Mark “The Cobra Snake” Hunter is taking a bite out of L.A.’s shopping scene with his latest venture, The Cobra Shop. The vintage outpost, which opened in the Hollywood & Highland Center mall last month, sells exclusive pieces by some of Hunter’s famous friends: Jeremy Scott, Shepard Fairey, Todd Selby and DJ Steve Aoki.
Originally a party photographer for his Web site, The Cobra Snake, these days Hunter is more likely shooting for Calvin Klein and Helmut Lang, collaborating with Rvca on his capsule collection, leading a daily hiking team, riding his Vespa and, now, running his store. Although he initially envisioned it as a pop-up shop, Hunter has already decided to continue at least through spring 2011.
“It all started as an experiment,” Hunter says. “My Web site was an experiment, then I made screen-print T-shirts — wondering if anyone would buy them — and they sold out. There was a huge demand for this store so I decided to try it.”
Like a flashback to the Eighties and Nineties, The Cobra Shop is decked out with fluorescent road signs, outdated Apple monitors, mismatched couches, stacks of VHS tapes like “Abs of Steel” and the 1981 Dan Aykroyd vehicle “A Gun in the House,” plastic snake toys and a washing machine.
“It’s like having a secret little hideout that is filled with cool stuff,” says Peaches Geldof, who was hanging out at Camp Cobra one afternoon. “It feels like you are walking into ‘Freaks and Geeks’ or something.”
Hunter just thinks it’s a nice alternative to designer boutiques. “When I am photographing parties, you will see, like three girls in the same Target Rodarte dress. If you shop here, that won’t happen,” he says, adding that he is toying with opening another retail location, though with a new vibe. “I think it would be cool just to have a different experience. This is like a pawn shop but maybe the next one is a casino theme.”
The Cobra Shop at Hollywood & Highland Center; 6801 Hollywood Blvd.; shop.thecobrasnake.com.
Prices range from $1 Cobra Snake stickers to $800 for Jeremy Scott collection items.
Here, Hunter shares his 10 favorite items in the store.
Jeremy Scott print leggings — “These are just really classy.”
Mint condition dead stock Adidas shorts from the Eighties found in an abandoned San Francisco warehouse — “I like shorts because I rarely wear pants.”
Cobra Snake x Rvca Party Time sweatshirt — “It’s the perfect L.A. sweater because it’s never really cold here.”
Cobra Snake x Rvca Eat My Shorts shorts with an image of a burger — “These delicious burger shorts are good, versatile shorts for any day.”
A selection of colorful, quirky vintage sunglasses — “These are a lot of older designs that you can’t find anymore and they’re like brand new.”
Shoes from Steve Aoki’s personal sneaker collection — “We sold my favorite pair earlier today.”
Joe Boxer Smiley Face T-shirt — “It’s funny because Joe Boxer was supercool when it was originally out but then it wasn’t. Now, we are making it cool again.”
“The Selby Book” by Todd Selby, including a limited edition insert and tote bag — “We made a limited edition, bootleg version with photos of my family in it.”
Outline screen-printed black Levi’s shorts — “It’s crazy to see the texture that the paint leaves on this uneven surface.”
Outline screen-printed Givenchy T-shirt – “This one is pretty dope. Every single one is different and unique.”