Alternative clothing brand returns home to metro Atlanta

You can go home again, just ask Alternative  CEO Evan Toporek. The clothing brand, which launched in Atlanta in 1995 before opening stores in New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco, is once again making metro Atlanta its home. Toporek and his team -- including local designer Megan Huntz -- made Norcross the center of the brand's operations and production.

Alternative, previously known as Alternative Apparel, has garnered a solid following through what may be the most user-friendly retail website on the web. Alternative's site even offers a blog called the "Common Thread" and a live chat option for customer inquiries.

The website isn't the only thing the clothing brand has going for it. The warmup suit hoodie and pants two-pack bundle might be the best looking weekend wear in your closet. Shoppers logging onto the website or stepping inside one of Alternative's two stores (a location in the Larchmont area of Los Angeles is no longer open) will immediately recognize the absence of logos.

The brand's mission is to make modern basics by using fabric innovations (more on that later) for a sustainable future. "We create authentically worn-in styles that focus on fabric, fit and designs with purpose that people will want to wear today and tomorrow," said Toporek via email.

"I call Alternative Apparel a slow fashion brand that moves very fast," said Huntz, Alternative's Design Director, during a recent phone conversation. Huntz was added to the seven-person team of designers and product developers last June when plans for a brand shake-up were underway.

The new Norcross location will not only house Alternative's headquarters but is also attached to a 130,000-square-foot distribution center that will handle Alternative's online orders and store merchandise.

"We ship out over 15 million units of product every a year," Toporek said. "We have a best-in-class fulfillment center that would be a challenge to duplicate within the heart of the city."

Since returning to metro Atlanta, Toporek and Alternative have also been making strides to connect with local businesses and artists to further re-establish the brand to its birthplace.

"As an Atlanta brand, we always want to support local businesses and personalities," said Toporek, a Georgia Tech graduate. "We work with many creatives and brands in the area." Some of those brands like Staplehouse and Little Barn Apothecary are already well-known to many Atlantans.

Huntz was one of those creatives whose dress line is sold online at and at Henry & June on Highland Avenue. She joined the Alternative team in June and has been busy working on new pieces in time for spring and summer shopping season.

"We line up, we have similar style values," Huntz said about Toporek. "I saw an opportunity for myself to design for Alternative Apparel and it has been a natural succession."

According to Toporek, Alternative is planning to participate in some "large-scale events and regional pop-ups" in the coming months.

"I believe that Alternative Apparel can serve as a catalyst for local businesses through partnerships, sponsorships and volunteer programs," Toporek said. "In an industry of disposables, Alternative is a brand people remain loyal to."

With its new metro Atlanta headquarters -- complete with such amenities as a showroom, a fitness studio, coffee cafe and lounge -- Alternative is demonstrating its loyalty to its staff and to its roots.

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