I’ve said it before, I love alleys. Those secret pathways that lead you to someplace magical. Pasadena continues to surprise me with its little-big-city charm because as I walked a familiar alleyway, alongside Il Fornio and the backdoor of J.Crew, I discovered another gem: Mohawk General Store. Unlike J.Crew, this shop isn’t seen from Colorado and Fair Oaks. It’s only visible along Smith Alley. Which amps up its appeal. Its dark grey exterior and stark white lettering against the old brick create a hipster-y ambiance. One that says, everything inside here is cool. Upon entrance, I confirm its exterior message. Everything inside here is cool.
Boutiquey yet hipster-y, Mohawk General Store (founded in 2010 in Silverlake by husband and wife Kevin & Bo Carney) appeals to two extremes–those who love a sophisticated (and expensive) boutique and those who prefer things a bit off kilter. Items are made with soft material and interesting details (dark jeans with velvet polka dots anyone?) but with a gentle twist (like the Glove Shoe in Faux Iguana Blue).
While prices skyrocket into the high hundreds, (those skinny jeans with black velvet polka dots are $400), each piece is just that — a piece. You won’t find these items elsewhere. Take the Olivia Jumpsuit in Silk, for instance. $700. But it’s a silk jumpsuit. Or the beautiful leather motorcycle jacket for $1500. Mohawk General Store prides itself on its unique and “hard-to-come-by” brands. Their most popular designers include many I don’t recognize, such as Dries van Noten, Tellason denim, APC, and Offcine. We’re talking eclectic.
But Mohawk General Store sells more than just clothes — it’s got jewelry (delicate and elegant); purses (they teamed up with Clare Vivier to create a small amount of pouches); sunglasses, shoes, lotions, candles books, even stationery. My favorite non-clothing item? A burlap tote with Pasadena California USA printed on it. The entire bag is lined, making it a perfect reusable grocery bag. Plus, at only $65, it won’t break the bank.
If you want cool, if you want unique, stroll down Smith alley, behind J.Crew near Fair Oaks and Colorado. Mohawk General Store is waiting for you.