There was no frenzied mad dash, but rather a calm, collected scene where shoppers – admitted a civilized 10 at a time – thoughtfully assessed their purchases unhurried, while lending advice to others on what size, color and silhouettes best suited their physiques.
Lined up single file, and postured with austere poise, the two-and-a-half hour queue observed by WWD late Friday afternoon was sprinkled with rumpled oxford cloth shirts, Harvard sweatshirts and Sperry topsiders.
Located in the heart of Back Bay at 899 Boylston Street – the pop-up’s line extended a block’s length down Gloucester Street, sometime curling around onto Newbury.
To help pass the time and condition shoppers for the experience inside, pop-up employees politely handed out merch menu pamphlets to those waiting.
“The hype is really awesome, this is a whole new type of fashion for people my age,” said Maya, a 16-year-old visiting from San Francisco. “I would [consider this high fashion] in a way, it’s so soughtafter and hard to find that it’s sort of a luxury product,” she said.
Eric, a 19-year-old Bostonian, went as far to say “Kanye is a God. Whatever price [the merch costs] is worth it.”
Opened as part of a surprise mass project by Kanye West and his Donda creative team – which this weekend saw temporary stores opened in 21 cities worldwide – the Boston location, like others, hawked location-specific merch for West’s “Life of Pablo” album.
Aligned with prior Pablo merch, Boston editions were laden in graphic artist Cali Thornhill DeWitt’s signature gothic lettering. T-shirts and sweatshirts, produced in white or ‘safety orange’ and priced from $55 to $105, came loaded with Pablo lyrics on the back and ‘Boston’ spelled out in front. Pablo military jackets ($325) and black satin bombers ($250) were among the first items to sell out.
Baseball caps embroidered, straightforwardly, with ‘Boston’ for $45 also proved popular; A particularly targeted design for a city that generally considers Red Sox caps an ideal sartorial investment.
Whether intentional or not, much of the merchandise options appealed to Boston’s more conservative predilections. Shoppers like Nancy of Duxbury, Ma. appreciated that none of the products featured profanity or marginalizing verbiage as design elements.
“I bought the sweatshirt that says ‘perfect’ on it for myself because I’m the perfect mom,” she said, checking out with $1,490 worth of goods for her children, nieces, and nephews. “I’m here for my kids and got all of the Christmas presents, too. [West] is a brilliant marketer. I think some of the messages [on the shirts] are very nice. I wouldn’t buy them for my kids if they said something inappropriate.”