In Marketplace

Linda and Will Hammer, owners of Hamm's Universal Fashion boutique.

In Marketplace

Hamm's is a bright little shop specializing in casual, "punk rock, hip-hop" clothing for men and women.

It's Hammer time for fashion on Brady Street

Last year was an especially tough period for Milwaukee fashion, and the city took some pretty hard blows with the loss of a few prominent boutiques. Thankfully, state-of-the-scene reporting is beginning to shift and the second quarter is starting to show some promise in the independent retail sector.

Brady Street in particular is seeing some new additions. March 20 saw the opening of Hamm's Universal Fashion, 1229 E. Brady St., a bright little shop specializing in casual, "punk rock, hip-hop" clothing for men and women.

Husband and wife team Will and Linda Hammer had been considering the idea of a shared business for a while, and when an idea for a jazz café never fully materialized, the couple set its sights on something they were passionate about: fashion.

"I'm a shopaholic," admits Linda. "So I might as well use what I love."

She and Will combined their style skills to create a funky little boutique that is as eclectic and laid back as the East Side neighborhood it inhabits.

Linda says they didn't have a specific target shopper in mind when buying for the store; the easy, everyday vibe of the clothing is meant to appeal to anyone looking to have fun with their attire (Yes, those are blinged out Kanye West shutter shades in the display case.)

On the racks you'll find names like Ed Hardy, Diesel, True Religion, LRG, Rocawear, Blac Label, Lacoste and Artful Dodger, giving the store a youthful, creative edge with a mature vision for what looks good. It's not over-the-top high fashion, nor is it the usual spread found at the department store.

It's an impressive and cute collection, to be sure, but Linda says that Hamm's allure comes more from its sense of style rather than its association with certain brands.

"Brand and style are two different things. LRG has a suit coat, but we're carrying the shorts and the polo tops. So, it's more about what we do with the brands than just the names themselves."

True enough. And fortunately, what they've done is made the selection affordable. Yes, you'll find your premium denim -- Seven, Robin's Jeans -- but you won't break the bank with every purchase.

Welcome to the neighborhood, Hamm's.


aalareed | April 30, 2009 at 12:31 p.m. (report)

Welcome to Brady Street! We're happy to have you and wish you much success! - Aala Reed

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