WICKER PARK — A San Francisco-based maker of "absurdly soft" T-shirts and casual clothing for men and women is making its entry into the Midwest with the opening of Marine Layer in a bright and airy storefront along Damen Avenue.
Located in the former Goddess and Grocer at 1646 N. Damen Ave., Marine Layer is scheduled to open on Saturday, bringing a "laid back vibe of permanent summers and 7-day weekends" to the area, according to a press release.
At a preview party last week, Mike Natenshon, founder of Marine Layer, said that his store's inspiration came from an incident where his girlfriend threw out his favorite soft and broken in T-shirt.
The desire to recreate the softness of the discarded shirt compelled Natenshon to launch Marine Layer out of his apartment in 2009, an effort that has since evolved into locations in San Francisco, Palo Alto, Venice Beach as well as Portland, Ore.
All of Marine Layer's clothing is designed and made in San Francisco using a custom fabric blend of two yarns, Pima Cotton and MicroModal, which comes from recycled beech wood, according to the Marine Layer website.
Men's T-shirts are priced at $42 each or three for $90.
Retail director Josh Gladding said Damen Avenue was chosen for Marine Layer's first Midwest outpost because "it is a walk-able neighborhood stretch with a cool local feel and a great mix of people."
“We want to be in the places that we like to visit, so Chicago was an obvious choice,” said Natenshon, who added that Marine Layer could begin experimenting with offering seasonal, geographic-specific clothing for Chicago shoppers since warm weather does not last all year here.
The retailer also has plans to open a Lincoln Park store at 849 W. Armitage Ave. by the end of the year.
Marine Layer, 1646 N. Damen Ave. Hours are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily. 872-206-5668.
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