Marc Allen Fine Clothiers Moves Inside Former Cable Car Cinema Space
The new showroom and retail store creates custom clothing and suits for men, and stocks ready-to-wear luxury denim, jackets, shirts and more.
There may not be many local men’s boutiques in Rhode Island, but what we don’t have in quantity, we make up for in quality. Marc Allen Fine Clothiers has upped its game, moving into the larger space next door, which used to be the Cable Car Cinema. The new location, which sat empty for several years after the cinema shut down, preserved the building’s historical details – including brickwork and a six-foot-six-inch door frame that forces its tallest patrons to duck, some of whom actually require custom clothing to fit their own frames – while putting a modern and intimate spin on personalized shopping.
The previous clothing shop next door was too small for what Marc Streisand and team had in store for their next phase. When the RISD landlord suggested Marc Allen move into the larger location, the owner embraced the change.
“We capped out next door. We couldn’t bring in more merchandise, it was too small, there were four of us working inside. There was enough testosterone in that small space,” Streisand says with a laugh. “I jumped right on it. It gave us the opportunity to expand and do what we really wanted to do.”
In the larger showroom, there is now a spacious sitting area with couches and a television, plus a complete bar for entertaining while shopping. Surrounding the seating area are shelves like a library, holding books of custom Italian cashmere, wool and other fabrics for creating suits and high-end clothing items. Past the seating area is the retail space, displaying ready-to-wear items from jeans, blazers and jackets to lightweight, crisp dress shirts, preppy shorts and shoes. Streisand puts the luxury stamp on every item by sourcing rare brands and fabrics that can only be found at this store, including Kiton from Italy, which he considers the best and most luxurious clothing brand in the world.
“I would consider it the pinnacle, the most exclusive brand in the world, out of Naples, Italy, and it is the best there is,” Streisand says, pointing to a $9,000 buttery soft cashmere blazer with intricate embroidery on the chest and sleeves. “There’s nothing better.”
Suits are also custom made using personalized fabrics, selected from books on the epic bookshelf. Now he has the space to display everything in an organized fashion. There are even framed photographs of clients at their weddings and special events, sporting Marc Allen suits and jackets.
“We’ve created an environment where we can design more of our own stuff, bring in brands we want to bring in, and diversify what we have in here, so it encompasses a much greater depth of clothing,” Streisand says. “Service is the crux of everything we do, so we knew with more space, we could actually provide better service for people.”
His favorite part of the store is the seating area. Art surrounds the walls, including an illustration drawn by his friend, a painting by the grandfather of staff member Will Arvanites, and a gifted portrait of Streisand mounted on a horse with his two dogs, given to him for the holiday by his team. It’s displayed by the bar filled with top shelf whiskey and bourbon, of course.
“This is a space for people to hang out and get comfortable. We’re in the relationship business. You can shop anywhere you want. We’re not far from New York; we’re not far from Boston. We need to give guys a reason to come here. If they are comfortable with you, they like you, and you build a relationship with them, now knowing they can get the best product in the world, they don’t have to go anywhere else,” he says. “This seating area was the most expensive aspect, but it was the best investment.”
Streisand is happy to have a new home to help local men dress well. He’s now able to stock some quirkier printed jackets and more casual t-shirts and shorts, too, while still having space to display all of the fabrics for all of their custom work.
“We’re not super trendy. We’re a luxury lifestyle store,” he says. “Classic Italian clothing designed with an American edge so it fits the clients we service.”
Longtime team member Will Arvanites is happily adjusting to the new showroom. “It feels like we finally crossed the threshold of becoming very successful. We were always able to do well next door and be able to punch above our weight, but we were capped at being able to do a certain amount just based on the square footage,” Arvanites says. “This space allows us to do all the things we always wanted to, but never have been able to, just based on size. We’ve created a much more welcoming environment that matches the quality of clothing.”
204 South Main St., Providence, 401-453-0025, marcalleninc.com