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Brief Published: 6 May 2015

LA Retail: Spring Openings, 2015


Springtime has brought a wave of new stores to LA, including several debut boutiques for homegrown brands, and a clutch of new openings on the shores of Santa Monica and Venice.  

  • Theory +: Further reinforcing the rise of athleisure – the fusion of fashion and sportswear – as a prime retail category, New York-based fashion brand Theory has opened a debut boutique for its activewear subdivision, Theory +. Located in West Hollywood, the spacious, single-floor store stocks the full line of apparel for men and women, plus bicycles from Japanese cycling brand Tokyobike.

For more on the importance of athleisure, and how to engage its growing audience, see The Future of Athleisure and Athleisure Engagement Strategies.

  • Nasty Gal: LA-based fast-fashion e-tailer Nasty Gal has opened its second bricks-and-mortar outpost on Third Street, Santa Monica. Spread across 6,500 sq ft, the store features the brands first dedicated 'shoe salon', a denim bar and a selection of vintage pieces, as well as the full range of Nasty Gal clothing and accessories.

    The store was designed by New York-based architect Rafael de Cárdenas, who also devised the brand's first LA flagship in West Hollywood. The venue includes fitting rooms with two-way mirrors (allowing those inside to see what's happening on the shop floor), cage-like dividers and neon lighting, but has a distinctly more open-plan, easygoing aesthetic than its forerunner.

For more innovative changing-room designs, see Future-Facing Fitting Rooms. For more on Rafael de Cardenas, see our full profile.

  • Illasteva: Located on Abbot Kinney Boulevard, Venice, this small boutique stocks the full range of New York-based eyewear brand Illasteva's frames, which are handmade in Italy, plus leather bags. Featuring a 'build your own' custom spec station (echoing the brand's online custom service), the interior has an industrial feel with retro 'hexie' (small, hexagonal mosaic-style) floor tiles, upcycled raw wood counters and metal and wooden shelving.

See also Upcycled Spaces and Product Hubs: Co-Creation & Experimentation.  

  • David Kind: LA-based online eyewear brand David Kind has opened its first public showroom within its Venice headquarters. Open for personal fittings with an in-house optician, the small, wood-filled location adds a human touchpoint for those nervous about buying frames online.

For more on selling eyewear, see Spaces for Health: Selling to the Patient-Consumer.

  • Ragdoll: LA-based women's casualwear label Ragdoll has opened a debut store on West Third Street, West Hollywood. The airy, 1,800 sq ft, single-storey corner store features neutral-toned vintage furniture. Polished metal shelving and vintage movable rails display the full range of Ragdoll clothing.
  • Aesop Apothecary: Australian skincare brand Aesop has opened its third destination in the city on Sunset Boulevard, Silverlake. Created by San Francisco-based architect and furniture designer John Randolph of Randolph Designs, the simplistic, minimal store has a warm, cosy ambience generated by a materials palette of rustic dark woods, grey floor tiles and black marble fixtures.  
  • Switch Bel Air: Premium multi-brand fashion store Switch, created by Californian sisters Jennifer and Julia Cohen, has opened a second LA store in Bel Air. The boutique's interior resembles a sleek, mid-century modern office with a large black desk, linear vintage furniture and low marble display plinths, showcasing international designers such as Roland Mouret and Elie Saab.

For more on the rising trend for stores styled like apartments, including their link to a more humanised approach to retailing, look out for Retail Domiciles, publishing on May 20.