HOPING TO LIGHT A FIRE: Burning Torch is lighting up retail for the first time with a store at 1627 Abbot Kinney Blvd. in Venice, Calif. “The intention of the store is not just to sell clothes. It is also a place where people can gather,” said designer Karyn Craven, who founded the Los Angeles-based brand in 1999.
“Sometimes you go into a store, and there’s racks, a desk and a computer. It is the opposite of that. We made sure we had a lot of seating.” She added that the 1,000-square-foot space is particularly fitting for Burning Torch, which uses recycled materials and is priced from $98 to $850, because it has had many lives. Built in 1925 as a lodge for the Fraternal Order of Eagles, it has also been boxing ring where Muhammad Ali trained and former Jefferson Airplane member Lee Michaels’ recording studio. Burning Torch is available at around 200 doors, including Shopbop.com and Nordstrom for the fall, and generated almost $10 million in sales last year.
Craven said more Burning Torch stores could be in the brand’s future, and she’s planning extensions into new categories, notably home, although the timetable for those extensions is yet to be determined. “I feel like we are sort of at the edge of a new beginning,” she said. Burning Torch will mark the store’s opening with a party on Wednesday [eds: June 20] during which a portion of the sales will be donated to the Cura Orphanage in Kenya.