“RSRVD is not just a clothing boutique, but a lifestyle and brand that encourages the acceptance of individuality, creativity and freedom to just be you,” said Abesi Manyando, the public relations consultant for the boutique.
Walt Johnson, an Ohio native, is one of the owners. He used to own the trend setting clothing store, I AM, which was located at 7708 Delmar and closed its doors back in May. Johnson wanted to reinvent his brand while continuing to provide St. Louisians with the type of quality and authenticity that they received at I AM.
“All I’ve ever done was retail, and after moving to St. Louis in 1997, most people remember me from working at Northwest Plaza’s Underground Station and after that, The Lark. But it wasn’t until I worked at Street Legends that I began doing research on how to start my own clothing company, I AM, which my business partner and I successfully launched in 2006,” Johnson said.
Johnson always believed St. Louis was a fashion-forward city, but he also recognized that there were a number of clothing stores that force-fed fashion to their patrons, and he wanted his store to stand out for the diversity of its selections.
“After five years, my former business partner and I decided to close I AM, and with the assistance of my new business partner, Romero Clemons, who also shared my vision, we decided to start a new clothing boutique from scratch,” Johnson said.
While a number of Johnson’s loyal patrons from I AM wanted to see the store reintroduced or revamped, after consulting with close friends and colleagues, Johnson was advised to change everything and present something fresh and new to the community.
Brooklyn, a visual artist and former employee at I AM, is ecstatic about the new direction.
He describes RSRVD as “an appealing brand, birthed from the roots of an exclusive way of living." He said the boutique is a mixture of upscale brands, trendy shirts and irresistible fits.
“RSRVD promotes a progressive way of thinking," Manyando said.
St. Louis native Tonya Kelly told University City Patch that she can't wait to patronize RSRVD.
“When I saw that there was a new boutique opening in The Loop, I just wanted to go pop in and check it out, and when I learned that it was a black-owned business, I definitely wanted to extend my support,” Kelly said.
So, how did Johnson come up with the boutique's name, RSRVD?
He said when he was mulling over names, the word “reserved” instantly came to him. He said he received his confirmation when he looked up the definition of “reserved” and read the words, “aside and apart from everything else.”
“It just started to all make sense,” Johnson said.
“My main objective is to brand RSRVD and give the city of St. Louis something they can call their own,” Johnson said.