Aisha Taylor has an eye for fashion - she’s been working in the industry and styling clients for years. Now the Birmingham entrepreneur is using her experience to provide the men of the Magic City somewhere to get fashionable clothing in a comfortable, cool setting. This saving grace comes in the form of a brick-and-mortar on 1st Avenue North by the name of Bridge + Root. The shop makes its grand opening at the newly built Mercantile on Morris on July 16th.
The dream to build a premiere men’s fashion experience is nearly a decade old, and comes by recognizing a need. Her first experience in the retail industry was in high school and didn’t go as planned. However, Aisha isn’t one to let things beat her, and she jumped back into the ring for another round in college. She went to work for County Seat and became a top seller in the Southeast. This success only grew, and she was eventually traveling for Ralph Lauren, working for Saks Fifth Avenue, and became a personal shopper through her own business “Mahogany and Pink”.
It was while shopping for male clients that Aisha realized that the city of Birmingham had a severe shortage of shops dedicated to providing men a source for quality clothing. She set out to create a location for “guys to feel a sense of belonging. Really cool space, great music - kinda loud music. Fun. Educational - because I’m going to teach you some stuff too. How to pair this with that, why not wear that with that.”
Some of the most popular items from the store’s online days will be featured in the store. This includes leather bags “from Amsterdam. Really nice bags. The coloring and the distressed situation is really nice.” Shoppers have also loved Bridge + Root’s sock selection. Aisha explains “They’re different. They speak to personality. You can go to a business meeting but still kinda show your personality with your socks.”
The shop’s selection of shirts are trim, but offered in a more relaxed cut which makes for a cool look. They are also the exclusive sellers in Birmingham for much-loved brands including Bonobos, as well as the only suppliers of Tens Sunglasses in the United States. The store will also have a “Local’s Corner” which provides Magic City designers a 3-month stay in the space. Aisha believes it’s crucial to uplift fellow entrepreneurs in the city and wants to give these designers a space to give their customers an in-person shopping experience. “They can at least go in and touch it. They can see it. They can lay their eyes on it. It almost makes it real for them. I think that’s a really big deal.”
The educational element of the shop includes “tie-turials” and the opportunity for men to send an article of clothing they like but don’t know what to wear it with to Bridge + Root, and they will send back multiple options for what they can do. “I want to encourage guys to be who they are. Don’t try to fit into this mold, especially in Birmingham. If you want to wear something crazy, wear it.” She goes on to say that if you want to tone it down - that’s fine too. She just wants people to be allowed to be their authentic selves in a stylish, comfortable way. If the success of their pop-ups and online store is any indication, the city is grateful to have this source to do so.
Photos: Aisha Taylor