Crow Thief boutique brings one-of-a-kind style to menswear, celebrates anniversary with fashion show
By Sara Gilman | SDUN Reporter
Crow Thief, a handcrafted, custom and ready-to-wear men’s fashion label and store, reached its one-year anniversary at their South Park boutique this month. Owners will be celebrating their milestone with “An Evening of the Gentlemen” fashion show and affair on Thursday, Sept. 20 at Alchemy Restaurant.
Owner and designer Melissa Hendrix-Lawson established Crow Thief in 2008 with the launch of popular graphic design T-shirts for men and women. By 2010, the company evolved into a full-scale, dual-gender clothing line, with limited edition pieces that were sold to national retailers. At the time, all production occurred in-house, literally, in Hendrix-Lawson’s home in San Diego. With the growing demand and small workspace, she said she felt she was “spreading thin” and decided to focus solely on menswear.
“I geared my line towards men because they don’t necessarily follow trends the way women follow trends,” she said. “I’m not a trendy person, but aware of what’s going on around our environment. I produce a simple silhouette and create an amazing fit with details that are noticeable, yet not distracting.”
Hendrix-Lawson’s passion for style and creation started in high school, she said, where she would deconstruct and design shirts for her friends. She later graduated with an apparel and manufacturing degree from the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in Los Angeles.
While at school, she said she learned the fundamentals of fashion design, such as drawing, sewing and draping. Upon graduation, she became a buyer in the clothing industry and experienced all aspects of budgeting, buying, forecasting for demographics and watching trends.
The idea of opening a boutique became a reality in September of last year, with the perfect spot found in South Park. Hendrix-Lawson transformed the former office space into a combination workroom and retail store with the help of her husband and business partner, Ray Lawson. The Crow Thief store is located at 3009 Grape St., with open hours Thursdays – Saturdays from 12 to 8 p.m. They are available for appointments Mondays through Wednesdays.
Through word-of-mouth marketing and sidewalk appeal, new customers are discovering the store and have the option to buy a limited selection of items directly off the rack. Alternately, customers can work with Hendrix-Lawson to custom fit and design each article of clothing.
“Most of our clients like custom-design,” she said. “It starts with a curiosity about the process and develops into more, with details and questions of their lifestyle. It’s all about finding the right balance between textures and colors and materials to best match the client’s body-type and comfort level.”
Accolades have followed Crow Thief, being named “Best New Menswear Designer in San Diego” by San Diego Magazine and “Top Men’s Retailer” by Riviera San Diego Magazine. The company was also featured in Exquisite Weddings Magazine for their non-traditional, stylish and more personal take on men’s formal wear.
There are more plans for growth, but Hendrix-Lawson said she is “taking baby steps.” Currently, she has 30 people on a waiting list for fittings and is working with two interns.
“Customer service is as important as quality of product. The main goal being attainable, quality items – hand-crafted with custom patterns – and not overpriced,” she said. “We have received nothing but great, positive feedback.”
“The Evening of the Gentlemen” celebration will feature food from Alchemy restaurant and specialty cocktails from Blind Tiger Cocktail Company, highlighted by a fashion showcase of Crow Thief’s latest designs. Tickets for the Sept. 20, 8 p.m. show are $10. For more information and to reserve a space, visit crowthief.com or call 619-961-6210.