As Denver continues to grow so does its retail landscape. The Source, an artisan market located in a landmark 1880s building in RiNo, has been a harbinger of this change since it opened in 2013. Now with the arrival of SKINGRAFT, a Los Angeles-based fashion brand, The Source is once again signaling that even more movement is coming to Denver.
From now until mid-August, fashion lovers looking for new American avant-garde pieces can find them at the pop-up boutique inside the marketplace.
SKINGRAFT was founded in 2006 in LA by brothers Jonny and Christopher Cota. After graduating from the University of California, Santa Cruz, Jonny joined an underground performance art troupe. As a costume designer, Jonny used innovative techniques to transform vintage leather jackets he found at thrift stores. He deconstructed every piece and then retailored them. In a time when upcycling fashion was not yet on people’s radar, Jonny used those principles to create performance art pieces, which eventually led to the birth of SKINGRAFT.
After earning his MBA, Christopher joined Jonny in LA, where the brothers opened the brand’s office and showroom in an area of LA that has become the epicenter for the city’s art, film and music culture as well as the world of celebrity styling. That put SKINGRAFT on pop culture’s radar. Now, its seasonal collections have been worn by superstars like Rihanna, Beyonce, Mary J. Blige and Wiz Khalifa and have been featured in publications like Vogue, GQ and Rolling Stone.
By design, The Source is the only place in Denver to showcase SKINGRAFT’s summer collection, which takes inspiration from music and its lifestyle-driven subcultures.
“The moment we landed in Denver it was the first city in a long time where the energy was so excited right now. I think there are so many new things happening in Denver we want to be part of that newness. And after only one week here we already feel really accepted and embraced as part of the new energy in Denver,” said Jonny.
The immersive experience begins the moment people hit the front doors with a wall of SKINGRAFT posters similar to those you’d see plastered on city walls and bus depots, immediately giving the pop-up an urban feel. Shoppers are then invited to feel what it’s like to be at a SKINGRAFT store in its home city of LA, with dark, textured walls that display accessories like hats, totes, backbacks and shoes balanced by bright green plants scattered throughout. The shop also includes a vast array of clothing options, including holsters, suspender bags and bridle harnesses, connecting Denver’s cowboy culture to a much bolder style.
Although Denver fashion isn’t as audacious as LA’s, Jonny is confident SKINGRAFT will have a home here.
“The aesthetic is more reserved than LA but our experience with meeting people here is they want to progress their style and are looking to express it in new ways,” he explained. Denver’s fashion community is starting to get noticed by brands like SKINGRAFT that are from fashion hubs on both the East and West Coast. We have a welcoming attitude and thirst for unexpected style, something that innovative designers recognize and want to be part of.
The Source is located at 3350 Brighton Blvd., Denver. For more information, visit the website here.
All photography by Heather Fairchild.