Streetwear has officially made its home in Denver and is making waves with how individuals in the community express themselves. Streetwear is a collective trend expressed in individualistic tendencies. This phenomenon brings people together and creates an atmosphere that radiates culture and self-expression. A new store located in The Shops at Northfield Stapleton called Culture Street generates this exact atmosphere through its celebration of seeing diverse cultures come together. Recently, 303 Magazine caught up with Culture Street’s owner, Andy Velopulos, and discussed the value of culture itself and how that translates into fashion.
“Culture is the heartbeat of a community. There can be many cultures even in the same city. Culture is our identity. Take Sneakerheads. They have their own culture. They know, study and sell sneakers. When two sneakerheads that don’t know each other come together, they can immediately enter a dialogue and bring down the stranger wall. Same goes for any culture. Being a participant in culture is to be a participant in the community,” said Velopulos.
Throughout his store, Velopulos strives to bring people together in a way that doesn’t fit the traditional norms of society. Along the walls of Culture Street, you’ll find yourself in an oasis designated for communal gatherings and a shopping experience supplied with grab claw machines, video games and a lounge area. Culture Street offers recognizable brands like Supreme, Bape, Off-white, Pleasures, Chinatown Market, Billionaires Boys Club and Anti Social Social Club. Culture Street also carries local brands, including their own, as well as having consignment pieces.
303 Magazine: How do you see street style growing in Denver in the next few years?
Andy Velopulos: We all know we’re one to two years behind LA/NYC, but its shifting. Social media/internet has sped up the fashion clock all over the world. Here in Denver, we can see something from a [New York City] fashion show and bring it to Denver immediately. Vintage is making the game pretty fun too. Most street styles come from low-income areas and vintage makes it easier. When you can’t afford expensive things, creativity kicks in. We’re seeing more custom jeans, sneakers, hoodies and jackets. Sure they want a $500 off-white hoodie, but when you can’t afford it, pick up a $20 hoodie and $10 in fabric paint, you can make your own with your style. Its amazing how much fashion is based on low-income creativity. It’s not mentioned much, but when you look at the fashion trends of the last 30 years, it came mostly out of the hood.
303: What are your goals for Culture Street and the Community?
AV: Our goal is to be a positive driver in the community. We see today’s youth as lost as ever. They are struggling to find an identity, goals or purpose. Yes, we need to sell stuff to stay in business, but our primary goal is to expand our communities’ culture with music, art and fashion. We are creating our own pieces and teaming up with local artists to find and showcase Denver’s culture.
Denver’s been in a cocoon for a long time that has helped and hurt it. We have a great vibe, but the egos in this town are something else to be desired. Culture Street can’t do this alone. We need other stores and organizations to help. We are always looking to expand our network, to provide a launching pad for new music artists, painters and brands. Art schools don’t teach real-world applications for artists to make a living. We are changing this. Up-and-coming music artists don’t have a direction to take their music to the next level. We are changing this. Fashion brands are mostly clueless about what makes a brand successful. We are changing this. We are looking to fill in the gaps for creatives, to take them from hobbyists to professionals, including design, budgeting and marketing. We are connecting the dots.
“Culture is fluid, but more concrete with the older generations. The youth are the game changers.”
All photography by MJ Kampe.