A pop-up held on Melrose Ave. in Los Angeles, which brought together independent designers from all over the world, closed its “doors” after a month-long residency.
Developed by Doors., a New York-based company that combines experiential consumer retail with the traditional PR showroom, the “Metaverse, Schmetaverse” activation explored the influence of the digital realm on the fashion and art from May 28 to June 26. , shoes, accessories, jewelry, cosmetics and homewares, many of the event’s designs were influenced by futurism. Some creatives have launched complimentary virtual components alongside physical merchandise or experimented with NFTs.
“Digital fashion and art offer many opportunities for creative talent and community development,” Doors. said founder Alise Trautmane-Uzuner, explaining the theme of the four-week event. “The Metaverse is a compelling extension for physical fashion and art, and a unique way to engage with the young consumer.”
She believes that the influence of the virtual world will only continue to snowball. “It’s here to stay,” she added, “but so is brick-and-mortar retail.” According to the founder, physical experiences still have immense value for emerging designers looking to showcase their work to new audiences.
A designer herself, Trautmane-Uzuner founded Doors. last year after closing its boutique in New York’s SoHo. When maintaining the high-rent location year-round became a burden, she developed a business model that would allow emerging and independent premium and luxury brands to reap the benefits of brick-and-mortar retail. One Doors. The e-commerce platform also allows international brands to sell to US consumers beyond the duration of pop-ups, while storing goods in the US for easier fulfillment.
“We provide so many different functions in this space,” Doors. Desmond Lim Zhengs, head of pop-up retail and production, told Sourcing Journal at the company’s Los Angeles outpost. The venue served as a retail showcase, of course, but also as a gallery for artists and a showroom where the city’s stylists could score unique points for their high-profile clientele.
For many brands, like Paris-based Y/ Project, Seoul high-end streetwear brand Juun J, New York Fashion Week favorites Private Policy and Ph5, Shanghai-based womenswear brand Pann and l Australian MQUEYT, the activation represented a foray into brick-and-mortar retail or an introduction to the US market. Zhengs said developing a presence on the ground is a goal for many international brands, but costs and logistics often get in the way.
“We’re trying to solve a lot of these issues, to become the bridge” that connects brands on the other side of the world to potential fans and followers, he said. Social media has given designers exposure, but showing up at a store in one of LA’s most iconic shopping districts is an opportunity to generate real recognition. Pann’s 2000s-inspired matching sets, for example, caught the eye of Los Angeles consumers, from walk-in shoppers to Hollywood influencers and stylists, and the line nearly sold out.
Entrants extensively showcased the most social media-worthy styles from their collections, those with dramatic silhouettes and eye-catching materials. They weren’t specifically required to work within the event’s theme or offer virtual pieces alongside physical apparel, Zhengs said. He thinks industry players are starting to explore what their participation in the Metaverse and Doors looks like. hoped to inspire discussions about the digital future of fashion.
After the success of the LA pop-up, the firm plans to launch projects in New York and Miami, but is keeping the themes under wraps for now. The company’s first West Coast activation confirmed that shoppers have an appetite for experiential retail, Zhengs said. Comparing a pop-up to a “temporary exhibition” in a gallery or museum, he said: “There is urgency to see it while it is still there.”