The namesake of street wear clothing line Kingsrowe is a tiny street on Columbus’ east side. On it, Dionte Johnson grew into the man who became an Ohio State football player, owner of the Short North sneaker store Sole Classics and designer of Kingsrowe’s confident clothing.
The brand is the cool side of Columbus pride, and, a year ahead of Johnson’s original schedule, is getting its own storefront. Kingsrowe Gallery opens this Saturday, Oct. 20, in the Short North.
Amid the T-shirts, snapbacks and sweaters, the shop’s decor has a preppy New England coastal town vibe. Old rowing oars are incorporated into the lighting and display fixtures and a giant red velvet throne beckons in the back.
The style is a nod to the imagery of the Kingsrowe name (royalty, rowing, you get it), but the décor also helps set the this-runs-deeper-than-you-think tone of a message Johnson hopes Kingsrowe Gallery spreads.
“There are many people who think [wearing street wear] is dressing down,” Johnson said. “They don’t see the art behind socks, T-shirts, hoodies, but this is a culture that is about expressing yourself through clothing.”
Kingsrowe Gallery plans to become an incubator for fledgling Columbus street wear design lines. In the meantime, the store currently carries only men’s Kingsrowe clothing items. T-shirts are in the $30 range, hoodies around $60. New designs will come in each season (the current styles were inspired by a Native American-style print Johnson designed with a blocky version of the Kingsrowe fly insignia).
“I’m very excited about this place,” Johnson said. “I hope people accept it and we can continue to grow the street wear presence in the Short North.”
Photos by Tim Johnson