For three days only, New Haven residents will be able to buy clothing from For Tomorrow — a multilabel online clothing retailer -— in a brick-and-mortar store.
The pop-up store, located at 23 Temple St., was launched in collaboration with Project Storefronts, an organization run by the New Haven Department of Arts, Culture and Tourism that provides artists with empty retail spaces for creative projects. The store, which will remain open until Friday evening, will stock menswear and unisex pieces from five fashion designers based in Australia and New York.
The three-day event combines fashion with architecture by curating structurally inspired clothing labels and housing these pieces in a temporary store space with an innovative design.
“Designing a space in relation to a fashion concept is really fun,” said Madelynn Ringo ARC ’16, who designed the venue. “It’s an experiment that allows me to try something real rather than something in a studio, and also to use the city of New Haven as an incubator.”
Adam Muniz, entrepreneur and founder of For Tomorrow, manages the fashion and retail aspects of the project. He said he selected the designers to feature in the store based on their artisanal quality, referring to garments that display an inventive use of materials and are not mass-produced. New York-based designer label “Brute,” for instance, produces jewelry that draws on elements of architectural design for inspiration, he said.
Ringo said she and Muniz tried to collaborate with The Shops at Yale — a conglomerate of stores in the Chapel and Broadway districts — but were turned down. Although the pair turned to Project Storefronts for retail space a year ago, the city organization only found a space for their project last week.
Elinor Slomba, project manager of Project Storefronts, said the organization aims to match creative entrepreneurs with vacant and underutilized spaces. She said this endeavor is valuable because it allows entrepreneurs to test out business ideas in a low-risk environment.
Project Storefronts covers the cost of rent and utilities, and subsidizes other expenses entrepreneurs they partner with face during their project.
Slomba attributed the last-minute nature of securing a location to the reluctance of local property owners to confirm rental spaces long in advance. Owners do not know when their spaces will be sold, and “don’t want to bet against themselves,” she said.
Both Ringo and Muniz said most Yale students are unaware of how willing Project Storefronts is to connect them with temporary storefronts.
“Any student can apply to have a space, but not a single one has over the span of a year,” Muniz said. “People just don’t know about it, but the city really wants people to apply.”
Rochambeau, a participating label in the pop-up, evokes a progressive fusion of sportswear and street clothing with a distinct New York flavor.
The design duo behind the label, Joshua Cooper and Laurence Chandler, met Muniz at Men’s Fashion Week in Manhattan. Items from their fall collection are available at the store, including utilitarian funnel-neck parkas laced with metal-reinforced elastic drawstrings and chunky, exposed knit pullovers.
“We are excited to follow Adam’s efforts to see this come to life and can’t wait to hear the feedback from the launch of the pop-up,” Chandler said.
Muniz and Ringo hope their pop-up project sets a precedent for future arts-related events in New Haven.
According to Slomba, it already has.
“The other day, someone else approached me who wanted to bring together a collection [of clothing] around a certain aesthetic to create a gallery-like atmosphere, directly inspired by Adam’s project,” she said.
Price points at the pop-up store start at $40 for T-shirts and reach up to $1,800 for higher-end editorial pieces.