Luxury brand Áwet is propelling its purpose with its first flagship.
The store — a 2,100-square-foot space located at 57 Bond Street — features an ever-evolving roster of luxury designers of color, a first-of-its-kind in New York City in a permanent fixture. The brand celebrated its launch Saturday night with an event.
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Brands featured in the store’s opening curation include Brooklyn-based Muehleder, Los Angeles-based Harbison Studio, Busayo and jewelry brand Gogo.
The new shop is called “Livewear,” a term the designers collectively coined to describe the modern and timeless essentials customers can’t live without. In the spirit of community, the store will also serve as a space for designers to host events, art shows and gatherings to foster bonds within the community. Through shopping at Livewear, customers get the chance to learn about new and diverse luxury brands.
On the opening, founder and creative director Awet Woldegebriel said, “As a new brand, we know how difficult it can be to open a brick-and-mortar store, especially in a prime location like Bond Street with excellent foot traffic and an upscale clientele. In the spirit of community, we’re so excited to introduce New York City’s first BIPOC luxury store, in which we prioritize and promote BIPOC–owned businesses.”
Woldegebriel told WWD the space is meant to marry art, design and passion to make the storefront more of a “destination rather than just a place of commerce.”
“We’ve been missing that [experience] for a long time in New York City, so we’re really trying to figure out what kind of artist should we invite, what kind of furniture designers that they usually sell at galleries? It elevates the space in a way. On top of that, usually with BIPOC brands, it’s some hanger in the corner. It’s not well done,” he said. “I want to make sure the BIPOC brands that we’ve invited to be a part of this are celebrated.”
Local artists and emerging furniture designers created a modern and polished space. Store designer Jose Esperon looked to clean materials and muted colors for the store’s design so artwork had a visible presence without detracting from the minimalist design. Esperon said a shared vision with Woldegebriel fueled the space.
This isn’t the first time the fashion designer has collaborated to execute his vision. Last February for New York Fashion Week, Woldegebriel put together a Black-owned brand showroom in a 2,000-square-foot storefront in SoHo. In December 2021, the designer partnered with Kenneth Cole to host a holiday pop-up shop. Áwet’s new flagship — which is in Cole’s former space — is a fitting tribute to Cole’s 40th brand anniversary.
As with all of the brand’s initiatives, Áwet’s goal is to lighten the financial lift for brands. As such, designers will keep 100 percent of their sales, while being a viable contributor to the space’s culture and events.
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