By guest author Marques Harper, Image Editor at Los Angeles Times
Nordstrom teams up with L.A.’s Union on streetwear-inspired pop-up shop Nordstrom teams up with L.A.’s Union on streetwear-inspired pop-up shop,
For the first time, Union, the eclectic streetwear shop on La Brea Avenue in Los Angeles, has teamed up with Nordstrom for a fresh pop-up that launched at the Seattle-based retailer’s department stores as well as online earlier this month.
Dubbed Concept 005: Union & Co., the collaboration is made up of more than 170 exclusive pieces from 13 labels and covers clothes, shoes and accessories.
In the mix are selections from Union, Marni, Neighborhood X Converse, Rhude, Jordan Brand, Awake NY, Fear of God, Cactus Plant Flea Market, No Vacancy Inn and Our Legends. Pieces, which include graphic T-shirts, loose-fitting shorts and hoodies, are priced from $42-$1,295.
In-store shops will be staged at eight Nordstrom locations in the U.S. and Canada through Sept. 1. Locally the pop-ups will be at the Grove in Los Angeles and at South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa. Also, selections will be available on shop.nordstrom.com and Union’s website, store.unionlosangeles.com.
Sam Lobban, Nordstrom’s vice president of men’s fashion, said he has known Union’s co-owner Chris Gibbs for about eight years. He approached Gibbs last fall about working together. Their project evolved into this new pop-up concept.
“There’s been a conversation for a while now about streetwear and its importance in the broader menswear industry,” Lobban said. “Chris and Union have a unique perspective on streetwear meets workwear meets designer wear. For us, it feels like a very interesting story to tell.”
According to Lobban, nine of the 13 featured brands are new to Nordstrom.
“I’m a massive fan of Chris and his own take on clothing and the store itself,” Lobban said. “I’m just super excited to be able to partner with him on this project. … It’s a real mix of brands.”
The Union & Co. project is the fifth under Nordstrom’s ongoing New Concepts@NordstromMen banner, which provides shoppers with digital and physical pop-ups centred around new menswear. Previous collaborations involved Patagonia, Dior and a Japanese printing house.
During a phone call from Tokyo, Gibbs said what helped seal the deal for him was the inclusion of Italian label Marni, a brand he regularly wears and one he has always wanted to collaborate with, in the latest offering.
“One of the hallmarks of streetwear is collaboration,” Gibbs said. “The best way to do a collaboration is take the best things that each individual or party do well and marry them together. … What I learned through working with Nordstrom is that they treated this specially.”
In terms of in-store elements for the new Union & Co.-themed pop-ups, Gibbs said they were influenced by Union’s Tokyo store, which opened in 2018. Also, the concept’s overall look includes design touches by artist Kostas Seremetis, who created the promotional logo for the pop-up, as well as interior designer Sheila Bridges.
In particular, Bridges’ Harlem Toile wallpaper plays a role in the look of the pop-up designs, and it also turns up in Union’s actual collection for the collaboration, Gibbs said.
Thinking about the pop-up and the future, Gibbs said he wants Union to expand and have more bricks-and-mortar stores.
“We don’t want to be a little secret on La Brea for the rest of our lives,” Gibbs said. “In essence, it’s a Union pop-up but presenting it in a new way for the Nordstrom customer.”
Based on his experience working with Nordstrom, he said he should be open to doing another collaboration.
“We’re a streetwear store,” Gibbs said. “Most of the product we get is from friends. What has been kind of crazy had been seeing things on this way bigger scale. … I’m really excited about what we’re about to launch.”