The neighborhood that houses Indigo and Cotton is uniformly old; it’s worn. The buildings on either side of it appear abandoned. It’s several blocks from the menswear shops in downtown Charleston’s King Street, where seersucker, millinery, gingham and plaid fill the storefronts. Walking into Indigo and Cotton is different. There’s white walls, minimalist furniture, potted succulents on shelves. It’s not without its quirky accents — a ladder with books here, leather wallets on wooden blocks there. But if you’re from the urban North or West, you’ll notice familiar brands on the shelves and tables: Engineered Garments, Gitman Vintage, Topo Designs, The Hill-Side.
So the initial thought is: the modern menswear shop has come to the South. And this is something that Brett Carron, owner of Indigo and Cotton, hears often. “They say, oh, this is just like a shop in Brooklyn. It’s like something in New York. That’s probably a product of me having spent some time there,” he said, adding that his time in New York has been the largest factor in his personal style, especially regarding brand discovery and street style “before it was such a major thing.” The shop is full of familiar NYC elements, but it is not a big-city modern menswear shop. This is the South; the locale — and Carron’s background — bleeds in.
Despite the Northern and academic influence, Indigo and Cotton holds onto its Southern charm. The shop has a relaxed aesthetic and a relaxed pace — visitors can sit, read a magazine, enjoy a beer.
“I’m a visual person and have always been conscious of appearances. I think it started [in New York] a long time ago, and my interest was heightened after studying art and design.” This background in design — and Carron’s hands-on experience that followed in auction houses, museums and with private collectors — shines in accents in the shop like a wooden card catalogue that organizes ties, the stadium seating that folds down from the fitting-room wall, the handmade furniture that holds the clothing.
Despite the Northern and academic influence, Indigo and Cotton holds onto its Southern charm. The shop has a relaxed aesthetic and a relaxed pace — visitors can sit, read a magazine, enjoy a beer. And, in curation, the store doesn’t forget its latitude. “When we first opened,” Carron said, “things were very understated and simple — inspired by classic Southern taste, but with our own updated, elevated point of view.” The store now exists with a solid mix of both tried-and-true, laid-back styles and more fashion-forward ones. While minimalist, the store is not stark and ascetic; while modern and stylish, it’s not unapproachable to a primarily Southern clientele.
But Carron doesn’t believe his shop should simply present customers with items they already like; it’s about helping to develop their creative palates. “I’d say our mission is to assist guys in furthering their own sense of style,” Carron noted. He aims to blend tastemaking, from his design expertise, with an intuitive sense of what his customers already like.
So what kind of outfit would Carron pick for the proverbial buyer? “It would be lightweight, for one. It’s warm down here,” he said and laughed. And indeed — when we talked, the heat index in Charleston was over 100 degrees. He’d pick The Hill-Side chinos, a Gitman Vintage oxford shirt, and leather sandals or white Novesta sneakers. It’s an outfit that speaks for his vision, too. “At the end of the day,” Carron said, “We just want to offer some nice things in a unique, casual setting.”
Pieces from the Shop
If You’re Not in Charleston
Mil Chino in Olive Drab by The Hill-Side $158
Flannel Shirt in Sky Blue by Gitman Brothers Vintage $170
Star Master in White by Novesta $89
Aidim in Burnt Tortoise by Moscot $290