Not that anyone needed further proof of the Arts District’s cool factor, but streetwear brand Brotherhood has moved in and is set to open a store there Saturday.
The line, founded three years ago, has taken a 570-square-foot space on Palmetto Street, surrounded by the future offices for Spotify, a future Soho House, the currently operating Commonwealth boutique and, a few blocks over, the eventual home of Dover Street Market.
It wasn’t difficult deciding on the area for Brotherhood founder Christion Lennon.
The line, the 26-year-old said, does well online where about 80 percent of the product is sold out. Brotherhood is also sold at specialty retailers such as Starcow in Paris and Wish in Atlanta, along with Journal Standard and Wism in Japan.
“The reason I wanted to open a store was just to give our customer direct access to us,” Lennon said. “I felt like, especially with retail right now, everyone’s saying it’s dying. In a sense, I get it, but I feel like if it’s a brand’s flagship, it’s better to grow from the ground up. For this brand, I’m definitely in it for the marathon. I’m not in a rush to wholesale to every store. I’ve just been taking my time and I just want to see this thing grow organically.”
The store is stocked with T-shirts, hoodies, sweats and beanies from the fall line in addition to a collection of magazines. The apparel, much of it produced locally, is priced from $18 for socks and T-shirts starting at $40, to bottoms ranging from $80 to $150 and hoodies starting at $120.
For Lennon, who grew up in Pasadena and most recently was living in Costa Mesa before moving to Boyle Heights, the apparel industry isn’t necessarily new territory for him. He previously worked at Us Versus Them and operates a recently opened private-label company that’s done business with firms such as Pacific Sunwear.
Lennon grew up skateboarding around brands such as Stussy and Fuct. It’s a subtle point of distinction that’s made its way into the line and sets it off from other streetwear brands that skew perhaps more trendy, he said. Although, Lennon was quick to point out his line is not a skate brand.
While the assortment is mostly basics, Lennon said the plan is to get into more cut-and-sew product with a good pant offering for customers.
“I’m a big fan of American brands like Levi’s where they’ve created a standard jean. I’d like to take that ethos and create a pant that’s consistent,” he said, estimating more cut-and-sew is likely to materialize in fall 2019.
It’s a slow process with Lennon focused on not just the creative aspect of the brand, but also running a business.
“The design process is tough,” he said. “I’m up and down. Sometimes I’m really creative and other times it’s about the business and marketing. Every season you learn and you figure out more of what not to do.”
More collaborations are in the works and Lennon said he’s also mulling a possible shoe done in partnership with another company.
“Shoes are very important to an outfit,” he said. “Our styling I take very seriously. Everything’s well-thought-out.”