There’s a new retail shop in the Theatre District that has an interesting gimmick going for it. The store is called Free Agent, and owner Logan Schott says that the theme is loosely based on the cloaked, mysterious and exciting world of spies. Since he was little, Logan was fascinated with anything that had to do with spies – travel, fashion, intrigue, danger, etc.
Now Logan has fused this spy world together with fashionable clothing and accessories. It all started when he left his job at a local mall. He had been considering opening up his own place, and felt that the time was right, because he was essentially a “free agent”. The idea of “agent” has been incorporated into all of his merchandise and displays. The front display window features a woman rappelling through a laser field, dresses in stylish apparel. And that’s just the start. Everyone that has a hand in Free Agent has a code name. Logan goes by “Spike”, and Whitney Curry is “Robin Banks” (lead image). Even loyal customers get their own spy cards that allow them to enjoy discounts, attend special events, and get the inside scoop on the latest and greatest arrivals.
Along with all of the secret agent undertones (and overtones), Logan has created a boutique that brandishes 65 lines at the moment. There are only a handful of pieces from each of the lines. That alone is commendable considering how much stock one clothing company typically demands a customer to order up front. But Logan has spent his fair share of time living in NYC and LA. For years, he cultivated relationships with the who’s who of the fashion world – buyers, sellers, celebs, designers and others, who would eventually be instrumental in helping him to live out his dream of opening his own business, where he would be free to do as he pleases. “Why would I want to order so much from one line, when I only like a couple of items?” he asks. To me, Logan seems to be the type of person who usually gets what he wants. He does this because he’s super likable, and you can tell that he genuinely has fun playing the part of boutique owner/secret agent. He doesn’t play by the rules, but he’s not conceited, bratty or over the top. Although he tends to dress in a vivacious manner, which he pulls off to a T.
The way that I look at Free Agent is this – if you took Gwen Stefani and La Femme Nikita, smashed them together, added Barbarella, sprinkled in some Pussy Galore and threw in the stars of Kill Bill… that’s Free Agent. Clothing lines range from Wolf & Man to Scooter LaForge. Walking around the store is akin to a treasure hunt. There’s something of interest just about everywhere you look. Logan pointed out a corset made out of cowboy boots, which was brilliant. “I like carrying lines that are sleek, minimalist, with flair,” he says. “I’m all about the iconic look – stunning, pushing the envelope, while maintaining a sophisticated edge. That’s why I’m building out the changing rooms to look like an armory – shoppers get ‘ready to battle’ for the day. I love interacting with the buyer – next I want to build a car scene, with a hostage situation… it will be perfect for selfies. After that, there will be a graffiti wall. I want to stay current with the merchandise, as well as the interactive nature of the store.”
I asked Logan who his prime target clients are, and what he told me surprised me. “The millennials and the Gen Xers want physical stores again, along with the internet. The retail apocalypse that we saw now is changing – the internet was clobbering shops for years. I believe that the trend is actually starting to balance out – people want to try on the clothes and they want to interact with the sales people and the buyers. They want the internet, but they also like to go out shopping. At the same time, they want to be entertained. It’s up to me to capture their attention by playing with their imaginations. That way, I get to know my customers – what they want, and what they believe in. My customers care about the quality of the merchandise, and where it is made. All of my merchandise is sweatshop free. That’s important. I like supporting the designers – I even have some custom pieces that are exclusive to Free Agent.”
If you stop into Free Agent this month, you might come across a sales person/stylist by the name of Fifi la Flea, who loves to flaunt her leather outfits. Next month, you might bump into another muse who goes by Emergency Break, and who rocks plaid ensembles. “I want customers to follow a story,” says Logan. “It’s like an adventure, with style. It’s also just the beginning. There’s so much to look forward to, like shoe lines (Shelly’s London for example), and Tripp Jeans (perfect for curvy girls).”
At Free Agent, you will find glam and glitz, but you will also find swank and suave. You will also find Logan, a guy who wanted to bring a super cool retail concept to Buffalo, because he feels that we all deserve to have nice things that should be considered empowering showstoppers. This store is locked and loaded, just waiting for the arrival of its next super spy.