Interview with Eddy Chai and Paul Birardi, Co-founders of Odin and New Concept Boutique, Den.


We caught up with Eddy Chai and Paul Birardi, founders of Odin, for the opening of Den—their fourth boutique in New York (following their two Odin stores and Oliver Spencer). Like Odin, Den carries hip clothing from younger designers that is consummately wearable, however Den will feature one designer at a time for four to six week periods. Similar to a gallery, this exhibit-like business model affords the space to offer a greater, more in-depth selection from a particular designer. Den will be the go-to spot for one-offs and limited edition pieces not found elsewhere. The shop itself is warm and inviting; attention to detail is clearly a strong suit as every rack, hanger, light and shelf is carefully chosen and precisely placed.

How is Den different than your other shops?

Den will only carry one designer at a time for a four to six week period. This challenges us to keep creating a new space with each designer. Logistically however, it allows us to really bring in a range of a designer's collection that you might not be able to do in a multi-brand store. For example, Den allows us to show that Cheap Monday, which we are opening the store with, is much more than skinny jeans. Some people don't know that they offer a full line of great clothing including shirts, pants, and shoes. Bringing in one designer at a time also lends itself to unique and limited edition pieces that will only be found at Den and sometimes designed specifically for the collection.

Den also allows us to bring women's lines in without interfering with Odin's mens concept. I'm really excited about Karen Walker who is a designer we'll have in the near future. She's going to bring some stuff that's never been in the U.S. before.

How do you go about selecting designers to feature at Den?


I do it much the same way I do with Odin. In fact, some of the designers we have at Odin will be featured at Den, but at Den we get to show a more complete selection of their work.

While the core design of the store is Den, we did have to keep in mind the designer that would be in the space. We wanted to create a balance between our aesthetic with that of Cheap Mondays.

…So you've opened Odin in the East Village, the bigger Odin on Lafayette, a collaboration for Oliver Spencer, and now Den? That's four shops since 2004! What motivates you? Aren't you tired?

Rest?… What's that? I think motivation and inspiration are sparked by a genuine interest in what we do. It's extremely challenging, but highly rewarding when an idea comes into fruition.

Any other projects or ideas we can expect in the future?

Well, we have several designers on the Den roster including Tim Hamilton, Robert Gellar of Cloak, Karen Walker and Rag & Bone. We'll become a gift shop during the holiday season.

We have a lot of other things that are in the works but I'd rather not say quite yet. You'll have to wait and see…

330 East 11th Street between 1st and 2nd Avenues
New York, NY 10003 map
tel. +1 212 475 0666 (Odin)