LeBron James Opens Concept Store in Miami Arts District
Furthering the evolution of Miami’s rising retail scene, NBA star LeBron James’ streetwear label Unknwn has opened a concept flagship in the city’s booming arts district, Wynwood. Centred around an outdoor basketball court flanked by palm trees, only one-third of the 10,000 sq ft space is dedicated to ‘pure’ retail.
This new iteration of a commerce-light approach, the benefits of which have been dissected by Stylus in Soft Sell: The New Retail, also features a multi-use courtyard. Together with the basketball court, it will be used to host sporting and lifestyle events including live music gigs and film screenings. Rendered in punchy blue and orange hues and featuring 200 ft long wall murals the outdoor space will change constantly, as Unknwn collaborates with different artists and creatives – a nod to Miami’s reputation as one of the street art capitals of the world, particularly the Wynwood Walls area, which now attracts three million visitors a year.
The flagship was designed in collaboration with American art collective New York Sunshine, a group with plenty of cred regarding streetwear brands. It recently directed the ad campaign for the product partnership between Milan-headquartered Off-White (the brainchild of Virgil Abloh, who is also the artistic director of Louis Vuitton menswear) and US label Vlone.
The retail space will feature both own-brand products and a multi-brand edit of streetwear and sneakers. The latter will be showcased on indoor/outdoor shelving, bridging the retail and courtyard space, while projections of brand visuals will be used to showcase exclusive collections and product drops.
Highlighting its cultural and commercial clout, the NBA recently exhibited at Miami Basel/ Design Miami, which hosted its Momentum exhibit with US basketball culture magazine Franchise, spanning rare NBA memorabilia, basketball-referencing art, and – injecting a commercial element – sneakers worn during notable game moments. Visitors could also buy limited-edition products. See Miami Art Week 2019: Brand Concepts and the Intellectual Edifice section of Brand Spaces: Trends & Opportunities, 20/21 for more.