By Laura Eckstein Jones By Laura Eckstein Jones | April 26, 2022 | Style & Beauty
Best friends and business partners for decades, Emily Current and Meritt Elliott of The Great. talk expansion and the importance of IRL retail, and share their latest style selections.
Emily Current (left) and Meritt Elliott at their newly opened The Great. outpost on Abbot Kinney Boulevard PHOTOGRAPHED BY ROGER DAVIES
While the retail landscape has shifted to favor e-commerce over the past several years—and especially during the pandemic—The Great. co-founders Emily Current and Meritt Elliott are swimming against the tide with their business plans. “We’re definitely looking to open probably 20 stores in the next 18 to 20 months,” says Current. “Our philosophy is to open stores in our key markets where our customers are.”
After meeting in 1995 as students at UCLA—where they bonded over their love of Americana, vintage and denim—the Northern California natives launched CURRENT/ELLIOT, kicking off the world’s obsession with the Boyfriend Jean. After selling the brand, they launched The Great. in 2015. At first, the vintage-inspired denim, soft tees, and embroidered dresses and tops were only sold online or at other top-tier retailers, but in 2018, The Great.’s first store opened in Los Angeles on Melrose Avenue. And, in late 2021, Current and Elliott opened a second boutique in a historic 1910 house on Abbot Kinney Boulevard. “The same owner lived here since 1971,” says Current. “Because it’s historical, we didn’t want to do a lot to the property. So we worked with what was here and made it feel like a homey store, and worked with Brigette Romanek on the decor.”
Consisting of a wide selection of the brand’s pieces for both men and women, the shop also offers vintage clothing and jewelry, and an expanded selection of home goods. “We’ve always had some home items at the Melrose store,” says Elliott. “But this [larger space] opened up the opportunity for so much more.” In addition to the main floor, there’s a loft area for VIP dressing and an outdoor space with a guesthouse in the back.
After a successful collaboration with Eddie Bauer in November, The Great. will launch a second this spring, plus two more stores will open soon, at Lido Marina Village and The Shops at Sportsmen’s Lodge in Studio City. “We always want to be near good food,” says Elliott. “Then it can be a full experience—shop, get a great coffee, go to dinner.”
The duo is currently looking for the perfect Northern California spot for the next The Great. boutique, and is also busy with some other upcoming launches—details forthcoming. “People are still shopping and wanting an experience where you can explore and discover,” says Elliot. “In a store, you can touch and feel and find the unexpected.” thisisthegreat.com
PORTRAIT BY ROGER DAVIES; SUNGLASSES PHOTO COURTESY BY CYDNEY COSETT E HOLM; BIRKENSTOCK PHOTO COURTESY OF BIRKENSTOCK ABBOT KINNEY; ALL PHOTOS COURTESY OF BRANDS PHOTOGRAPHED BY ROGER DAVIES
PORTRAIT BY ROGER DAVIES; CHAIR PHOTO BY ROBERT VENTE PHOTO; ALL PHOTOS COURTESY OF BRANDS PHOTOGRAPHED BY ROGER DAVIES