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Hugh Boutique

by Brian Fichtner
on 03 November 2009

Bravely introducing retail projects to economically-challenged downtown Detroit, Joe Posch does it with style, most recently adding Hugh to his roster of successful ventures. The eastern Michigan native started with his design store Mezzanine and Hugh, conceptualized as a "retail happening" rather than a pop-up, marks his latest.

Offering masculine home, decorative and personal accessories with a swinging twist, Posch carefully curates the mixture of vintage and contemporary wares to reflect that hard-to-come-by but perpetually fashionable period of '60s high style. The interior, modeled after a chic bachelor pad, is replete with a vintage Cado wall system secured from the DIA (Detroit Institute of the Arts) board room post-Michael Graves renovation.


We took a moment to chat with Posch about short-term retail, a few of his favorite items and the creative spirit of Detroit.

Let's start with the obvious. Why would anyone open a pop-up shop—I mean, retail happening—in Detroit, the city hardest hit by this economic crisis?
There are two parts to that. The first is a refrain you'll hear often—there is plenty of space available here, and it is not that expensive. It's easy to get in and do something for fun or excitement here because of the minimal exposure.

But the flip side of that is people are the same here as they are in New York—you need to work hard to capture their attention, particularly as an independent retailer. And I've found one good way to do that is to threaten to take something away before they get a chance to see it.


How'd did you settle on the theme for Hugh?
I have been obsessed with the "high end" style of the '60s and '70s for some time, the stuff that gets overlooked in favor of dippy hippy or cheesy disco style in surveys of the period. My personal taste runs very much to a conservative classic modern and I wanted to find a way to mix that up and make it a little more accessible to the kind of guys I know—guys who will choose something well-designed if it is cool and the right price point.

So you're not just jumping on the Mad Men bandwagon?
You know, I have actually never seen Mad Men. I don't have TV. But if it helps people understand where this is coming from, then fantastic! If there is any bandwagon I'm jumping on it's the "Playboy After Dark" bandwagon.

Interview continues with more great items after the jump.

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