| July 1, 2016 | Lifestyle
Ultra-mod ski wear atelier Aether spins prefab magic on Cooper Avenue mall.
Aether’s minimalist interior offers a welcome respite from many of Aspen’s cluttered shops.
When LA-based Aether Apparel was looking to make its Aspen debut last December, the city-meets-mountain “quiet tech” ski wear and outdoors clothing brand had days, not weeks, to set up its 2,400-square-foot Cooper Avenue storefront in time for town’s bustling holiday season. For most companies, this would have been impossible. But for Aether founders Palmer West and Jonah Smith, both 43—former independent film producers whose credits include the cult classics Requiem for a Dream and Waking Life—their stores, like their products, have the precise form-meets-function simplicity to allow them to pull it off. “From the beginning, we’ve had extremely modular spaces where we can build everything off-site,” says West.
To achieve their goal, the duo hired French architect Thierry Gaugain to create custom-made LED-lit oak crates, in which the clothing is displayed, that could be shipped, fully constructed, from the company’s headquarters. Add to that a 10-foot steel table that displays a curated collection of lifestyle products—from coffee table books to Gränsfors Bruk axes—and a Ural motorcycle with a sidecar at the entrance, and the result is one of Aspen’s most unique retail experiences. “Every day, we’re surrounded by things that are gorgeous [but] don’t work, and things that really work but that are a bit ugly,” says West. “Our quest is to craft products and store environments without any excuses on either side.” No excuses from us, either... 414 E. Cooper Ave., 970-429-4773
Photography courtesy of Aether