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Dover Street Market

dover street market"Walking into" Dover Street Market "can feel like entering an exotic aviary," reports Matthew Schneier in The New York Times (4/10/14). The store sells apparel, not pets, but its staff comes "from as far afield as Tokyo; Seoul, South Korea; Brisbane, Australia; and Chanute, Kan. They are dressed and dyed following their own inclinations" and include "punk rockers, young designers and former gallerists in addition to the usual career sales people."

"We hired individuals with strong style," says James Gilchrist, the store’s general manager, who "estimated he interviewed 400 people for the 40 positions." This means that "anyone hoping to find a piece that a staff member is wearing on a nearby rack may be out of luck." "A lot of what these kids wear, we are not necessarily selling," says James. The goal is "to become one of New York’s most esoteric and inspiring shopping experiences." In addition to their sartorial splendor, the staff is also carefully trained.

The store is owned by Commes des Garcons, "which may explain both its emphasis on customer service — a particular obsession of the Japanese … and its encouragement of self-expression." "I feel that my eyes are being trained to see everything in a Comme des Garcons way, in a sense," says staffer Nina Hahn. "Every job I’ve had has prepared me for success here," says co-worker George Oh. "I feel like an astronaut that’s finally made it to another galaxy." In addition to New York, Dover Street Market has stores in London and Tokyo.