Meet Jamie Hultgren of Enze Apparel on Abbot Kinney Boulevard, Venice

13/06/18

Jamie, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
My Enze co-founder Nuri Topbas and I worked together for nearly a decade exploring untapped markets and importing product from around the globe. Nuri is from Istanbul and I’m the So Cal artist type and at a certain point, our conversations surrounding culture and commerce naturally shifted from developing technology and textiles manufacturing to fashion, where we’ve found the most provocative meeting of the minds.

Armed with our imports know-how and unique vantage points, we decided to take the leap into our passion project in 2015 creating Enze, a Los Angeles concept store where we introduce the work of preeminent emerging European based luxury designers to Southern California, a way of celebrating and exploring the unique crossovers between the two cultures.

I’ve been attending fashion weeks and combing through ateliers in Istanbul, New York, Berlin, Milan, Paris and beyond each season since, meticulously curating the work of designers that align with Enze values of quality and sustainability, timelessness, femininity, and whimsy-catching designers at the point where their work is fleshed out and a solid voice is apparent, but before they’re selling in the US or are widely distributed.

After an 8-month construction project overhauling an original 1915 California bungalow on Abbot Kinney Boulevard in Venice, CA, we opened our flagship home in early 2017, where we provide a lifestyle space for international tourists and Venice locals alike to explore new European designs and assist them in building high quality, timeless wardrobes.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
We went through a couple of seasons challenging our vision and testing assumptions about which designers would translate in the US market and why, but like it is with any new endeavor, it simply took time for the true path to emerge.

One of the greatest things about opening a flagship store in Venice is that we now have such a wonderful base of conscientious clientele to draw feedback and inspiration from, and through ongoing conversation, we’re quickly able to determine what designs fit with their lifestyles, and continue to better understand what values and sensibilities weave us together. Like culture itself, fashion is a never-ending conversation. If things ever got too smooth, I’d be nervous.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Enze Apparel – what should we know?
We focus on bringing emerging European based luxury designers to Southern California as a way of exploring and celebrating the unique crossovers between the two cultures. I’m proud to be able to make a wider range of designers from different cultures available in LA for the first time, and for the voices of those designers to become a part of the conversation that is going on in our unique fashion destination on Abbot Kinney Boulevard.

Enze has also been coined as “Net-a-Porter goes East” and that’s been a fun nickname for us- it’s nice that the industry is recognizing and appreciating our exploration of Middle Eastern fashion and modest fashion applied in the US market.

Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
Operating from a place of curiosity and reminding myself that work is play.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Anne Sage @citysage