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GANT Rugger Graces Abbot Kinney With Superior Sportswear

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Photos via Elizabeth Daniels, 08/08/12

Everyone's favorite Swedish clothing label with an American sportswear vibe has officially opened it's first West Coast store—on the coolest block in America, no less. GANT Rugger is situated on Abbot Kinney Blvd right next to LF, a few doors down from Aviator Nation and a stone's throw away from Intelligentsia Coffee. In other words, it's prime space.

The airy 1,700-square-foot store features a fresh décor punctuated by mid-century modern appeal, which fits well with GANT Rugger's collegiate chic aesthetic. In addition to the label's signature selvaged Oxford shirts, pristine plaid button-downs and vintage-inspired staples, the shop also carries a selection of men's and women's GANT by Michael Bastian pieces. Here, we chatted with GANT Rugger creative director Christopher Bastin to hear more about the new store, his passion for vintage and the brand's West Coast plans.

Why Abbot Kinney?
"The first time I visited Abbot Kinney, I immediately fell in love with it. I was determined to find a space on this street because, to me, this is exactly where we should be. All the neighboring stores are so supportive—there's such a good vibe here. Plus, it's one of the few places in LA where people actually walk around, which I like."

What sets this store apart from other GANT Rugger stores?
"This is our third free-standing GANT Rugger store in the US—we have two in New York. We wanted to take a new approach with this store, starting with the the interior. Our tables were made locally for us and the hardwood floor is from a local gymnasium. Everything else is reclaimed vintage."

Is any of the merchandise exclusive to this store?
"Not yet, but soon we'll be incorporating unique touches to match this great climate, like carrying swim trucks and shorts year-round. It's great because it makes the collection more dynamic."

Have you always wanted to open a store on the West Coast?
"West Coast is our second biggest market after New York. I feel like five or six years ago, we would have had a difficult time succeeding on the West Coast. But now, thanks to the emergence of sportswear influence here, we fit right in."

Do you plan to open more stores on the West Coast?
"I would love to open stores in San Francisco and San Diego, but first we'll probably open up another store in LA. We love it here!"

Do you have any LA plans this weekend?
"I'm going to the Rose Bowl Flea Market on Sunday, so I'm very excited about that. I've been there once before and it was heaven. I'm a total vintage junkie."

What type of vintage do you look for?
"I've been buying pieces for GANT's vintage archive for the past six years. I'd love to take all of the vintage furniture I find in LA back home with me, but it's kind of a pain in the ass to ship to Sweden! [Laughs] I'll try to refrain from buying items that are too heavy to carry back."
· GANT [Official Site]
· Abbot Kinney Named "Coolest Block in America" [Racked]
· GANT Opening First LA Store in July on Abbot Kinney [Racked]