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BODEGA Boston, OBEY Shop Spotlight

This week for our OBEY Shop Highlight we take it to Boston to highlight another great shop doing it their own way. Check out BODEGA next time you’re in Bean Town.

6 Clearway St
Boston, MA 02115

Hidden within a secret passage of a dusty unmarked convenience store in Boston lies one of the most talked about retail and design concepts on the planet. Bodega is not advertised, and one would never accidentally stumble upon it, yet its tightly curated shelves sell out weekly and the crew’s own design projects create campouts in cities around the world and bidding wars for knockoffs online.

Founded in 2006 by a DJ, a painter, and a ceramics artist, Bodega became an urban legend before their doors even opened. Industry buzz was hitting a fever pitch upon the opening for the Boston retail space, while design projects for the crew started queuing up. Bodega’s prominence quickly solidified with their debut, earning accolades from GQ, Complex, Vogue, the New York Times and countless other publications. All the while, the shop remained entirely hidden with no advertisement and no active PR. The weight of the shop’s experience, the strength of Bodega’s design work, and the progressive direction of product made this neighborhood store a global phenomenon.

All this serves well to get throngs of people into the store, but the question still arises of how to keep them coming back: selecting highly coveted collections, scouring the earth for quality over hype, designing surgically precise projects for the likes of Nike and Adidas, among numerous others. In 2009, Bodega established a nearby art space – Fourth Wall Project. Fourth Wall is dedicated to nurturing local DIY arts as well as presenting exhibitions from international artists. The space has been garnering the attention of the cultural masses, having recently won “Best of Boston” in the Gallery category of local publication Improper Bostonian.

Oliver Mak, one of the founders of Bodega, answers some questions for us.

1) What are you guys into right now? Music? Movies? Clothing? Design? Anything?
There’s so much coming out for art and music that it’s hard to sift through and find the gems. For music, a bunch of my friends keep popping up in my ear drums and on stage. The Whiskey Barons, Soul Clap, DJ Kon, and Durkin have been putting out great edits and remixes. For bands, Twin Shadow, Creaturos, Skaters, and Quilt are creating wonderful pop, rock n roll & psych(respectively).

Other items of note:
For better or worse, I recently got back into the surreal films of Alejandro Jodorowski which led to a rewatching of David Lynch’s Blue Velvet, which subsequently lead to reading two collections of essays by David Foster Wallace.
We picked up this interesting line of accessories from George Frost that flips the best elements of 20th century US Military vintage.
Been into this zine – No Thoughts.
Courtney Moy is a great print maker. We both like Lucky Peach magazine

2) What does Boston represent to you?

It’s the intellectual capital of the country and an international hub as a result, but DIY punk rock graffiti culture stays super underground. There’s been a well publicized crack down on basement shows and alternative venues lately. Boston is a continual struggle of the underground fighting to exist. We had to go as far as opening up our own shop and our own art gallery to help turn the tide.

3) What is your favorite place to travel?
Lake Umbagog in Maine. You rent a remote camp site, fill up a canoe with supplies and go off the grid for a couple days of fishing and floating under a big sky. Montana is great as well.

4) Favorite City?
Barcelona got dat funk. NYC got dat funk.

5)Favorite Restaurant?
Friendly Toast in Portsmouth NH. It’s a museum of bad art and kitsch with home made bread, and is open 24 hours on the weekends.

6) How you got into the clothing game?
A combination of playing in bands in high school, traveling, and meeting the right people through DJing and art.