There are cities larger than Lafayette, Louisiana that don’t really have a decent sneaker boutique, but fortunately Lafayette has one of the South’s best, a store with the unlikely name of Politics. Politics has the T-shirt lines you would expect, like The Hundreds and 10 Deep, and shoes for any color scheme, but they also have lots of local mix CD’s, many of which are free for the asking. From their base in Lafayette, Politics has now branched out to New Orleans and Baton Rouge, and is planning a different kind of more upscale clothing store in Lafayette as well. Politics is definitely worth a visit anytime you’re in Louisiana.
When I rolled through the Castleberry Hill neighborhood of Atlanta on Thanksgiving night, it was well after midnight and yet I noticed that the hip-hop clothing store Fly Kix was not only open but crowded, so I found a spot where I could park for free a few blocks away, and walked back to the shop. It turned out that Fly Kix was having a customer appreciation sale, with a lot of merchandise heavily discounted, and I found some T-shirts that I knew would make great Christmas gifts. The store was literally filled with people, and I met the young woman who owned the place, as well as Atlanta rap artist Money Makin Nique. Checking out ended up taking an hour of waiting in line due to the crowds of shoppers and significantly-deep discounts.
Reggae Wear is a cool store on Miami Beach’s Washington Avenue, featuring many different reggae-related clothing lines for both men and women, including official Bob Marley apparel, and Jamaica’s popular Cooyah line. The store has an extensive selection, but if for any reason you cannot find the size or design you’re looking for, check their website for even more items.
The Mob Store is a new hip-hop shop that opened in March in South Austin. The shop features T-shirts and caps, DVD’s, mixtapes and car stereo equipment, with a special emphasis on local artists. Pay them a visit at 4360 S Congress Avenue, #107 in Austin.
While walking in East Austin, I noticed this big bus promoting Mighty Healthy clothing. Mighty Healthy is a skater and hip-hop clothing line from Brooklyn, New York that was formed through a collaboration between a DJ and skateboarders.
The large crowd in front of Collective Status told me that something important was going on. There was a DJ mixing in the window, but that’s not unusual during SXSW, so there had to be more to it, and as it turned out, there was. The diminutive DJ was DJ Baby Chino, a Las Vegas-based entertainer who has been billed “The World’s Youngest DJ.” He’s certainly the youngest I’ve ever seen, and has skills beyond some grown folks.
Also across the street from the Fader Fort was a new urban wear shop called The Bureau Lifestyle, which featured an unusual selection of unfamiliar hip-hop clothing brands and shoes. I was also impressed with the luxurious look of the store, and the large DJ booth prominently located in the center. Apparently The Bureau also serves as a venue for performances and parties. They are located at 908 E. 5th Street Suite #106 in East Austin, and can be reached at (512) 369-3753. They’re also on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/bureaulifestyle.
I first noticed Collective Status last year at SXSW, and the iconic hip-hop shop seems something of an anomaly amongst 6th Street’s seemingly-endless row of bars and clubs. But the upscale urban clothing boutique has a DJ in its front window during the festival, and helps sponsor some of the hip-hop showcases as well. They carry most of the popular clothing lines including Rocksmith, Crooks and Castles, 10 Deep and Pink Dolphin. They also have fitted caps, watches and shoes. If you visit, be sure to check out the custom-made figurine of the late Pimp C of UGK beside the cash register. Collective Status is located at 516 E. Sixth Street in Austin. Call them at (512) 480-0088 or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.