Aust more than doubled its space on Abbot Kinney when it relocated to new street front digs on the famed street, riding on rising popularity of Australian labels.
The store, at 1219 Abbot Kinney Boulevard in Venice, Calif., is stocked with men’s and women’s clothing and accessories from Australian labels — about 30 in total — such as Zimmermann, Bec and Bridge, Rhythm and Zanerobe. There are also sunglasses from Valley Eyewear.
Two-and-a-half years ago Hannah Wang opened Aust in a roughly 500-square-foot shop that could be found behind a flower shop and down a winding path, hidden from the main drag. It was a good place to start and test out the concept but business has been strong enough that a more visible move made sense.
“This is a natural fit for us now that we’re street front with all the big corporations, even though we’re an independent business,” Wang said.
It’s an observation of Abbot Kinney’s broader shifting tenant mix that’s seen an influx of global brands taking space on a street that was once home to mom and pops and independent designers and jewelers.
Aust also operates an online shop, which has been open about as long as the brick-and-mortar store concept. Wang said she opened the store with the aim of bringing a little bit of Australian fashion to the U.S.
“Rather than the aesthetic itself, which I do think is different, I find the strength of fashion here is you have these really great, inexpensive places to go to shop like Forever 21, H&M and all these big corporations. Or you have these really high-end designers that are a fair bit more expensive and not always accessible to the everyday person,” Wang said. “Both are mostly corporation driven. What I find in Australia is that it’s very independent designer driven.”
The Australian labels she carries reflect a laid-back, active culture that’s caught on in the U.S. and particularly in Los Angeles, where synergies in the way of weather, for example, have helped some of these brands take off.
She’s not the only one who has caught on.
Online retailer BNKR is set to move into space in downtown Los Angeles for its flagship at the corner of Broadway and 9th Street, a block that’s also home to Aesop and APC. The retailer carries brands such as C/MEO Collective, Finders Keepers, Keepsake and The Fifth.
High-end label Bassike opened its first shop outside of its home base in Australia earlier this year, selecting the burgeoning Lincoln Boulevard for its store. It’s one of a few streets in Venice that’s becoming an alternative to Abbot Kinney. Bassike’s 1,100-square-foot store is the start of additional U.S. openings for the brand over the next five years.