Business Development Spotlight Travel, Shopping & Leisure Fara Illich September 25, 2010

“To us, fashion means nothing. It’s all about comfort and a personal sense of style,” says Kurt Blaydorn. The founder of Designer District, Blaydorn is chatting with me by stacks of uber-soft men’s shirts that I keep touching. And touching.
designerI’m betting that’s a problem for most shoppers at this apparel store, the first to open in CityScape. Whether it’s men’s or women’s wear, everything is incredibly touchable, made from the finest grades of cotton, silk and linen.
But don’t worry: the price tags aren’t as pricey as all those fabulous fabrics and designer labels would suggest. “We sell premium merchandise at reasonable prices. That’s how we’ve built customer loyalty,” says Blaydorn.
Those customers, so far, are all Valley residents, since Designer District is a homegrown business. If you love fashion, clothes, or just like to root for local businesses – like most of us do – this is darned exciting stuff. Blaydorn has brought in a great lineup of designer apparel, from big names like Hugo Boss to brand-new labels, like local designer Joy Li, who makes cool, streamlined, drop-dead gorgeous clothes.
designer_logoThe store itself is has an urban-hip feel and most of the labels reflect that aesthetic, including Lamb, Gwen Stefani’s line, The Furies, BB Dakota, Jachs and Agave.
“We make stuff, too,” says Blaydorn. We don’t just passively sell clothes.” He’s not kidding. The store features a line of T-shirts Kurt designed in high quality Pima cotton that go for under $40 each. One of my favorite items, from another Designer District line, Noir + Blanc, is a slinky top in a deep blue for just $34, one of the lower-priced goodies in the store, which also stocks Black Halo’s famous little black dress for $325.
The styles range from ultra-casual – like cargo pants for guys and tunic shirts for women – to cocktail dresses and suits and ties. The biggest emphasis, though, is denim jeans. The store already features some of the top denim lines in the country, including Marc Allison, G-Star Raw and Salsa, whose jeans are supposed to give your booty a leg up, so to speak.
Blaydorn has some juicy plans to keep things hopping, including runway shows outside on the plaza and wine tastings in the store.
One last note: Blaydorn loves to discover and support local talent, and is sending out a call to photographers and artists who’d like to show their work in the store. If you’re interested, contact Kurt at