When digital-first, direct-to-consumer activewear brand Outdoor Voices began getting into brick-and-mortar retail, Los Angeles seemed like an obvious place to have a physical presence. It's difficult to think of a more fitness- or wellness-obsessed city, or many more rife with opportunities for getting out and #doingthings.
Having already opened stores in New York, Austin and Aspen, the now-Austin-based company dipped its toes into LA waters this summer with a pop-up at The Grove. Drawn to the shopping hub of West Hollywood where Melrose Place and Melrose Ave intersect — thanks to A.P.C. (an investor in the brand)'s flagship in the area — Outdoor Voices jumped on a recent vacancy: 8425 Melrose Ave, formerly the home of beloved indie designer boutique Tenoversix, which has relocated to Miami. Opening Saturday, this location will be Outdoor Voices' second in California; it quietly opened one in San Francisco just last week.
Each store is designed with its location in mind. LA's outpost is meant to have a subtly holistic, metaphysical feel, which can be seen in the use of more saturated jewel-tone colors, meant to evoke healing stones and crystals. Each fitting room, for instance, is enveloped by a rich-hued curtain that gives each one a distinctive vibe. Also unique: the circular cash wrap is located in the center of the store, so customers can come at it from all sides. There's also outdoor seating and plans to install skylights to make the store feel even more sun-drenched than it is.
Like the existing OV stores, LA has its own dedicated merch, including long-sleeves, T-shirts, cropped tees, hats and totes in a palette of pale and bold pink, with muted grey and blue accents. Also like the other locations, this one will be focused on creating a sense of community through IRL events and activities: While the brand has been hosting hikes, jogs and other group activities in LA since even before the pop-up opened, the new store will serve as a physical "clubhouse" for them.
And on a more serious and topical note, the brand is also addressing the fires that have plagued LA recently: To support the Thomas Fire relief efforts, it will be donating 15 percent of opening day sales to The Humane Society of Ventura County. (The HSVC's Thomas Fire Rescue Fund helps provide shelter, supplies, and safety to animals across Ventura County displaced by the fire, according to the brand.)
Outdoor Voices' rapid store expansion is another sign that brick-and-mortar retail isn't dead, but its focus on experiences is a sign of how it needs to evolve.