Scott Sternberg’s Entireworld brand is popping up at downtown L.A.’s Million Dollar Theater for a three-week flurry of film, food, fashion and fun that kicks off with a free daylong marathon repeat screening of “Groundhog Day” on Dec. 7. Dubbed the Million Dollar Pop Up Shop, it’s cinephile Sternberg’s latest effort to generate buzz for the L.A.-based direct-to-consumer collection of affordable luxe wardrobe staples he launched a year and a half ago by switching up the traditional shopping experience.
The screening series continues the following weekend with a Dec. 14 “Spaceballs” + Matzo Balls event that pairs a showing of the Mel Brooks space spoof with bowls of matzo ball soup from Wexler’s Deli in the adjacent Grand Central Market (available for an additional fee) as well as ball-shaped candy from La Huerta, which is running the event’s candy concession. The final installment of the screening series, which takes place Dec. 21, is a double feature of “Rules of Attraction” and “Less Than Zero” with a Q-and-A with author Bret Easton Ellis in between. All screenings are open to the public, and tickets are available for purchase online through Eventbrite or in the Entireworld pop-up store next to the theater.
That 600-square-foot space will also be stocked with the entire range of Entireworld’s offerings including the men’s and women’s bestsellers (pleated pants and colorful sweatsuits, respectively), T-shirts, hoodies and underwear, giftable items like recycled cashmere beanies, mittens and striped socks. The pop-up will also stock an exclusive sunny yellow two-tone tote bag emblazoned with “Los” on one side and “Angeles” on the other.
There’s a charitable element as well. A portion of proceeds from screening ticket sales and Entireworld product sales from Black Friday through Christmas (online or at the pop-up) will go to benefit Los Angeles Mission as well as a one-for-one in-kind donation for every pair of socks sold during the same holiday shopping season.
A love of movies aside, what motivated Sternberg to wrap a downtown L.A. screening series around a three-week pop-up shop instead of decamp to a more traditional retail thoroughfare like Melrose Avenue? Several things, he said. “If we had a straight-on pop-up, we’d probably do pretty good business because the foot traffic on Melrose is really good, [and] the [comparable sales] are all there so we know we’d make money,” Sternberg said. “But there’s also value in making an impression on a customer that is so unique and deep and sticky. It’s the start of a relationship that’s exciting and multi-layered.”
Beyond that, by partnering with Street Food Cinema (which is handling the logistics of the screenings) and Grand Central Market (which owns the theater and will have an Entireworld mural and sandwich board ads displayed throughout the market), Sternberg’s wares will be exposed to an untapped customer base. “People who have never heard of us, who don’t care about Band of Outsiders or anything I did in the past, who have no context, are going to experience the brand or a screening,” Sternberg said.
Speaking of Band of Outsiders, the label that established the designer as a fashion-world darling and earned him two awards from the Council of Fashion Designers of America before he departed in 2015, Sternberg said he learned something during the hammock of time between leaving that brand and launching Entireworld in April 2018.
“When I got out of that bubble, there was this clear realization that while we were getting buzz and press after those shows, everybody else was too. And the value of it wasn’t so great that I needed to start another brand that did fashion shows,” he said. “This ideas of creating buzz the old way — by doing fashion shows — was actually really easy and effective. You had a fashion show, and everybody was in the room. And boom it was good — you had buzz. [Now] there’s no space like that.”
So does Sternberg see this kind of experiential retail as the buzz-building alternative to the traditional fashion-show format?
“Absolutely,” he replied. “It’s not just ‘I’m going to go shop and look through a rack’ or ‘I’m going to sit there for 15 minutes and watch a slightly awkward presentation of models doing something.’ It’s a looser idea of how to experience the brand. And everybody’s looking for something to capture [on social media] to tell their friends about. People want to proselytize.”
Sternberg paused for a second. “But it’s not about getting people to post something [online],” he said. “It’s about doing something that’s so delightful and surprising that they can’t help but post it.”
In that respect, it seems you can hardly get much better than watching “Spaceballs” with a bunch of like-minded souls while slurping matzo ball soup and ingesting all manner of ball-shaped candy.
The Entireworld Million Dollar Pop Up Shop, 331 S. Broadway, store hours 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Dec. 7 to 22 and 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. during Saturday screenings. Additional information, including screening times and ticket prices, can be found at entireworld.eventbrite.com.