Have you ever gone into a boutique and immediately regretted it? You feel like you are a 10 foot tall, slimy alien that no one acknowledges or wants to help. I’ve unfortunately visited some of these bourgeoisie boutiques and say whether you have 40 bucks in your pocket or 40 million in your bank account that shopping atmosphere is for the birds. What I can promise you is that if you visit Decade on East Carson Street, you will be pleasantly surprised and maybe for a moment feel like you have a milli.
Steve Ford founded Decade 5 ½ years ago. When I first meet him, he looks like the Captain of the U.S.S. Swag, and I just happened to step foot on his ship that is filled with pieces that boast edgy and comfortable, cool and clean and definitely a dash of humor. Walking into the store I am pretty sure I’m in a Wes Anderson movie…there are bones in a crate, antique mirrors on the walls, an anchor, a full steel safe (there’s nothing in it, so don’t even try) which has various sunglasses rested on top of it, and hats…everywhere there are hats. I asked Steve about the eclectic and vintage laced hues of the store and he said it is all thanks to his enjoyment of antiquing. The best part of these interesting pieces that Steve finds at flea markets and antiques stores is that you can buy them – I mean if you are in the market for an anchor or a steel safe and you want to buy a nice pair of jeans – this is the epitome of one stop shopping.
Steve grew up in the South Hills of Pittsburgh and went to school for Parks and Recreation, but after working in a heating a cooling company locally, he decided he needed a change of pace. He moved to California to surf, and once out there realized he had to find work asap. He began working for Worn Free – a company that specializes in recreating shirts worn by famous people and quickly became engulfed in the fashion world. Visiting trade shoes and working at Worn Free he decided to come back to Pittsburgh to give the city what it lacked. Steve explained, “There really weren’t any men’s boutiques in the city, and I wanted to be able to not only have a space where women could shop but men as well.”
The city as a result is gifted with Ford’s cultured and eclectic creation. Each side of the floor is dedicated to one gender and there are a range of Pittsburgh T- shirts in the back. Decade carries many local designers, and some more recognizable ones: Obey, Insight, Comune, Howe, Free People, and Lifetime Collective are just a few. Then as I said there are the hats: beanies, fedoras, gatsbies, floppy, cadets and everything in between. Some of the brands Decade carries include Brixton and Goorin Bros. So why the hats? “I feel like when someone has a really good hat on, that is unique and looks right you just want to talk to them,” well said Steve, well said. Who wouldn’t want to be friends with Crocodile Dundee, Indiana Jones, Alex DeLarge, or Sherlock Holmes…its elementary my dear friend – of course you want to be friends with them! So throw it in the bag and let’s keep shopping…
Since my favorite season is fall – I was excited to see all that Decade had to offer, and RadioChumps was lucky enough to get an exclusive look at some pieces that were brand new. Velvet, Patterns, Military influenced pieces are on trend for this fall and Decade has exactly what you are looking for in all of these categories. I think this fall for 2012 you shouldn’t be afraid of your wardrobe…everyone loves a good pair of jeans (Decade has that covered as well), but don’t be afraid to step outside of denim. Leather pants are starting to come out, and if you can find a pair that fits right for your body, it’s a steal for the fall. Patterns are in but mixing patterns has become the thing now. Sure it can scare some people to mix patterns but the thrill of it is so exciting and don’t worry, if you mix the wrong patterns, someone will tell you soon enough (unless you have no good friends).
Let us not forget my favorite article of clothing – scarves. Decade has that on lock as well for both men and women – and for both genders, never underestimate what throwing on a scarf can do for your look (just don’t overdo the accessories too much – we don’t want you looking like Zsa Zsa Gabor when you’re just going to get coffee). While fall is all about stepping your fashion game up -don’t be caught in sweats and zip ups/hoodies all through this season…please, I am begging – there is nothing wrong with stockpiling trendy tees…and Decade has a LOT of these. They have a lot of screen/print t-shirts I had never seen (yes they had a Sally Wiggin shirt and its awesome), some familiar and some thoughtful (all those out there that are salty because there aren’t any 878 or 724 shirts to rep your town – Decade will have just what you need soon). Steve Ford also troves for local art and creates screen t-shirts – allowing for something one of a kind.
Steve Ford is very contentious of the perfect blend of shop etiquette – being friendly and accommodating without pestering. The music played in the store was surprising and impressive (I heard everything from Bon Iver to Lupe Fiasco when I was there) and you can even hear live bands from time to time: “We have local bands play in the store, usually once a month – and sometimes we suspend all the clothes from the ceiling so there is a space to party, laugh, dance and just have a good time.” We cannot forget one of the best treasures the store has – Steve’s dog Yoko. She is by far one of the cutest dogs I have ever seen – and yes she does wear sunglasses – and no, she doesn’t go berserk when he puts them on her. It’s by far one of the craziest and hilarious things I have ever seen and you can’t avoid a smile if you happen to see her in them. Decade reflects the energy of its owner – hip, inviting and thoughtful
1407 East Carson Street Pittsburgh, PA
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*All photos shot by Sarah D’Alessandro