HOUSTON – (By Michelle Leigh Smith) – Some mornings, customers are queued up by 4 a.m. for a shot at purchasing the hottest release Social Status has to offer. One day, the shoe may be from the infamous Yeezy Boost lineup. Another day, the line is for a shoe from the self-proclaimed supernova Belgian designer Raf Simons. Release dates for specialty shoes are posted on the website. Look for Air Jordan Decon 2 later this summer.
Fashion forward shopping is an important part of the mix at CityCentre, a pedestrian-oriented mixed-use destination developed by Midway in west Houston, near the intersection of Interstate 10 and Beltway 8.
“For us, we are constantly trying to stay in touch with what’s new and exciting,” says Suzanne Weatherall, Senior VP, Commercial for Midway Companies. “We just knew that when we met with them, they were the type of retailer that could be very interesting for CityCentre and for Houston in general. We’ve always had the goal of bringing tenants who are new and exciting to Houston. With this being their first location in Texas, it’s a great draw for all of us. It has a strong men’s athletic component and that’s something we’ve been looking for. The appeal is diverse – there’s young people who are very interested in having the newest shoes and there are older ones who remember their first pair of Nikes who want to try the re-engineered version.”
Friday, Cortez Bryant, manager for Lil’ Wayne, was the first customer at City Centre’s Social Status, a hip hop clothing and shoe emporium at 818 Town & Country Way. The Houston destination makes a total of eight Social Status locations in the United States, with other locations in North Carolina, Pittsburgh and Atlanta.
Manager Reggie Bowden is a local resident of Houston and has successfully opened Social Status and already counts the Houston native Bun B, D.J. Stone, Lil’ Wayne and Big Sean among his clientele. Social Status boasts a selection of clothing by California designer Rick Owens, Givenchy, the Japanese casual line, A Bathing Ape and plenty of camo for both men and women. Look for the Bear Bricks in late August.
The Jordan and Adidas footwear draws customers from all over the region. They line up for Pharrell’s NMD Human Races, Nike Vapomax or Air Jordan 12 Deep Blue Suede. For ladies, the Nike NMD2 R1s, in pink promises to be a favorite.
“Through our brand we represent quality, forwardness, and the ability to maintain the utmost brand integrity,” says Bowden. “Social Status embraces our failures and our ability to learn from them quickly and develop them into knowledgeable experiences to help propel us into the most powerful class. It’s more about a culture.”
This past week, Houston was one of three cities to preview HBO’s Season Three premiere of Ballers at the White Oak Music Hall. Many of the guests wore clothing from Social Status. “When I agreed to attend this event, I had no idea what it was all about,” says style forecaster Roz Pactor of My Red Glasses. “I had heard my daughters talk about “Ballers” and they were so excited to be able to attend. At first I thought I was slightly out of place with all of these super-hip rappers but quickly got into the groove as I saw a very diverse crowd hang together. They all looked great. Some of the HBO stars were there and couldn’t be nicer and all of them, including our town’s group were dressed to the nines, totally hip! P.S. I got hooked and watched the new shows this weekend on my home TV!”
Social Status was founded by James Whitner, who opened upscale sneaker boutiques in cities he felt were not being served. Charlotte, Pittsburgh were among his first entries into market.
“Our brand is not only about Rap and the Rap industry, which shares its roots with jazz, blues, soul and other forms of traditionally African-American music,” says Bowden. “It’s more about a culture.”
At Social Status, look for “welcome” mats that say “Come Back When You Have a Warrant” and T-shirts for when you want to feel like the total girl boss that read “A Girl Is a Gun,” from Pleasures, a L.A.-based streetwear brand with punk and metal leanings. The Houston shopper will not find these selections at Neiman Marcus or Saks.
Social Status’ concept is inspired by prosperity, wealth and the ambition, strategy, planning and execution it takes to cross in to the next social class. Their website explains that Social Status “embraces our failures and our ability to learn from them quickly and develop them into knowledgeable experiences to help propel us into the most powerful social class.”
Secondly, Social Status “embraces the processes and patience that it may take to progress through each social class and requires the ultimate commitment and work ethic to continue to push you through to the next social class, but ultimately the fruits of labor are payment for the journey.”
“Our retail experience immediately opens our customer to new trends, styles and brands,” says Bowden. As it says on the website, Bowden believes, “It is our responsibility to listen to, learn from, educate and lead our customer. Through our brand we represent quality, forwardness, and the ability to maintain the utmost brand integrity. We work hard to eventually play harder.” He lives at The Domain, a residential property at CityCentre, which means a convenient walk to work.
Other new retail activity at CityCentre:
Hemline, a women’s boutique with its origin in New Orleans’ French Market, leased 1,200 SF in CityCentre, with plans for a September opening in a space formerly occupied by Muir Fine Art Gallery. There are already Hemlines in Rice Village and River Oaks. “We love operating in the city of Houston – and in the state of Texas, in general!” says owner Brigitte Holthausen. “When Shannon O’Shea, my manager for the two current stores expressed interest, I thought it couldn’t be a more perfect fit. She knows the company and our values extremely well and has a genuine passion for our brand and what we do.”
Muir Fine Art Gallery will move to a 1,385 SF space near Social Status.
Altar’D State, a faith-based store, is building out 7,000 SF in a prime corner space, looking at a September opening. The store’s web page features feminine clothing and accessories with a Bohemian feel, prayer requests, reports on mission trips and a Twitter handle #Stand out for good.
A Knoxville, Tenn. faith-based brand, Altar’d State is introducing its community-driven and cause-motivated concept to CityCentre. The store will allocate a percentage of sales on certain days and from specific items to charity/non-profit initiatives, mirroring Midway’s own dedication to giving back through initiatives like b4products.
And Zayed’s Mediterranean Grill, with a scheduled July opening, is bringing hungry shoppers yet another healthy dining option with nearly 6,000 SF fronting both Beltway 8 and Sorella Court.
Overall, CityCentre has Class A office space, apartments, the 256-room Hotel Sorella, many restaurants, stores and the eight-screen Studio Movie Grill.