Feb 15, 2019 | By Cassandra Napoli
Mar 15, 2018
Often left out of the streetwear conversation, female consumers are increasingly demanding both a voice in the culture and retailers to service them.
On the heels of our report, Retail Trends: The Hypebae and Streetwear Diversity, is an interview with Oliver Mak, co-founder of Boston-based streetwear and sneaker boutique Bodega. The store recently expanded to a space in downtown Los Angeles, and continues to grow its e-commerce presence.
At ComplexCon this year, Bodega was one of the most “female-friendly” booths – the Vans rose collection that was prominently displayed had real cross-gender appeal, and hosting events like nail art made it clear women were invited into the booth. Was the effort to include female attendees an explicit one, or a natural extension of the brand?
We went in with the intention of creating something more inclusive. Looking around our industry, we see that women are underrepresented and we used our space to create an experience and environment that takes action through a natural expression of who we are as a crew. If someone gives us space, you best believe we’re going to use it to create a community and show love to everyone who enters our alternate reality, where ideas, art and expression rule the world.
Bodega stocks apparel, accessories, and sneakers for women, but online, the site is merchandised under its own ‘Women’s’ tab. I know you can toggle to women’s sizes in the main footwear menu; but that feels a bit like an afterthought. Is this due to lack of interest, or poor sales, amongst specifically women’s goods?
We’re improving the site to keep up with our buying. Until recently, we only carried footwear for women – as our people started demanding more, that outpaced the site-redesign we’re working on this moment.
On an anecdotal level, what do you think powers your female customers? How are they approaching streetwear and sneakers? How do you think social media plays into it – and is that different for women and men?
Sneakers are the entry level into street fashion and that is very across the board, regardless of gender, location, class, creed. Unisex brands like PAM have helped get a new generation into street while high fashion’s fascination with our subculture has made social media one giant lookbook for the brands we admire and work with.
Are any elements of the Bodega in-store experience designed specifically for the female shopper?
We’re focused on footwear for women and we hope to be the best at that in terms of product offering. I think universally, people appreciate the element of discovery in our space – and hopefully everyone who finds us can be guided into something unique.
Like this? Check out WGSN Insight’s full report, Retail Trends: The Hypebae and Streetwear Diversity
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