Emerging men's designers on the East and West coasts don't have a lot of exposure in St. Louis, according to Brian Simpson, owner of East + West. The 28 year old who grew up in the Kirkwood area is on a mission to change that.
Formerly a financial planner, Simpson recently opened East + West in the heart of Downtown Kirkwood with his wife Lauren. The boutique is one of the few in St. Louis catered toward men's fashion.
"I wanted to create an atmosphere and culture that’s comfortable for guys to come into," Simpson said. "What I’ve tried to do is have a very antique Americana feel to the store with a lot of industrial metal and antique wood. It's designed in a setting that feels like a guy’s store."
East + West will focus on delivering quality and unique products with a focus on made in the USA brands.
"I want to showcase a lot of these designers that you can’t find anywhere in St. Louis," Simpson said, adding that he has been granted exclusivity rights to sell certain designers' brands in St. Louis.
Simpson grew up in Kirkwood and Des Peres and graduated from Parkway South before attending Mizzou. Even though he went into finance, he always had an interest in culture and fashion.
"I always belived in (opening a men's store) and dreamed about it, so my wife and I took the plunge before we started a family," he said.
Kirkwood is a perfect home for East + West, according to Simpson.
"What's cool about Kirkwood is that people here really support this community," Simpson said. "If you’re part of community they’re going to stand behind you."
The store's location at 205 N. Kirkwood Rd. near the intersection of Jefferson Avenue puts East + West in the heart of Downtown Kirkwood.
"It's a great set up," he said. "I feel like Downtown Kirkwood is really starting to focus again on retail and it has a very shop local feel to it."
Simpson plans to help other fashion boutique's in the area. East + West carries a small line of women's clothing.
"If women are looking for more, I can send them over to , or ," he said.
In addition to fashion, Simpson has a love of music and art and wants to mix those elements into East + West. He sees artist events in the store's future, and he blogs monthly playlists on the East + West website.
East + West will hold a grand opening celebration Saturday, from 7-9 p.m., which will include drinks, appetizers by Salt, a DJ and a raffle for a pair of boots from J SHOES.