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Photo by John Prolly

STORE: Mishka L.A.

CITY: Echo Park, Los Angeles

SINCE: February, 2010

FOUNDED BY: Greg Rivera, Mikhail Bortnik, and Kevin Kusatsu

WHY WE CO-SIGN: As a brand, Mishka has established itself as one of the major players in the streetwear game, fervently followed by everyone from urban fixed-gear riders to popular artists like Major Lazer and Lil Jon. The label opened a flagship store in Brooklyn last year to further promote its gonzo horror/sci-fi-inspired, lifestyle-driven clothing and accessories, and the movement has now gone bi-coastal with last weekend's opening (exactly 344 days after, according to Mishka's blog) of a sister store in the Echo Park section of Los Angeles.

Three-fifty Broadway, rather than acting as a mere retail environment, has been known to host art shows, crazy parties, and other attention-getting events. We can only expect that the new location will follow suit and not only become a must-see clothing boutique but a platform and hub for L.A.'s creative community. It's always refreshing to see stores create impact that reaches beyond the interests of patrons who buy their products, and that is why Complex is getting behind and tipping our Keep Watch Crest Snapback (distressed) to Mishka L.A.

Keep reading for an interview with Kevin Kusatsu as well as pics of the store...
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Photo by John Prolly

Complex: What's been moving units since you opened last week?
Kevin Kusatsu: The LA exclusives (T-shirts) have been moving the fastest. Then the flannels and backpacks have flown out the door.

Complex: For those who haven't gotten to visit Mishka L.A. in person yet, describe the store for us.
Kevin Kusatsu: The L.A. store used to be an art gallery called Hope run by a gentlemen named Cali Dewitt. Before that it was an apothecary called Le Pink which moved to Sunset. It's a modest space and really open. Despite a lot of details from the chandelier to the toy collections, the store has a really clean, minimal feel.

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Photo by John Prolly

Complex: Tell us something interesting about the members of your staff.
Kevin Kusatsu: The Mishka L.A. team is great, they were all hired because they're responsible. Colin is from Eugene, OR, and is the singer in a band called The Franks. Johnny is from Echo Park and used to work at Brooklyn Projects—he came highly recommended by the dudes at Obey. Kathryn is from Atlanta and just finished writing a children's book about a caterpillar (it's a pop-up). Lastly, there's Andrew, he helps keep an eye on everything and is from Los Angeles. He also plays competitive hockey.

Complex: Of course he does. So, 350 Broadway's been known for throwing cool events. Will this be true of L.A. too?
Kevin Kusatsu: Yes, events will be coming through to the L.A. store. There's something in the works for May. Can't say too much, but it will most likely involve the neighborhood.

Complex: Cool. What music do you guys always have on at the store?
Kevin Kusatsu: The iPod is on a constant shuffle. The last 5 songs were by The Knife, Dinosaur Jr, Earth, Juelz Santana, and Gyptian (it's an equal opportunity iPod).

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Photo by Ceaser Sabstian

Complex: Did anything crazy happen during the opening party last week?
Kevin Kusatsu: Well, someone broke our ceramic bulldog, but that's not as interesting as it is upsetting. He came all the way from Mexico. RIP Mustafa.

Complex: Wow. Pour some out. Tell us a little bit about Echo Park.
Kevin Kusatsu: Echo Park is great! Down the street is some of the best bread in L.A. at Masa. There's also our neighbors Lucas (Salon), Chango (Coffee), Tavin & Flounce (Womens Clothes), and Blue Collar (Pet Store). We're a short walk from Elysian Park and about 4 blocks from the Echo Park reservoir. You can see the Echo Park reservoir in a ton of TV shows and movies—it's usually used for anything involving a police chase. I think it was last in an episode of Flash Forward. There's a few bars in the neighborhood too: Little Joy, The Short Stop, Gold Room, The Echo (venue), and a new wine and cheese place. The Shortstop used to be a cop bar, and the story goes a dude tried to rob it once and got lit up by all the cops inside.

Complex: Ha! Idiot. Sounds like a great area. Tell us definitively though why Mishka chose Echo Park?
Kevin Kusatsu: Because it felt right. Greg and I looked at a few spaces originally, and I think 1547 Echo Park was ultimately the most comfortable. All the neighbors were really generous and supportive. Good vibes all around.

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Photo by Ceaser Sabstian

Mishka L.A.
1547 Echo Park Ave
Los Angeles, CA
www.mishkanyc.com

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