LONDON — Juice, the multibrand retail concept founded by Edison Chen under his fashion label Clot, this month added a new U.S. location in the neighborhood of Kaka‘ako in Honolulu.
The clean and modern 9,000-square-foot space, designed by the Perron-Roettinger Design Firm, is the latest expansion step for Juice after going through a wave of store closures in China during the prolonged COVID-19 pandemic.
Chen explained to WWD that the stores in Beijing Sanlitun and Chengdu Sino-Ocean Taikoo Li were closed because the company’s license agreements with local franchisees were coming to an end.
“We’re going to be following up real soon in these two areas with new stores, new vibes and new directions. We opened in Hawaii and plan to open a Vancouver store, Las Vegas store, and a couple more locations in China are on the brink,” he added.
While the pandemic has disrupted its business, Chen said Clot and Juice are lucky to have a supportive fan base and to have “a lot of collaborations and partnerships with big companies and companies that we love and love to work with” that have enabled the brands to weather the challenging retail climate in the past few years.
Looking ahead, Chen thinks Juice will operate more like a lifestyle center, especially after Clot launches its stand-alone stores.
“When that happens, the Juice store will become even more of a select store. Clot clothes will live only in the Clot store, and Juice will finally be an international selection without our own brand, so we’re excited for the new step,” he said.
Chen added that Clottee, a subbrand under Clot that aims to speak to a younger crowd, plans to open stores across many cities in China in the next two years, while Juice will be opening a few flagship pop-up stores in the next 18 months.
Juice Honolulu, soft-launched last Friday with the unveiling of the front part of the store, serves as a teaser of what is to come for Juice in China.
Divided into three areas, the store at the moment has a triangular-shaped interior filled with Chen’s private art collection, and a mix of apparel, accessories and lifestyle offerings from brands like Saint Michael, Vlone, Hood by Air, Converse and Dr. Woo x Neighbourhood, as well as a limited Hawaii-only capsule, including exclusive items such as a custom shirt from Miyagihidetaka, and bear figurines from the Clot and Medicom Toy Be@Rbrick collaboration.
“When we are completely open, it’s going to be a mega store with a pop-up space and a gallery space,” Chen added.
Vlone, the fashion label from Harlem, N.Y., will be hosting a pop-up during which brand founder Jabari Shelton, aka A$AP Bari, will hold a party in the warehouse space, while street fashion label Emotionally Unavailable, founded by Chen and Kybum Lee, a creative consultant who works with various brands such as Nike and Stüssy, will launch a series of locally made and sourced products.
“A lot of my friends are going to be coming and doing this and that. Dr. Woo is going to have a little section, and hopefully one day he’ll come to do a pop-up tattoo gallery and just bring life and energy to the area,” Chen said.
The actor-turned-entrepreneur said he decided to open a store in Honolulu because he has visited the island many times, and he always thought that “something was missing.”
“I mean, all the different colors and races in Hawaii, they seem hungry for some lifestyle and culture. They get to see it a lot, but they don’t get to live it a lot. So, identifying with a lot of the Asian locals actually made me feel like the Juice store should be in Hawaii. They’re definitely a part of the culture, so I wanted to include them in the conversation,” Chen added.
As for why he located the store in the local neighborhood of Kaka‘ako instead of the usual fashion destinations, he explained he wants to create a space that embraces the local community, as he has done with the other 10 Juice locations across mainland China, Hong Hong, Taiwan and the U.S.
“Kaka‘ako is a very local area in town. Most of the stuff are mom-and-pop stores, local brands like Island-Boy and Fishcake, really great camera stores, and a couple of cafés and stuff that I love. It doesn’t seem so much like outsiders coming in, and that’s the vibe we’ve been doing,” Chen said.
“We’ve been building a lot of grassroots programs with a lot of restaurants and farmer’s market people and a lot of the local fashion brands and so on. Honolulu in Hawaii is like my second home now, and it deserves a retail outlet that caters to the lifestyle and culture from every angle,” he said.