Call me crazy, but I have this theory that Chinatown is set to be the next big shopping destination in LA. First the galleries moved in, then a few renegade boutiques popped up - Munky King with its collectibles and streetwear and, one of my favorites in the city, Welcome Hunters with a fantastic selection of Scandinavian and Aussie fashion - and I just have a hunch that more and more are going to start following suit.
Sometimes I think it might just be wishful thinking on my part, as I am slightly enamored with Chinatown: the oddly comforting scent of ramen noodles that thickens the air, all of the little knicknack shops filled with LA souvenirs left over from the '80s and the Chinese power ballads playing softly on the stereos, the fact that you can buy a box of 100 green jasmine tea bags for less than $2.
But maybe not. New High (M)art is the newest addition to the neighborhood retail scene, tucked away in a nondescript mini-mall between takeout restaurants. It's basically set to be a permanent venue for a monthly rotation of pop-up shops, each one curated by a different fashion personality. The first - and current - one is devoted to Brian Lichtenburg, who is well-known in the city for his unisex club-gear. The shop carries a nice selection of his hoodies, day-glo tank tops, holographic leggings, chunky plastic necklaces and customized Wayfarers, along with mix CDs and photography presumably curated by the designer himself.
It's quite possibly the tiniest retail space I've ever been in, but it still had an impact on me - even though the pop-up concept has been done hundreds of times over in other parts of the world, it's really quite daring for LA. Plus, I love the idea of finding a new shop every time I come to Chinatown to buy my tea. Perhaps my theory isn't so far off after all...