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Aloharaginterior_2 Today's balmy weather made this afternoon the perfect time to visit Aloha Rag, the new branch of a Honolulu based designer clothing boutique. It's always a gutsy move for a fashion retailer from outside the area to bust into the competitive Manhattan market. It's even more gutsy when they open in an untested location like on Greenwich Street right next door to the nightclub Don Hill's. It's not exactly a magnet for foot traffic, but much like Jeffrey when it opened on a once quiet stretch of 14th Street, Aloha Rag is counting on becoming a destination anchor as the neighborhood develops. It's not as much of a long shot as it might appear. Though the location is many blocks west of the thick of SoHo's shopping district, the store inhabits space in the shiny, new Hudson Square luxury building which, presumably, will contain a built-in, celebrity laden clientèle upstairs, not to mention the fact that similar luxe residences are popping up all over the neighborhood.
As for the store itself, it has the potential to be a draw. The light, airy white interior has more of a West Coast feeling, as does the merchandise which skews heavily to the casual luxury side. It is neither a place for anyone who would gasp at a $200 cotton t-shirt, nor anyone looking for a red-carpet evening gown.
The store's great strength is its emphasis on oh-so-hip emerging designers like Thomas Wylde, Rivy Ng or Kitsuné.
New Yorkers are always happy to find something they haven't already seen in five other stores, and this location is not particularly tourist friendly, so native patronage is key to its success.Aloharagexterior_2 The fact that Aloha Rag left most of the better known designer labels in Honolulu will probably work to its advantage, as will its cordial staff and laid back ambiance.
And, at least for the moment, you won't have to fight the crowds.
Aloha Rag 505 Greenwich Street between Spring and Canal Streets, SoHo



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