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Image courtesy Lucy Akin
Interview

Lucy Akin

10.27.15

Every time we visit LA, a must stop on the list is Satine in Venice. The shop always features an excellent buy of designer and cool contemporary womenswear. So when we came across the e-commerce destination Shop Super Street recently, we were not surprised the founder was former Satine head buyer, Lucy Akin. Shop Super Street is the first of its kind – it mixes quintessential skate and streetwear culture and designers with brands like Rodarte, Rochas, Carven, and independent designers such as Apiece Apart, Nomia, and Newbark. Trust us when we say, a store like this doesn’t come along very often – one that is visionary and is responding to the street culture and providing a rare glimpse into a world one might not otherwise have the chance to explore.

Interview

How did the Shop Super Street concept develop?

Shop Super Street came together through two of my passions – fashion and skateboarding. I grew up in San Francisco where everyone skated. After working in fashion for a couple years, I noticed the gap between fashion and skate coming together. Skaters were becoming fashion stars and fashion stars were wearing Supreme, Palace, and all the other great skate brands. I wanted to make a website that played into this concept. I wanted to be the place that girls and boys went for fashion and skate.

Why did you decide to launch an e-commerce as opposed to a traditional brick and mortar?

I wanted to launch online because my skill set better played into online. I’m really good with visuals. I can look at the layout of a site and figure out what imagery is going to work harmoniously together. I love when an image really sells a product – it shows someone how to wear it, what culture the product belongs to… these are things I’m good at. Online seemed like the natural place for my store to be. Online is also great because we can cater to a larger audience, which is a major plus for us since we’re so niche. We get to sell to people all over the world.

Has it been tough to establish the Shop Super Street brand and following?

Any new business is always an uphill battle. I thankfully have a great team behind me though and we’ve been very well received by our audience. After we launched, word spread quickly. I was really thankful for that. I owe most of our success to the designers that we stock on the site. People seek them out so people have found us pretty easily.

You led the buying team at Satine before making the jump to your own brand – do you miss working alongside Jeannie?

Of course! Jeannie taught me everything I know. She was a great mentor to me. Satine was exciting to buy for – I got to go to fashion week starting at the age of 21 and sit front row at all the shows. I hustled really hard at Satine – we would have 10 to 12 appointments a day with designers (on top of the fashion show schedule) and I was traveling for a large part of the year. I had the privilege of buying great brands and it was a really special time for me. I got to see inside the world of fashion. It was an amazing start to a career in fashion.

How is your approach to buying different, or the same, with Shop Super Street?

Shop Super Street exists a little outside of fashion. A lot of the brands I carry don’t even have a presence at fashion week. I try to find brands that no one knows about yet and aren’t in a lot of places online.

Your buy is so unique and interesting – what draws you to a brand?

A brand always has to have a unique voice. I’m not looking for the less-expensive version of this major fashion house piece from last season. I like when a brand has it’s own voice. I think being a designer today is really hard. There is so much clutter you have to break through. So when I see something new and unique, I pounce on it.

My knowledge of skate brands is limited, unfortunately – but have the brands represented on your site discovered a new positioning alongside Rodarte, Carven, Moschino?

Absolutely. We are the only women’s site in the US to stock HUF as of right now. Same as Palace skateboards. The girl who wants to wear a Moschino tweety bird bucket bag is totally going to be down to wear a pair of HUF socks that look like beer cans.

Do the customers overlap?

At the warehouse, we have what we call “cool girl” orders. This is an order where you see someone buying the mix that we offer. She’s getting her HUF t-shirt, herringbone chain, and a pair of Rochas heels. People are definitely interested in the mix. I think our voice may be unique but it’s pretty relevant in fashion right now.

Are you interested in emerging designers?

Of course. In fashion, you have to keep your eyes open all the time. I think with social media, a lot of fashion is happening outside of fashion now- if that makes any sense. That’s how we got our name, actually – fashion started happening more on the street than in the shows. We’re super street.

What is exciting to you about LA fashion?

LA fashion is so exciting again! We have so many cool designers and stores that have come to LA. There’s something for everyone now and there’s so many different voices now.

How has the scene changed in the last ten years?

I think what has changed is people’s knowledge and access to fashion. There’s so much more diversity in LA now – I don’t think there is an “LA” look anymore like there was 10 years ago. You’ve got club rats, punks, skaters, fashion girls, vintage girls, etc all under the same roof!

Did you attend the SS16 shows? Any new designers coming to the site next year?

I didn’t really participate in fashion week this year since I was so busy opening up our new store in LA! I ended up only going to the Mansur Gavriel presentation and the Rodarte show. But I sent my friend Courtney Trop (Always Judging) to all the shows for me – Sandy Liang, Rochas, Wang, Moschino, Jeremy Scott, Y Project… As for new designers, we added Maryam Nassir Zadeh to the site this year which I’m really excited about. We also added Simon Miller, Isabel Marant, and Erin Wasson’s new line of fine jewelry this season!

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