Platform Retail Complex Founders Introduce Menswear Shop with Stylist Julie Feingold

The Optimist - Publicity - H 2019
Courtesy The Optimist

Joey Miller and David Fishbein of Runyon Group, with Fishbein's Harry Styles stylist cousin, open the doors of The Optimist, featuring shoppable decor by Jeremiah Brent.

On a mission to turn the outdated shopping mall concept on its ear for a new digital retail era, Joey Miller and his Runyon Group business partner David Fishbein bought a 1960s car dealership in Culver City in 2011. “I was 24 [years old] and Joey was 28, and we came up with this vision for Platform and kind of willed it to fruition,” Fishbein tells The Hollywood Reporter. “We opened three and a half years ago, in the midst of this global change in shopping and retail, this incredible transformation with brands you never thought would go out of business filing for bankruptcy. How do you continue to keep the in-person [shopping] experience relevant and exciting, with brands and stores that resonate and that aren’t found everywhere?”

The duo (also collaborators on Row DTLA, Palisades Village and other developments) found a solution by combing the globe to curate undiscovered talent and inviting the retailers or eateries to pop-up or find a permanent home at Platform, alongside creative businesses. Now, they have applied the same formula to their new multilabel menswear store, The Optimist, which officially opens on Friday, Oct. 4, at the Platform complex.

“Obviously, the name’s very much in homage to the fact we're one of the very few optimists about bricks-and-mortar retail at this point,” says Fishbein. “Our whole business has been driven by seeing opportunity where other people don't. We were struck by how so much of the menswear industry was going streetwear. It’s crushing it. But there are people who just aren’t that customer. On the other end is a more conservative customer looking for double-breasted blazers and pocket squares. We felt there was a niche in between that was not being served.”

Miller, Fishbein and Hollywood stylist Julie Feingold (who works with Harry Styles and is Fishbein’s cousin) pulled in finds from around the world. Items are purchased in limited quantities, typically only one in each size, so customers can be assured that they are getting something unique. About 30 percent of the stock is exclusive to The Optimist in the United States, says Miller, including over 20 labels. Among the finds are Mr. Fox artisanal leather bags from Mexico City, statement suede jackets from Capsul Paris, bandanas hand-dyed in Joshua Tree National Park by a local designer, an orange fleece vest from Drake’s in London, and exclusive sunglasses created for the shop by Bradley Cooper-loved L.A. eyewear brand Dom Vetro.

Feingold and Fisbhein teamed up to design the perfect men’s T-shirt — a $42 crewneck style in white, navy and black — developed in partnership with L.A.-based T-shirt brand Velvet by Graham & Spencer, located across the street in Culver City. A second, $48 T-shirt, in a luxe fabric specially created by the cousins, is coming soon.

In a corner of the shop is a case containing 50 vintage watches, handpicked from International Vintage Watch Company’s Beverly Hills collection of 1,500 timepieces. From Rolexes, vintage Seikos and Vulcains (worn by nearly every U.S. president), all the pieces are priced under $6,000, as Fishbein says the aim is to be “a place where you could begin a watch addiction.”

Also in the mix are apothecary items, giftables and home accessories, such as Brock Paper notebooks made of recycled stones from Mexico City, resin vases by Elyse Graham and ceramics by Peter Sheldon (both L.A. artists), Maou chocolate from Vietnam, mohair blankets by New York-based company Viso, and skincare products from Canadian brand F. Miller.

Decorated by interior designer Jeremiah Brent — who stars with his decorator husband, Nate Berkus, on TLC’s reality television series Nate & Jeremiah By Design — the store’s furnishings and wall decor are all shoppable. Reflecting the apparel assortment, vintage and global finds are paired with custom furniture that Brent designed for the store — available by custom order — alongside items from JF Chen and CB2. “We love that juxtaposition, where it’s not about price point; it’s about how you style it,” says Fishbein.

Brent shares: “The Optimist has a very global perspective and the design reflects that. The space is cohesive in feeling, but each vignette in the store draws inspiration from trips around the world — whether a set of steps seen in Croatia, a pergola spotted in the South of France or a textile born in Peru."

Tapping into her styling skills to give guys instant outfit ideas, Feingold pulls unique looks together on mannequins in the store as well as on the brand’s Instagram page and will head up a styling program offering in-store appointments and at-home closet consultations starting in the spring. A pro tailor will also be on hand by appointment for alterations and customization. 

“The idea is to help guys navigate fashion and not have it be so intimidating, to show you how to adapt things that already exist in your wardrobe and freshen them up with new pieces,” says Fishbein.






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Another differentiator is ongoing event programming centered on the unique qualities of each brand — from a music series with French fashion and electronic music label Kitsuné to a vintage car show with heritage British fashion company Connolly, the original leather suppliers for car manufacturers such as Aston Martin, Bentley, Rolls-Royce and Ferrari.

The aim is to integrate into a customer’s lifestyle “in a way that resonates and isn’t so commercial, where it’s just about making a transaction,” says Fishbein. “Even if you don’t buy anything from us and you keep visiting, that’s a win. We want to be like a fun community clubhouse.”

The Optimist, Platform, 8850 Washington Boulevard, Culver City, (310) 601-0221; open 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily.