There are cities larger than Lafayette, Louisiana that don’t really have a decent sneaker boutique, but fortunately Lafayette has one of the South’s best, a store with the unlikely name of Politics. Politics has the T-shirt lines you would expect, like The Hundreds and 10 Deep, and shoes for any color scheme, but they also have lots of local mix CD’s, many of which are free for the asking. From their base in Lafayette, Politics has now branched out to New Orleans and Baton Rouge, and is planning a different kind of more upscale clothing store in Lafayette as well. Politics is definitely worth a visit anytime you’re in Louisiana.
When I rolled through the Castleberry Hill neighborhood of Atlanta on Thanksgiving night, it was well after midnight and yet I noticed that the hip-hop clothing store Fly Kix was not only open but crowded, so I found a spot where I could park for free a few blocks away, and walked back to the shop. It turned out that Fly Kix was having a customer appreciation sale, with a lot of merchandise heavily discounted, and I found some T-shirts that I knew would make great Christmas gifts. The store was literally filled with people, and I met the young woman who owned the place, as well as Atlanta rap artist Money Makin Nique. Checking out ended up taking an hour of waiting in line due to the crowds of shoppers and significantly-deep discounts.
During the brief period between the end of the afternoon panel and the start of the evening panel, I rode over to the Plaza-Midwood neighborhood of Charlotte and walked around. Plaza-Midwood is home to several of Charlotte’s oldest restaurants, including The Diamond and The Penguin, and is also home to the Fresh Exclusive Sneaker Boutique and the Social Status hip-hop shop.
I had seen some designs I really liked at the Eight and Nine Clothing tent at the Style Village, but they didn’t have my size in them, so the people there advised me to drive nearby to a store called Threadz. In the event, Threadz didn’t have the sizes I needed either, but it proved to be a really cool urban wear boutique that I hadn’t been familiar with at all. Similar to Wish Atlanta, Threadz has a front room that features shirts and pants, and a separate room in the back that seems dedicated to sneakers. Fans of Eight and Nine Clothing will find plenty of designs (at least when supplies haven’t been decimated by special events like A3C).
Because I didn’t think I’d get to otherwise, I spent the better part of Thursday during the day going around to some of my favorite stores and shops in Atlanta, like Decatur CD, Criminal Records, Wax-N-Facts and Wish ATL, and discovered some new spots, like Stadium (a hip-hop clothing boutique), Beatlab (a record store for DJ’s) and Atlast Clothing (a new hip-hop line and shop). All in all, it was an enjoyable day before I headed down to the Melia for A3C events and activities.
Considering the high importance of urban fashion at this year’s A3C, it wasn’t surprising that there was a Dunk Xchange sneaker and fashion buy, sell and trade meet at the Quad on Spring Street. There was a DJ providing the right sonic background, and plenty of fashions and kicks to fit any taste or budget.
I didn’t expect to run into a hip-hop shop in the CocoWalk, but that’s exactly what Soles Inc turned out to be. They have an extensive selection of shoes in many brilliant colors, and shirts from Undefeated, Play Clothes, The Hundreds and many other popular brands, including a small variety of their own Soles-branded shirts and caps. There are apparently several of these stores around Miami and Fort Lauderdale, but if you live elsewhere, they sell online at http://solesinc.bigcartel.com/. You can also like them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Soles-Inc/144614622411.
The Black Republic is a new hip-hop shop in West Charlotte on West Boulevard just east of Remount Road. Besides an impressive selection of hip-hop clothing from Fly Society, Playwear, 10 Deep, Crooks and Castles and more, Black Republic also sells mixtapes by local DJ’s including Carolina legend DJ Chuck T. It’s kind of off the beaten path, but worth a detour.