Buyers Select:
David Fishbein
The Optimist LA
Edition 101
Buyers Select takes you behind the scenes of your favorite stores to meet the people who choose what you’ll be wearing this season.

David Fishbein and Joseph Miller don’t have any formal fashion training, but that didn’t stop them from launching The Optimist in LA. In 2018, the pair had been looking for a new menswear multi-label store to open in their boutique retail center, Platform, but they couldn’t find one that fit their vision. So, they did it themselves.
Three years later, The Optimist has grown to become one of the most exciting menswear spots in LA thanks to its excellent curation of independent designers from around the world. Rather than getting swept away by big-name brands and logomania galore, The Optimist focuses on unearthing secret talents, making each journey to the store feel like opening a treasure trove. 
To learn more about The Optimist and how it makes its curation process, we linked up with co-founder Fishbein before he travels to Pitti this year. Find our conversation below.

How would you describe The Optimist aesthetic?  

The Optimist aesthetic is focused on style versus trend. We select pieces that will look as great in our customers’ wardrobe 10 years from now as they do today. We focus on fit, quality, and detail when selecting our pieces and stay away from logos, graphics, and overly branded products. We love prints and interesting fabrics/textures.
What trends/styles resonate the most with your customers? 

Our customers love tailored pants with interesting patterns/fabrics — a fun stripe or an interesting material like a Tencel or Crepe has been popular. They also love a statement casual shirt that can be dressed up or down. A tailored camp collar with a pattern or print or a linen long sleeve; linen is popular with our customers year-round.

What are you hoping to find at Pitti this year? What will you be looking out for? 

I love coming to Pitti because I find designers/brands that no one is carrying in the US. We have a number of exclusive brands at The Optimist that were all found at Pitti. I am hoping to find some new brands to introduce to the shop and also deepen relationships with brands we already carry.

Which designer/brand are you most excited to see at Pitti this season? Why? 

Sunhouse was one of my most exciting finds at Pitti. Their fabrics and incredible knits are always exciting to see and they continue to innovate season after season.

What would you say is the most exciting aspect of menswear today?  

I love that men are being more adventurous in what they wear. They are more willing to take risks in fashion and try silhouettes, colors, and materials that they may have been hesitant to wear in the past.

What would you like to see more of/what do you think is lacking in contemporary menswear? 

I would love to see more brands take some risk in the materials they are selecting for product. A lot of brands play it safe and create the same sweatshirts, T-shirts, etc with very little differentiation from brand to brand. I think a lot of the Italian brands I see at Pitti excel in really exciting new fabrics and materials that make simple styles and silhouettes infinitely more interesting.

What clothes do you take with you to Pitti? Take us through your packing process. 

I actually don’t plan very strategically on what I take to Pitti. I am always a last-minute packer. Generally, I try and find some great statement jackets/sweaters from The Optimist for Pitti in January and bring some nice cropped trousers and jeans with a couple of sneakers and boots. Once I arrive in Italy I’ll figure out what I feel like wearing for the day. I never plan outfits in advance and thus, probably end up packing more than I should so I have lots of options.

What’s your ultimate fashion staple? Why? 

A fresh white pair of perforated Common Project sneakers make any outfit look casual, but elevated.

What, in your view, makes the Pitti experience special? 

The setting is incredible. All of the historic structures and buildings make the entire experience feel super special and like you have been transported into this magical world. The people-watching is always the best. I am always obsessed with seeing people so desperately trying to be dressed up to a point where they will be photographed in the show. It’s pretty incredible to watch!