers. I get a total rush when someone gets excited about something I introduce them to.
What are three of your spring wardrobe staples?
Asli Filinta’s ruffle sleeved sweatshirt, JTBYJT’s fitted denim jacket, any of Antoni & Alison’s digital print silk dresses.