Our guide to the best New York denim shops, from iconic retailers to under-the-radar boutiques and the best in vintage.

New York is where denimhead dreams are made. The Big Apple has forever been a hub for some of the biggest and most influential denim brands in the world, and the denim culture throughout the city is second to none. So if you’re going to be in the city for the upcoming edition of Denim Days and Kingpins NYC, denim shopping should definitely be on your agenda.

In addition to mega-flagships for major brands such as Levi’s who recently opened their biggest store in the world on Times Square, there is a whole crop of stores and boutiques you need to check out. The city is home to legendary store like Self Edge, Blue in Green, and 3X1 as well as well-known vintage spots like 9th St Habberdashery, WGACA, Raggedy Threads, and Stella Dallas. To make this listing extra special we spoke to some of our local friends in the city to give you an insiders perspective on the must-see stores and places to hang-out. Like out Hong Kong City guide, we’ve even created a Denim Dudes NYC City Guide on google maps with all the listings featured below plus more.

MANNAHATTA

A new store on our radar is Mannahatta on Orchard Street, which is a destination for rare and hard-to-find Japanese and American treasures—brands like Kapital and Needles. Situated in The Lower East Side, the space is a destination for shopping, good eats, and low-key but chic hangouts for skaters, editors, stylists, and downtown kids. It stocks handcrafted, quality pieces and the staff are highly educated about the products and the coziness of the store lends itself to taking the time to appreciate the work and quality of each piece.

NAKED & FAMOUS

We all know how much a denim obsessive Naked & Famous Jeans founder Brandon Svarc is, but we didn’t know he was gonna go so hard with his new NYC flagship. The space is loaded with features that will make even the most discerning denim customer wet at the lips. 100 percent cotton denim floor tiles? Check. A chain stitching machine that sits on a table made from 1,000-year-old wood? Check. Floor-to-ceiling Fade Wall? Check. It’s clear that Brandon put a lot of time and effort envisioning this indigo dream concept store. Keep an eye out for the hidden door that opens with a tug of an antique Japanese doll, indigo-dyed 1950s comic book printed wallpaper, a main counter dyed with natural indigo and a 10-foot illuminated logo that sits in the store’s main window. Brandon will also be at Denim Days for a meet and greet along with a preview of the new Dragon Ball Z x N&F jeans.

TOTOKAELO

After a year or so out in a temporary location on Bowery in an old bank (now housed by Supreme) Totokaelo returns to Crosby street in a newly renovated space. The curation of the store is refreshing and exciting for the city. It focuses on brands that appeal to fashion lovers and denim is a heavy part of the stock where you can find high-end pieces from the likes of Sacai, Junya Watanabe and Y Project. They often hold special in-store events so its worth keeping an eye on their Instagram to see if anything is happening when you’re in town.

AYR

If you’re looking for contemporary womenswear denim, lifestyle brand AYR, recently opened its first permanent location in SoHo. The boutique boasts 600 square feet and serves up a full selection of its made-in-America jeans. Imagining a versatile wardrobe that can be worn ‘All Year Round’ was the starting point for founders Maggie Winter and Jacqueline Cameron. Staying true to the designers’ founding tenet of functionality, the clothing in AYR has a clean, neutral aesthetic, with effortless pieces designed to form the base of a polished, sophisticated wardrobe.

STOCK VINTAGE

Stock Vintage, set in a late 1800’s building on East 13th Street, is the type of place where you know what’s there is going to be good–and priced accordingly. Melissa Howard opened Stock in 2006, and there’s evidence of the telltale signs of a talented hoarder: stacks of clothes on every available surface along with functional antiques and unique interior items.

“Stock is like walking into a museum, I’m always surprised and impressed by Melissa’s treasures.”

Eric Kvatek, Photographer (@eric_kavatek)

NEPENTHES NEW YORK

If you’ve heard about Needles Japan then you should know about Nepenthes, the parent company to South2West, Engineered Garments, Suicoke, and, of course, Needles. While there isn’t a great denim selection on offer, the type of items available on the racks is enough to inspire any fashion affectionado, making it a must-visit in NYC. The store is located in Hell’s Kitchen, an area with no other competing stores, but fan’s from around the world make the trip – so should you.

ECKHAUS LATTA

The duo behind Eckhaus Latta have become a favourite on the NYFW circuit over the past 5 years and last year solidified their cult following with a physical store. Tucked away upstairs in the “Chinatown Mall,” aka 75 East Broadway, the Eckhaus Latta shop is a hidden gem that goes against traditional retail rules. It’s on the second floor—no foot traffic! There is no sign, there is no window display—no mannequins even. But once you’re inside its a serene and and spiritual retreat that feels entirely in and of the world of Eckhaus Latta.

CHURCH STREET SURPLUS

Unlike many of NYC’s highly curated vintage stores, Lable Horowitz of Church Street Surplus keeps things interesting with a store thats stuffed to the gills that make it a treasure trove to dig through. Over the years, he has bought odds and ends of anything and everything, from sirens to deadstock military and just about anything that surrounds that culture.

“Possibly one of the last true remaining Surplus stores which only sells used military but also has a constant rack of denim jackets and jeans.”

Joseph Au, Creative Director, Billionaire Boys Club/Icecream (@nuevo.jo)

SLIGHTLY ALABAMA

Stroll down Bleecker Street in The West Village and there’s no shortage of shopping options, with many well-known designers alongside independent boutiques. But, relatively new to the neighbourhood is a men’s boutique called Slightly Alabama. Its shelves are full of hand-made leather goods and painstakingly curated men’s workwear and heritage-inspired clothing; expect brand names such as Krammer & Stoudt and Freenote Cloth. Be sure to check out the hidden room located in the back of the store, past the belts and wallets, which Slightly Alabama founder and Alabama native, Dana Glaeser, affectionately calls his dive bar. Here he has hosted belt making classes and even the recent NY Denim Hangs event.

KINFOLK

Thinking beyond just retail, Kinfolk in Williamsburg is a lifestyle brand. It has bars/cafes just a few steps away from the store, making it the hangout day and night for the cool kids who enjoy a brand that can provide you with a solid fit and a place to wear it. The interior has a true NYC loft feel to it and the labels on offer are unique to NYC with a range of streetwear favourites as well as Japanese imports from the likes of Wacko Maria.

GRAND STREET LOCAL

Just a couple of doors down from Supreme’s Williamsburg store is a reliable hub for vintage clothing that stretches from authentic 60s through to 90s streetwear. Jon Feldman, who owns the store with his wife Jenna, is highly educated on his vintage history and the stories behind the products he stocks which will leave you feeling solid about what you’ve purchased. Notable highlights include the on-point selection of vintage tees, jeans and sneakers. You’re guaranteed to find something truly unique and leave having learned something new!