New York Times - Venice Beach Shop Profile
"A Very Venice Store for Eco-Friendly Clothes — and Chaga"
Since they launched their unisex clothing brand, Olderbrother, in Portland, Ore., four years ago, the designers Bobby Bonaparte and Max Kingery had hoped to open a retail space. It’s rarely an easy rite of passage — and perhaps made more complicated when an elaborate display of mushrooms is among the desired amenities. Fungi aren’t typically the province of fashion designers, but Bonaparte and Kingery create their garments with natural textiles and dyes, and for fall 2018, they made boxy plaid button-downs and roomy corduroy pants from organic Japanese cotton colored with chaga mushrooms. “We saw a store as a portal to bring people into what we’re doing,” Bonaparte explains. “It’s kind of like the idea behind a farm-to-table restaurant, using each seasonal concept as a way to re-envision the shop and tell a new story.”
Last month, following a search for a location on both coasts, the first Olderbrother store officially opened inside a 1940s bungalow on Venice Beach in Los Angeles. The mushroom garden, fully realized, is unmissable, positioned in the center of the room, while clothing racks filled with the brand’s eco-friendly basics run along the perimeter. Chunks of chaga sourced from the Adirondacks sit atop shelves like abstract sculpture and even the tiles covering the service counter are crafted from mushrooms. The designers also assembled a stack of books that keep with the theme, from a Tintin comic in which the titular hero visits a Chinese healer to technical Russian foraging guides. “Brick-and-mortar retail is giving us another type of meaningful experience with our customers,” Kingery says, noting that until this point their business has been mainly online. He and Bonaparte now jokingly refer to the store as “the shroom shack” — an apt name, really, until springtime, when their saffron-dyed range moves in. 566 Rose Avenue, Venice, Calif., olderbrother.us. — HILARY MOSS