One doesn’t usually associate obscure Japanese denim brands with Southern mountain cities, but that’s just the kind of place Asheville is. We were excited to discover Old North at our recent visit there, and the thoughtfully curated collection of men’s clothes and gear are just the kind of things you want to reach for during the weekend when Ledbury doesn’t fit the bill. If you’re curious try to raw denim for the first time, or just need to update a well-worn pair of Red Wings, Old North should definitely be on your list. The caveat is that you have to be in Asheville to experience Old North — as of publication they don’t do e-commerce. Owner Jack Roche moved to Asheville from Los Angeles several years ago and hasn’t thought about leaving since. We chatted with Roche about his experience in this small North Carolinian hamlet, and got his tips for a perfect day in Asheville.
How did you end up in Asheville?
My wife and I visited in 2010 while living in Los Angeles and decided we wanted to move and start a shop in Asheville. We loved it here so much.
How long has Old North been around? What was your main inspiration to open a men’s shop?
We started Old North in October of 2012. Our main inspiration was people. We wanted to provide a great service, source amazing products and create a small eclectic neighborhood shop. An obsession with denim was also a huge reason why we wanted to open in the South.
What are some of your favorite things about living in Asheville?
The food, people and fresh air. We don’t miss the city.
What do you see in the future for Old North?
Expansion maybe, but maintaining the same tight collection for the unexpected tourist who stumbles in and finds a little sliver of indigo heaven.
What are some of your favorite brands right now?
Kapital (Japan), Eastlogue (Korea), Snow Peak (Japan), Tomorrowland (Japan), Fat Boy Clothing, LVC, and Norman Porter.
How do you source and find the brands and gear you carry in Old North?
Digging. Lots of time, trade shows and a careful eye. Buying ain’t easy.
What’s a dream day in Asheville like for you?
Breakfast with Billy Moore of Billy Belts, a walk through the neighborhoods, BBQ at Buxton, enjoy the Aviation Cocktail at Crow and the Quill, and end the day with a walk with the dogs.
Visit Old North Clothing at 15 W. Walnut St. in Asheville, North Carolina