Legendary L.A. Retailer Ron Robinson Is (Happily) Closing Up Shop

After 40 years inside Fred Segal—and nearly as many in Santa Monica—Robinson says goodbye to brick and mortar
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Ron Robinson is one of the best-known names in Los Angeles retail; his store within Fred Segal Melrose has been there for more than four decades. He opened the Melrose site as a men’s casual sportswear shop in 1978 as a place to find jeans and hard-to-find labels, from L.A. designers to international brands. As a result, David Bowie, Jimi Hendrix, and other rock stars shopped there—it was one of the few places male rockers could find clothes cool enough for their images back in the days of yore. Jennifer Garner, Drew Barrymore, Laird Hamilton, Sasha Baron Cohen, and Orlando Bloom are current fans.

In 1983 Robinson opened Apothia within the store for beauty brands (Lorac) and unique fragrances (Creed, Byredo, etc.) and eventually branched out to children’s clothes and lifestyle items, gifts, and jewelry. He launched his very own fragrance in 2000 called, of course, Apothia, which then led to other beauty products. The men’s and women’s clothing brands there include Comme des Garçon, Hudson, Madeworn, Missoni, Norma Kamali, and Stella McCartney. Robinson was one of the first retailers to feature rock T-shirts along with luxe designer fashion pieces.

The Santa Monica flagship near Arizona Avenue includes more lifestyle and home products, like Missoni home and other furnishings. But both stores will be closing up shop—or shops—soon: the Santa Monica outpost will shutter in November, and the location within Fred Segal will close early in 2020.

Robinson told WWD this week that he isn’t shuttering because of weak sales, the decline of retail in general, or anything of the sort. He simply wants to have more of a life with his family. “It’s important that people know what this isn’t,” he said. “It isn’t bankruptcy, losing our lease, going out of business, or a relocation sale. This is just the way my journey is unfolding, so let’s enjoy it because it’s a happy ending!”

RonRobinson.com, however, will continue to sell clothes and beauty items, and the Ron Robinson Apothia brand will live on—a new collection with Missoni is coming out this year. Are giant closing sales coming? We’ll be watching.


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