Thursday, January 2, 2014

So Long, Incognito! We're So Sad to See You Go!!!

Photo Borrowed from Incognito's Facebook Page
It's the end of an era and Royal Oak, Michigan will never be the same. Incognito has been located at the corner of 4th and Main for over 20 years and recently announced that at the end of this month they will officially close the doors of their retail location. This space has been one of my favorite places to shop for as long as I can remember and it's truly hard for me to see it go. This is where I got my first pair of Jeffrey Campbell's and my first pair of Creepers, for a shoe whore these are two very significant memories. At some point in high school I even got a pair of velvet leopard print pants that I over wore with way too much confidence for way too many years. I love the merchandise that I bought at Incognito as much as the memories I have of wearing it.

Reminiscing about the store, I started to reminisce about the city itself. It was once a place with lots of punk rock kids hanging out on the corners and stores like The Cat’s Meow, Cinderella's Attic, and Off the Record to shop at. Noir Leather used to be a huge retail space on Main Street, it too is now merely a shell of its former self. Many of the stores have had to move to smaller locations off Main Street to be able to stay afloat. Royal Oak is not really a place you go to shop anymore, it’s mostly a strip of bars and restaurants with just a few neat spots left including UHF, Scout, and Saffron.

The good news is that this is not the end of Incognito, it is merely a morphing of the brand and what they do. When they opened the doors in 1982 they sold sunglasses, when it closes it doors at the end of the month it will turn into an online retailer for none other that, sunglasses and eyewear. We got a chance to ask the store manager about the closing of the store, the future of the brand, and some of her favorite memories. Check out what Manager Angie Yaldoo had to say and head out to the store before January 31st to land some deals and to say goodbye. I know I will be going on one last shopping spree and probably tearing up a little while I'm there. In the words of Boys to Men, "it's so hard to say goodbye to yesterday."

Hip In Detroit- Why is Incognito closing its retail store?
Angie Yaldoo- "Because nothing good lasts forever... kidding. The owners have decided to retire the retail division of the business and focus on the Incognito Eyewear Wholesale end of the company, which is how it all started, over 30 years ago."

Hip In Detroit- Will you still be able purchase online? If so what?
Angie Yaldoo- "Our eyewear will still be available online and across the country at other retailers."

Hip In Detroit- What day will you officially close?
Angie Yaldoo- "We plan to be open through the end of January, depending on how soon we liquidate everything. Merchandise is going quick!!"

Hip In Detroit- Will you have any sales before closing?
Angie Yaldoo- "We have started our sale, and are currently 30% off of the entire store, excluding any Detroit Merchandise, and we will increase the percentage weekly."

Hip In Detroit- Do you remember the first time you went to Incognito? Tell us about it.
Angie Yaldoo- "As far back as I can remember, I was always on the hunt for cool independent stores. My sister, who is six years older than me, took me down to Royal Oak to go to Cinderella's Attic, which was located across from Incognito. I remember seeing the craziest, wildest shoes in the window, and fell in love. I was too little to fit into anything, but I remember she left with a black velvet outfit with gold embroidery, and I thought it was the coolest thing ever. I knew that Incognito would be my go to store as soon as I would be able to fit into the clothes and shoes..."

Hip In Detroit- What will you miss most about working at/managing the store?
Angie Yaldoo- "Besides the obvious; clothes, shoes, and accessories, I will definitely miss the people. From my amazing Incognito family, to my regular customers, and everyone in between. I have developed an endless amount of friendships, and have met so many cool, interesting people that I will never forget. It was always cool to know, that I could go to work and see more than one familiar, friendly face everyday."

Hip In Detroit- Worst customer experience?
Angie Yaldoo- "hmmm.. haha... there is one that always stands out to me. A customer was trying to return a dress that her dog chewed up, and was getting loud with me for kindly letting her know that I wouldn't be able to give her,her money back, but offered to order her a brand new one. Apparently that wasn't good enough, so she threw her credit card at me... haha. Well I'm sure you can guess what happened next..."

Hip In Detroit- What is your favorite display window that you did over the years and why?
Angie Yaldoo- "This is a hard one, and somewhat ironic since I'm not a huge holiday person... but two of my favorites, were Christmas windows, last years "Blizzard of Oz", and another themed "Christmas in Hell." Ohhh and the creepy, carnival, masquerade Halloween display I did years ago, was pretty sweet. They were so much fun to do, and definitely, made a statement."

Hip In Detroit- Favorite item you ever purchased at Incognito?
Angie Yaldoo- "C'mon, I can't pick just one!!! I have a favorite in every category, from jacket, to shirt, to necklace, to earring, to boots, etc... I could list them all but I don't want to bore you."

Hip In Detroit- What other stores in the area would you recommend to someone who loved to shop at Incognito and can't anymore?
Angie Yaldoo- "There isn't one store that covers both men's and women's, apparel, footwear, and accessories, but there are definitely a few great local boutiques, that you should all support; Lost & Found Vintage for your one of a kind vintage items, Saffron to get your bohemian rock 'n' roll fix of women's apparel and accessories, Caruso Caruso for premium denim and a variety of fashion brands for dudes and chicks, Burn Rubber for all you sneakerheads, and Double Up for streetwear labels. Other local brands that you should show your love to are, Aptemal, InkAddict, and Vile Company."

Hip In Detroit- What's next for Angie Yaldoo?
Angie Yaldoo- "I am excited to continue to work for Incognito with the wholesale division, in addition to freelance wardrobe styling, personal shopping, and retail consulting."

I would like to personally thank Incognito for being a shopping staple for the last 20 years of my life. You had a great space and a great staff. I wish everyone who worked there happiness and success in whatever they do next. Goodbye sweet friend!


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