It’s all part of “the Miami vocabulary,” explained Roma Cohen, one half of the husband and wife team behind locally based label Alchemist. Founded in 2007, the brand may not be new to the industry but its in-house label is, and it’s causing quite a stir. And in a recent piece for The New York Times, Nick Remsen charts the rise of the retailer, whose lifestyle-focused fashion reflects the city’s new multi-culturally-influenced, casual-luxe aesthetic, and counts today’s current crop of music stars among its growing clientele.
Originally a multi-brand boutique, Alchemist carved out a niche in the high-end market, introducing brands such as Rick Owens and Chrome Hearts to the Miami fashion scene. But after identifying a gap in the local offering, the Cohens decided to launch their own independent label that Roma has called a “new dialogue” in fashion, one that is not “street,” but is also the opposite of formal.
“Alchemist is really part of the fashion culture of Miami now,” the reggaeton star J. Balvin told Nick Remsen, and who along with Justin and Hailey Bieber, Travis Scott, K-pop star G-Dragon and rappers Playboi Carti and Meek Mill, is a fan of the brand - it was Travis Scott who gave the label’s orange fringe ‘Know You Rider’ joggers their now iconic status after he was photographed in a pair on the cover of his single ‘Butterfly Effect’. Fusing luxe textiles and treatments with downtime-inspired style, the brand’s clothes have an artisanal feel - think wire-embroidered sweaters and hand-distressed pants - that taps into the cultural currency of Miami.
And indeed, the South Florida city and its inhabitants play a significant role in shaping the brand, from the hiring of Miami-based photographers to shoot the clothes, to working with Miami-based models, and including local references such as neighborhood names in the line - both Biscayne Bay and Lemon City (now known mainly as Little Haiti) have been featured, as well as Little River, home to the Alchemist studio.
Initially carried solely at Alchemist’s South Beach store, a glass skybox located on the fifth floor of a Herzog & de Meuron-designed parking garage, collections are now stocked by over 80 retailers worldwide, from Barneys New York and Maxfield in Los Angeles, to Selfridges in London and Joyce in Hong Kong, as well as via luxury etailers such as Farfetch. The Cohens also have plans to open franchise stores in Asia, start a shoe line and offer fragrance. “It’s really exciting to dive into these different worlds and then connect it with ours,” Roma told the Coveteur’s Jodi Taylor.
Shop Alchemist on Farfetch here.
Home Page Photo: Michael Stavaridis.