Ah, the mall, that unholy place where the unfortunate masses (aka those that don’t read menswear blogs) do their shopping. Store after store of graphic tees, baggy, washed denim, shoes that fall apart before you get to your car and suits made from a rat hair blend. Yes, these shrines to the worst of American culture are the very things that incite horror for those of us that actually worry about not looking like someone who watches The Big Bang Theory. But, before you head down to your local mall to set it on fire like some Odd Future fan on too much Adderall, I wanted to shed some light on all the joy that malls have given us—this is a place where some of our favorite designers have earned their stripes. Now, I’m not talking about Zara or Hollister or Hot Topic as these sartorial black holes have zero redeeming qualities and never will. I guess I mean the “higher end” mall stores, the ones whose windows you might peer into and say, “Hey, I don’t want to kill myself today.” For it is inside these walls that some of your favorite fashion idols cut their teeth.

Jake Gallagher is a writer living in New York. Read his blog, Wax Wane, here and follow him on Twitter here.