As we witness the rise of the cyber marketplace, the traditional brick and mortar retail space has started to diminish from prominence. In the early 2000s, sneaker heads lined the streets early Friday mornings in hopes of obtaining never released again kicks and maintaining their reputations as sneaker vets. However, it has become increasingly easier for people to buy these items online and the age-old tradition of camping out in front of retail stores has evolved into staying up late and refreshing one’s Internet browser to get the latest drop.
This shift in the culture has pushed companies to rebrand their focus for consumers. The solution to this can be answered by trying to answer one question: Why would people want to come and shop in our store? The experience that is had whilst shopping is often directly proportional to the revenue that is generated by the store. In today’s consumer climate, it is imperative that companies are selling more than the brands listed in their inventory in order to be ahead of their competitors. One company is pursuing an experimental approach to retail culture that may very well transform how we view the hypebeast lifestyle.
Atlanta based boutique, A Ma Maniere, seeks to immerse its patrons in the lives of the social media influencers that they seek to emulate by purchasing these brands with its retail luxury living space in Washington, DC in the H Street Corridor. According to the project’s owner and founder, James Whitner, “The project asks the question: if you love a store so much—what it sells, the people who work there, what it looks like—wouldn’t you want to live there, too? “People want to stay or live in their favorite store because it\’s already an extension of what their life is becoming.” Opened on July 27, 2018, it was dubbed the Hypebeast Hotel because of its targeting of the group of streetwear fashion fanatics who go by the same name, the space transports its customers into their dream lifestyle.
Harping on the idea that consumers are now buying items to live up to the image of a certain caliber, the A Maniere Living Space allows customers to rent a suite in their three-story facility that comes complete with pieces from their favorite brands that they will be able to try on seemingly in the comfort of their own home and then purchase when they check out. To book a suite, customers are invited to complete a profile that asks one’s shoe size, favorite brands, social media handles, and their perspective on fashion and then is sent for approval by the company.
After they are approved, customers are then able to book one of two suites available, one designed with a vast array of color and another designed in shades of gray and white. Building this space in the nation’s capital sets a precedent for other retailers across the country to redefine their own mission statements and their attractiveness to the new wave of cult fashion.
Like a highly sought after pair of Jordan’s, Whitner hopes to attract people to the space not for its usefulness but for the pure desire of being in space. The same desire that drove millions in DC to fight over the New Balance 900s in the 90s, the same desire that still drives millions to be the first in line to whatever the next big thing is happening in the world of fashion. Patrons are able to browse the retail boutique located at 1214 H Street NE from noon to 8 pm from Monday to Friday, 11 am to 8 pm on Saturdays and 12 pm to 5 pm on Sundays.