With 2 Chainz lyrics blasting, eggs rolls crunching and wine flowing, one of Denver’s best boutiques celebrated the grand opening of its new location in the Art District on Sante Fe. Abstract Denver has been a pillar of streetwear for the Mile High City for over 15 years.
Because of its extreme popularity, the storefront hosted the Kendrick Lamar pop-up shop last July where Coloradans stood in line for 10 hours just to be in the building. Staying true to Abstract’s mission, the shop has provided exclusive brands, self-printed local goods and art like no other entity in Colorado.
You may have visited its previous location on Broadway to snag some dope pieces in the past decade. But due to an unimaginable increase in rent, Abstract was forced to find a new space to house its premier apparel. Create Karma Founder and Abstract manager Taylor Sandona was sad to leave the strip on Broadway but admits that he did not have a choice.
“My two owners, Dave and Erin, moved in on South Broadway 15 years ago before it was cool, before everyone wanted to be down there. It was an old and cheap building but we did all the maintenance and the build out. We got a new building owner last year unfortunately and experienced what a lot of Denver is going through right now; he wanted over a 300 percent rent increase for a spot that didn’t even have air conditioning,” Sandona said. He and his team also didn’t have control of their keys so they didn’t have full reign to make needed renovations to the ceilings and floors.
After asking the new building owner to make changes to better the storefront and getting ignored, the Abstract team decided to shop around. From Five Points to Colfax, Abstract searched all around the city to find a new place to call home. The search was long and hard and even had the team considering closing the boutique.
After two long weeks, Sandona and the team found their new space that is more accommodating to the business’ needs. Abstract’s parent company, Indy Ink, was in full support of the transition to Santa Fe Drive. Owner, Dave Roggeman, said that he’s excited about the new life that Abstract will bring to the arts district.
“We kinda got forced out of our last building and I think it was just a blessing in disguise because Broadway as a whole isn’t worth the price that owner wanted to charge. Abstract’s owners really didn’t want to leave Broadway but it just wasn’t doable. And so now that we got the building, they’re super happy about it and they’re getting everything rolling for art shows,” Sandona said. This change in atmosphere is exactly what the brand needed after struggling to keep people experiencing homelessness from fighting outside their doors at the Broadway location. Previously, Sandona was forced to call the authorities on drunken people who occupied the empty space next door to the shop. He vividly remembers finding two of them beating each other to a bloody pulp. This was definitely not conducive to Abstract’s goal of acquiring more customers.
After being closed for the month of February, Abstract is back and stronger than ever at 742 Santa Fe Drive. The new show will have First Friday Art Shows set up for every month of the year. Sandona said, “We’re going to be doing a lot of artist collaborations, so not just hanging their art, but we’re going to be printing tee shirts with their art. Indy Ink, the parent company to Abstract will be set up doing live prints at all the art shows. We’ll set up and print right in front of people to sell the shirts on the spot.” Businesses and neighbors are excited to boost the morale and bring back the original culture of the historic neighborhood.
With a new space comes new energy and the grand opening proved that Abstract has an undying vibrancy that isn’t going anywhere. Fans and followers of the brand poured into the new location on Friday night excited to indulge in local brands. Also, they were hyped to see major brands like Fairplay, Reason and Mighty Healthy; Abstract is the only place in Colorado that has their collections. You could feel the love and support all around truly manifesting the concept of Abstract.
All Photography by Danielle Webster.
Abstract Denver is located at 742 Santa Fe Drive, Denver.