Bodega is one of the most notorious sneaker and streetwear retailers in the world, and rightly so. The store initially made waves for its unique store design hidden at the back of a seemingly normal bodega. But these days it’s their careful selection of the best in sneakers and streetwear that dominates the conversation. After years in the industry and with a ton of experience on hand, the team from Bodega have announced a huge apparel collection that drops next week.
It’s just one part of a huge year for Bodega; their Vans collab is also dropping and their LA store is opening in September. Oliver Mak, one of the store’s founders and contributing designers, took some time out of his hectic schedule to give us the lowdown on the growing Bodega empire.
How does apparel fit in to Bodega as a brand?
We’ve been in it since our first cut ‘n sew appeared in 2007—right after our first footwear collab. Things got crazy in 2014 when we had a popup in Shibuya extend to a full year. Apparel has always been part of the larger bodega vision and we’ve recently hit our stride with it. We decided to only go direct to consumer after 2014 so we could build and control the environment that people found the line in. Context & depth is everything.
Were customers asking you guys for more Bodega apparel?
Yeah, it’s an amazing honour to have the ability to make things that reflect your ideas and sensibilities—it’s even better that people want it.
So what are the inspirations behind the range?
Los Angeles is in our collective consciousness. We’re opening our DTLA shop this September so the landscape and energy of LA inspired the concept and palette.
You guys have done a lot of collabs before, how did it feel to go it alone with this line?
With collabs you have to respect the heritage and feel of the partner brand. When you design for the in-house brand, you’re a lot more free and in your own team’s headspace. You also get the direct response from people picking up the product and reacting to it—you know that they’re reacting entirely to just your brand creation.
The lookbook features recording artist Buddy and visual artist Uzumaki Cepeda, how’d they get involved?
It’s important for us to use models that do more in the world than just look good. Our team is full of artists and both Buddy and Uzumaki are two whose output we really respect. Beyond that, we’re all connected through friends: Uzumaki has east coast roots, working with members of our team before, and there is some overlap between Buddy’s circle and ours. It all just made sense when we were planning the shoot in LA.
The lookbook also features your Vans collab, what can you tell us about that?
We wanted to style everything together from the beginning of both projects. It just makes sense to use all the resources in that combined fashion. We’ve got limited gas money so we gotta make moves like that!
Bodega Spring/Summer 2017 debuts Tuesday, June 13 at 11:00am US EST.