Martin + Osa

Martin + Osa is my new favorite fashion concept store. Brought to us by the same people who created American Eagle Outfitters, M+O demonstrates great design, great fashion and a great story still untold. I first noticed the store at the Mall of America: a external finish of white with a streak of cobalt blue attracted my attention.

It took weeks for my curiosity to get the best of me and draw me into the store. There are no pictures or other evidence of the store’s namesakes inside the store, so I had to ask, “Who’s Martin? Who’s Osa?”

Turns out Martin and Osa Johnson were in the vein of Ernest Hemingway, Amelia Earhardt, Beryl Markham and other 1930s-style explorers. Google shows them seated next to a Sikorsky S-39 “Spirit of Africa”.

And while you might expect a refreshed 1970s Banana Republic, with done-over safari gear and military surplus, Martin + Osa is anything but. This new “refined casual clothing” concept offers extra fine Merino wool sweaters that are soft to the touch and comfortable to wear. True, there are a smattering of obligatory white shirts and jeans, but with fresh styling and intuitive flairs that make it worth the visit.

God is in the details. Check out the price tags. The material is something between cloth and plastic, even the safety pins are a fresh redesign of a classic. Some thinking went into this concept before it hit the mall concourse.

Check it out