The mountain town-inspired lifestyle apparel brand kicked off its Denver flagship last Friday with local brews, live music and a Wyoming Whiskey ice luge.
Writer: Carly Terwilliger
On a rainy, chilly Denver night, the grand opening party for Mountain Khakis’ new flagship was a haven of light and music in Larimer Square downtown. The brews were provided by Colorado’s Left Hand and Upslope, but the Wyoming Whiskey shots – complete with an ornately carved ice luge – were a nod to the brand’s roots.
The new retail space bears the distinctive stamp of Colorado’s neighbor to the north, but with a mountain town aesthetic sure to make Denver-ites feel right at home. “We created the store through the lens of mountain style, with all the funk, dirt and grit that’s built into our brand,” Mountain Khakis Brand Manager and Director of Creative Development Jen Taylor told SGB in an interview before the opening. “We celebrate imperfection.”
That may be true, but in this writer’s opinion the “Live Nudes” sign above the dressing room entrance is pretty perfect.
The store was packed Friday night with laid-back revelers in fleeces and puffies nodding along to the bluegrass soundtrack provided by Woodshed Red. Peanut shells littered the floor, and Taylor and her team were cheerfully working the room and ensuring everyone knew where the whiskey could be found. And no-one was having more fun than Mountain Khakis President Ross Saldarini, who good-naturedly walked away with a few of the live auction items.
“Retail was always in the business plan for us from day one,” said Taylor. “It’s about getting an opportunity to present the MK vibe in person and taking people to that place.” The MK vibe means there’s an artificial campfire and a mini-saloon in the store. It also means that proceeds from the live auction went to Mountain Khakis’ partner nonprofits – Conservation Colorado and Big City Mountaineers.
“These guys are longtime partners,” said Gabe Kiritz, public lands business organizer for Conservation Colorado. “They’re awesome, and it’s a great event.” Mountain Khakis’ choice of Denver turned out to be particularly timely for the outdoor brand, as evidenced in part by an ad run last month by Conservation Colorado in The Salt Lake Tribune and Deseret News calling for the Outdoor Retailer show to come to the Mile High City. “We have stronger beer. We have taller peaks. We have higher recreation. But most of all, we love our public lands,” the ad said.
As the residents of the Front Range look forward to summer while negotiating Colorado’s famously schizophrenic spring weather, Mountain Khakis is looking to be their post-outdoor-recreation uniform. “In the landscape of mountain apparel, we own the après scene,” commented Taylor. “We’re the tavern and trailgate brand, and we love the celebration of the moment.”
Friday was certainly about savoring the present, but Mountain Khakis is already planning to open more retail locations in the future. Said Taylor, “We’re actively looking at two to three additional markets – Nashville and Portland are on the top three list, and we’ve looked at a few other locations, including Austin.” In addition, as announced last week, the mountain town-inspired lifestyle apparel brand will be taking its philosophy on the road with a cross-country Hell Yeah Tour beginning in Washington, D.C. April 10. The tour will conclude outside the Denver flagship store October 10, 2017.
Photos courtesy Carly Terwilliger and Mountain Khakis