Contra is guided by whatever owner Matt Kyte is into at the time. The clothes range from $50, to an $1100 Études bomber. Yet the jacket is displayed without fanfare – Kyte has a gift for sourcing and curating high-end menswear, minus the intimidating atmosphere found at similar boutiques.
Part of this is down to his background. Kyte became attracted to clothing after almost 12 years of collecting sneakers and six years selling them. Accordingly, Contra was originally about streetwear. These days, the range is more diverse, though there are still plenty of tees and casual shoes on the racks.
All the featured brands are independent and often sourced from Europe. They include Lou Dalton and YMC from the UK, Soulland from Denmark, Il Bussetto leather goods from Italy, Tsubota Pearl lighters from Japan and District Vision eyewear from New York.
This isn’t the kind of clothing you want to buy online. The pieces are about fit, quality and material. There’s a range of simple and statement pieces, but everything is chosen to be worn comfortably. Kyte believes the best designers are problem solvers, successfully balancing wearability with aesthetics. In chasing this ideal, Contra avoids a slavish devotion to trends. You’re almost guaranteed to find something striking with every visit.