Nestled in the heart of Chinatown on Gin Ling Way, amidst the kitschy shops selling Chinatown souvenirs, is a narrow boutique, who’s only advertisement is its name, “Choose Chinatown” stenciled in white lettering on the windows. They were having their Grand Opening on Friday the 13th.After a hearty dinner at Hop Louie, my friend and I arrived at the boutique. Since it was still fairly early, not many people were there, but that meant I was able to connect with the sales people and the owners on a more personal level. There were rows of Tecate set up on the front counter, beckoning for the arriving patrons to grab and quench their thirst. Meanwhile, DJ RoRo was playing the latest hits at his booth set up in the corner.
I met up with the owners of the “Pop-Up” shop, as they referred to it, Raymond Tseng and Jason Gillix. The concept of “Choose Chinatown” began about 3 ½ to 4 years ago, when the slogan was just on t-shirts. A friend of Ray’s designed the logo, while the slogan was based off of “Choose Life” during World AIDS Day. Seeing that the neighborhood kids were sporting them and that they were just selling well in general, they decided to open a boutique. They sell the brands, Cheap Monday and WKND. WKND is only sold in Europe, but they had the line shipped to their store. During these tough economic times, the prices aren’t bad either. Price points range from $20- $250. The best selling item, being the jeans, sell for $70 and the “CHOOSE CHINATOWN” tees sell for $20.
The designers of the installation were also there, Alex Chew and Danielle Wagner of the firm, All that is Solid. They came up with the idea of a playful, kitschy pop-up store that geared towards the target audience of the youth of this generation. I thought the balloons that decorated the ceiling were a fantastic idea. The total layout of the space was very modern and contemporary, with those little kitsch surprises displayed throughout. They told me that from concept to design, it took about a month, with the installation taking about a week. Check out www.allthatisolid.net for further information.
Note: The owners of “Choose Chinatown” also own “Lion’s Den” and “Welcome Hunters”, also in Chinatown. For more info, please visit www.choosechinatown.com. Choose Chinatown is located at 441 Gin Ling Way, Los Angeles, CA 90012.
Special thanks to Jose Garcia for letting me drag him out with me to the opening after work and on Friday the 13th….