The Arrivals on Friday plants a temporary stake on the West Coast as the elevated outerwear brand comes to Culver City, Calif., for a three-day pop-up.
The online direct-to-consumer brand, established in October 2014, has earned a steady following for its thoughtfully constructed line of contemporary outerwear and accessories focused on high-end fabrications, functionality and fit. The brand has so far established a physical presence for itself in New York with open studio Thursdays and by-appointment visits at its headquarters for customers, along with some pop-ups. The temporary shop at the Platform development marks its first physical presence on the West Coast and will also be celebrated with the offering of a limited-edition motorcycle jacket made from nubuck leather in a fitting sunset gold.
The brand’s roughly 800-square-foot store at Platform will fit right in among a tightly curated tenant roster that includes Aesop, Blue Bottle Coffee, Freda Salvador, Janessa Leone, Linda Farrow and Magasin.
The importance of having a physical presence — whether permanent or temporary — became clear right from the company’s start as its founders, Jeff Johnson and Kal Vepuri, became inundated with calls and e-mails from people asking where they could buy their product.
“What we realized is that having a beautiful web site is really important and you need to treat the web site as your flagship store through beautiful imagery and content,” Johnson said. “But at the same time, being a young brand, people are still very curious [and wonder] ‘Does that product integrity come through in person?’ So having this open studio is an important part.”
That observation also has the company looking farther out, mulling what a permanent storefront could do for the business, and it is shopping for space in New York.
“Moving forward, brick-and-mortar space is super important to us and I think it’s really valuable to us to host these short-term events to really gauge the curiosity of that city or that space or that region,” Johnson said. “For us, [our product] it’s not necessarily a low-price point item. A lot of the jackets, while they’re much more affordable than their peers…they’re still an investment piece.”
It’s luxury product for non-luxury prices, he said. Items from the current collection include a leather women’s moto jacket comprised of pebbled Italian leather with a removable fur collar that retails for $685. There’s also a modular men’s raincoat priced at $345 and a $385 women’s trench, both styles of which offer the option to shorten the coat length by unzipping the lower half.
Johnson said neighborhoods such as SoHo and NoLIta are attractive to the company but the location has to be “something that blends the natural density of commerce, like SoHo, but something that pulls in the nitty-gritty effect of Chinatown.”
The company’s also planning other pop-ups, though nothing that could be confirmed, for later in the year, given fall and holiday is the prime selling season for the brand.
Farther out, there are other considerations the company’s executives mull internally. For starters, the idea of whether they want to build out a wholesale business is continually discussed. While The Arrivals is able to offer the pricing it does because of there not being a wholesale component, that doesn’t negate the benefits that come with retail partnerships in places such as a Colette or Opening Ceremony, Johnson said by way of example. “I think it’s something that we will test into but, for now, we have so much runway for just our e-commerce model,” he added.
There’s also the question of category expansion. The idea behind the brand’s launch was to take Johnson’s learnings and ideas from his time as an architect and translate that into the performance details and protective qualities made up in coats.
“We are definitely thinking [about] what is the next step for us,” Johnson said. “We currently have designers working on that and for us the most important thing is whatever we do create, it maintains that product integrity and that design direction of The Arrivals. And, with that, we can really branch into a lot of apparel categories.”