The Best Concept Stores in Los Angeles

Theo Martins sitting in a store

On The Theo Show, a social media-based sitcom complete with its own catchy theme song, Theo Martins shares scenes from his daily life: He drinks coffee from a mug with his face on it, opens mail from Will Smith, and smiles infectiously at the camera. If The Theo Show is a window into his world, then Office & Gallery, the conceptual space he opened in February, is a portal. The community-driven space reflects Theo’s versatility as a multidisciplinary artist: It is a platform for work of all mediums, a showroom and shop for in-house label Good Posture, and the homebase of Cereal & such, a music program that serves up podcasts, playlists and plenty of Cinnamon Toast Crunch. “We stand as a bridge to information, culture and conversation,” explains Theo. In addition to Office & Gallery, we wanted to know where else Theo finds clothes and community, and so we asked him. Here, in his own words, are his top five concept shops in L.A. 

Mister Green

There’s an incredible energy happening on Fountain Avenue, including Office & Gallery, Powers Supply & Besties. Much of that came about because of Ariel Stark Benz, owner and director of Mister Green Life Store. He was the first I saw in this area and created an environment that is as genuine as he is. It’s a life store in every sense of the word, from ceramics to apparel — hell, I just discovered a toolbox for sale as well. 

Clothes hanging on rack at clothing store

Powers Supply

Eric Elms’ new shop, Powers Supply is next door to Office & Gallery and just a few doors down from Mister Green. A great shop that offers clothes but gives me the energy of going into Supreme or UNION as a kid. Eric is one of my favorite designers, I consider him an absolute legend in his craft for his ability to translate his ideas through a vast level of mediums: functional, whimsical, technical. Powers Supply is a very clear depiction inside the mind of Eric Elms. We opened our shops on the same day, and he may not care, but I was overjoyed to share that moment with him.

Besties Vegan Paradise

The Vegan 7-Eleven pretty much. I’m usually in there for a snack of some sort. I walk in happy and walk out joyous. That’s the thing about eating healthy — sometimes you’re not sure if you feel good because it’s good for you or simply the thought. Regardless, it does the job. Founded by Alison Shead and Matt Fontana, who used to do things over at Alife, [it’s a] great concept in 2019. They’ve not only become a destination for food but for community.

Floor plant with records for sale above

Virgil Normal

Owned by Charlie Staunton and Shirley Kurata, it’s a concept shop in every sense of the word. Most stores are limited to the events they can host because they exist primarily as a retail space but not Virgil Normal — and that’s what makes them special. From seasonal popups to BBQ’s, it’s the ultimate hub for hanging out. I stumbled into their opening party in 2015, met Charlie, bought a shop tee and went on my way. I wound up spending a vast amount of time with them and went into business with them, opening the first Cereal & such location. We’ve since moved on to our space, but I would say that Virgil Normal created a space for many other stores to build their identity on.

South Willard

I used to live by South Willard when they were at their first location. I recall stumbling through on a random weekend as I typically enjoy strolling the neighborhood. I wound up spending a good portion of my day there, sorting through their ceramic works, clothing, accessories… It’s a great space and one of the first times I saw art merged with apparel and accessories in a way that wasn’t kitschy or heavy handed. You can tell the selection was genuinely made through a very organic process. It was refreshing to see given the state of retail and how inauthentic it often is.

Theo Martins standing in front of curtain