HIS FAVORITE THINGS: A$AP Rocky is no stranger to fashion, having appeared in campaigns for brands ranging from Dior to Zalando and designing capsule collections for Guess. For his latest project, he’s moved into retail with a pop-up at Selfridges that’s been designed to resemble a New York-style bodega.
The musician, a loyal customer of the Oxford Street store, wanted to re-create the bodega experience in his native New York – still one of his favorite cities – so he put together a patchwork of his favorite things, ranging from doughnuts to hoodies.
“Rocky was born and raised in New York, where you’ll find bodegas on every block,” said Matthew Henson, fashion director of the musician’s creative collective, AWGE. “We felt like this was an experience that was only happening in New York City. I mean, there’s small one-stop shops elsewhere, but there’s nothing like a full bodega experience. So we took some of his favorite items and things he’s always wanted to make, and opened up the shop in London, which is one of his favorite cities.”
The space, dubbed “AWGE Bodega,”is located in a hidden corner of the store’s lower ground floor. It has a rustic, messy style typical of bodegas, with graffiti-ed walls, a broken phone box and an ice cream freezer all messily thrown together at the entrance. Inside, each aisle is filled with shelves packed with everything from energy drinks and candies to cereal boxes customized with illustrations of Rocky on them, to back-to-school stationery and clothing.
“Rocky is a big fan of sweets and snacks, so there are Twinkies, Lucky Charms and Krispy Kremes – we did a collaboration with them just for today. There’s also little things that feel like childhood memories: pencils, pens, pads, blankets,” added Henson, who also pointed to the variety of clothing on offer. The bodega sells a mix of brands designed by Rocky’s creative collective, including a skate-based label by the rapper A$AP Nast and Last Year Being Broke, an urban label by A$AP Twelvyy, known for its T-shirts and sweatshirts bearing the playful brand slogan.
The opening of the bodega on Monday morning drew many of Rocky’s fans and streetwear aficionados in search of limited edition merchandise.
“There’s a ton of kids outside, but this is not just for kids – it’s for the kids but also, you know, you or me. This store is like a New York experience, for anybody that’s not been to New York, and seen the New York bodegas,” added Henson.
Kids, albeit sophisticated ones dressed in Off-White and Gucci sneakers, Supreme T-shirts or A-Cold-Wall sweaters wrapped over their necks, were the ones who attended the opening. They lined up outside and waited to receive wristbands and to be allocated a 15-minute time slot to shop. Once inside, with iPhones to capture the space on Instagram stories, young customers roamed the aisles, mainly stopping at the clothing sections.
The luckier ones also managed to grab a selfie with Rocky, who made a flash appearance behind the counter.