David Meyer | July 12, 2017 | Lifestyle
A Tale of Two Store Openings
In Paris, one of the more recent forms of flattery is the phrase, "très Brooklyn," (translation: very Brooklyn). The New York borough, once an immigrant melting pot and blue collar bastion, has evolved over the last twenty years to become synonymous with all that is crafted, casual, creative, reclaimed and steeped in retro nostalgia.
A double shot of this forward-to-the-past aesthetic has arrived in Aspen with the opening of two new retail shops. Maker + Place, a pop-up/shared workspace/studio space, specializing in handmade luxury home objects, has taken over the old Hub Bicycle space. And just a vinyl-record’s-throw away, the cult surfing brand Aviator Nation opened its sixth U.S. location (first outside of California) on the Mill Street Mall.
At Maker + Place, a working loom greets its customers. If you’re lucky it will be manned by the store’s founder, Michaela Carpenter-Olson, a recent textile and weaving student at Chelsea College of Art and Design in London. She has invited a number of artists over the summer to come and work on their various object-making crafts. For her, the purpose of this place is to remind people that objects have meaning. “They are tools of connection,” she explains, “bringing us closer in our daily rituals and routines.”
A candlestick and table runner at pop-up concept store Maker + Place.
For sale, you will find handmade cutlery, jewelry, and pottery all displayed upon handmade tables and handwoven rugs. To help share the cost of the rent, the local non-profit Aspen Entrepreneurs has set up a shared workspace in the rear. The very latest in commercial traditions and the very oldest in commercial traditions make excellent roommates.
A tabletop tableau at Maker + Place
Aviator Nation, a sporty/retro clothing line with roots in both surfing and skiing, matriculates not from Brooklyn, but from its West Coast sister, Venice Beach. The brand’s signature motif of bold, bright stripes decorates the store both inside and out. The upstairs has been turned into a comfy lounge (a welcome reprieve in a retail landscape where each last inch must always sell, sell, sell!) There’s a pool table, ‘70s-era sofas, a terrace, and vintage Aspen ski posters including the infamous Lange, “Soft Inside” campaign.
The pool table at Aviator Nation
“Soft Inside” wouldn’t be a bad tagline for Aviator’s scrumptiously soft, hand-stitched clothing. And while one would assume that ‘70s graphic design was the designer’s main inspiration it was actually ‘70s music.
“Music is a huge part of my life,” explains founder Paige Mycoskie. “That era in particular inspired a lot of the color combinations, a lot of the brand.” The ‘70s, in addition to being the golden age of rock ‘n roll, was also the last age before the computer would digitize our world forever. Who knew we would miss that analogue life so much?