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The Birth of A-Shop: A Luxury Streetwear Boutique

Last November, Orlando said goodbye to A Place Gallery, a house for local and national art founded by not-for-profit Time Waste Management. An unfortunate blow to Orlando culture, one part of the space on the second floor of 647 N. Mills Avenue remained an art studio, a second part was given to new owners, and a third part was left empty. Empty, that is, until June 10, when it will house new art in the form of streetwear, luxury, and vintage clothing from Atlanta, Berlin, Chicago, Hong Kong, London, Los Angeles, Montreal, Nashville, New York City, and, of course, Orlando. A-Shop is curated and run by two local creatives, Vanessa Barros Andrade–Time Waste Management Vice President, DJ Deviant Art Heaux, & Creator of Puffy Pain–and Sarah Nicole Francois–founder and designer at 000SPORTWEAR. I was beyond thrilled to search through A-Shop get an in-depth look into how these two crafted this new kind of art gallery. Enjoy.

JUNE 10 GRAND OPENING EVENT


A Shop Interview Orlando BLog

matthew warhol: I wanted to start by asking how the two of you met. How do you know each other?

[laughs]

Sarah Nicole Francois: The face we are both making right now, we’re both like, “Are you kidding me?” That’s the hardest question you could have asked. We’ve known each other for so long.

Vanessa Barros Andrade: I want to say since we were in middle school.

matthew warhol: Oh really? Cool. Would you say your senses of style developed together?

Vanessa Barros Andrade: I guess like, we were always into fashion and that’s what made us want to connect and made us closer. We noticed we were both weirdos who actually think about what we wear in depth, every day. [laughs] But they’ve definitely changed since we’ve known each other.

Sarah Nicole Francois: God, they’ve changed. I used to look so ugly.

matthew warhol: Hey, we all used to look ugly in middle school.

Vanessa Barros Andrade: Oh yeah, truly. Now, Sarah strictly wears all black from head-to-toe.

Sarah Nicole Francois: Everyday. [laughs]

A Shop Interview Orlando BLog

Vanessa Barros Andrade: You should see her closet. Um… and then I’m doing like a military, dictator, like… hoe.

[laughs]

Sarah Nicole Francois: I was waiting for that.

matthew warhol: Have you worked on stuff together before?

Sarah Nicole Francois: We’ve helped each other with projects, but that’s pretty much it. This is our first official thing together.

matthew warhol: So how did it go from an idea to this a shop?

Sarah Nicole Francois: Just as quickly as the idea came, this happened. Literally, over a cup of coffee, she was like, “Do you want to start a store?” And I was like, “Yeah!”

Vanessa Barros Andrade: That was literally it. I was like, “Well, I have this space and we both have experience in retail and both have brands.” I’m just like, “I need to do something with this space—it’s just sitting there and not doing anything.” And we drank a cup of coffee and were like, “Let’s do it.”

Sarah Nicole Francois: The coffee fueled us.

A Shop Interview Orlando BLog

matthew warhol: How long ago was that?

Sarah Nicole Francois: Like three weeks ago.

Sarah Nicole Francois: For some reason, we gave ourselves this really short timeline. We still don’t know why we did that; it’s so crazy—we’re nuts. We were like, “We have to do this by June 10.”

Vanessa Barros Andrade: Our shop is a Gemini.

[laughs]

Sarah Nicole Francois: I’m still not about that.

Vanessa Barros Andrade: Yesss.

matthew warhol: What has the process been to create this A-Shop?

Vanessa Barros Andrade: We started off with inventory. We’re like, “Okay, so now we have to message a million designers.”

Sarah Nicole Francois: So many fucking clothes.

Vanessa Barros Andrade: We know a lot of people that design so that was easy. I feel like that’s what made it possible. We knew like five off the top of our heads from Instagram.

A Shop Interview Orlando BLog

A Shop Interview Orlando BLog

matthew warhol: What was the next step after acquiring inventory?

Vanessa Barros Andrade: I guess interior design was next. We’re both minimalists. We need everything to be a canvas, white.

Sarah Nicole Francois: We have literally been painting anything you can think of white in the past week. There’s paint all over me. I’m like, “What else do I need to paint white?!”

Vanessa Barros Andrade: Everything needs to be blank because the clothes are going be very eccentric, costume-y, intense…

Sarah Nicole Francois: …fun.

Vanessa Barros Andrade: Yeah, really fun, really flamboyant. So we couldn’t have busy hangers and fixtures. Everything has to be a canvas.

matthew warhol: The clothes are like the art on the wall, which is super appropriate because this used to be an art gallery.

Vanessa Barros Andrade: Someone messaged me and said, “Oh my God, it’s wearable art now.”

Sarah Nicole Francois: Ah, we have too many slogans!

A Shop Interview Orlando BLog

matthew warhol: What are the other slogans?

Sarah Nicole Francois: Um, “URL to IRL,” because we’re bringing a lot of these internet designers together, creating a space for them. I’m a designer myself so I know the struggle of trying to be an independent designer and make a buck. It’s difficult. It’s difficult to get your foot in the door in this industry. It’s weird though because a lot of bigger brands feed off of people no one really knows. They steal their ideas but don’t give them the resources to build themselves. It’s hard to get into boutiques. So we’re creating that space for people.

Vanessa Barros Andrade: Most of our designers only have online shops. Now they get to be in a physical space.

matthew warhol: Who from Orlando is included?

Sarah Nicole Francois: Um, meeee. My brand is going to be in here. We’re going to have some bags. I’ve been burning stuff a lot. I’m so obsessed; it’s fucked up. I can’t stop burning shit.

Vanessa Barros Andrade: Gerry, he moved back from New York not too long ago. He just started designing clothes and I’m like, “I hate you!” His stuff is called Elevator, and it’s very, I want to say, luxury.

Sarah Nicole Francois: It’s really luxury, also minimal, like silhouettes. [Pointing] Those are culottes. He literally just made those and dropped them off like 15 minutes ago. John Jackson, he’s a local reseller. He resales BAPE and Supreme, but he also makes his own graphic tees and these super cool Mike Jones hats with the phone number.

A Shop Interview Orlando BLog

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matthew warhol: How have you organized everything?

Vanessa Barros Andrade: Right now, it’s not.

Sarah Nicole Francois: This is the only rack that’s ready. It’s all by aesthetic really.

Vanessa Barros Andrade: Everything is mixed in. There’s probably five different people on this rack. We have Elevator, Post-Market Vintage, John Jackson, RJ—he collects post-Y2K aesthetic.

matthew warhol: I really like that idea, though. If someone comes in just to see their friends stuff, they have to look through everything else.

Vanessa Barros Andrade: Exactly.

Sarah Nicole Francois: That was the thought.

matthew warhol: How frequently are you going to be open?

Vanessa Barros Andrade: For June, we have Saturdays, Sundays, and Mondays from 12-7—just because we’re lazy and want to sleep in.

Sarah Nicole Francois: No, that’s not true! We both have so much going on. We’re doing the most but we like it.

A Shop Interview Orlando BLog

A Shop Interview Orlando BLog

matthew warhol: That’s why I wanted to talk to both of you because you’re so active. [To Sarah] I know we’ve never met before, but I admire your work a lot. I love it.

Sarah Nicole Francois: Thank you so much—this is the second time I’m going to cry today.

[laughs]

Vanessa Barros Andrade: STOP! Oh my God, I’m going to cry.

matthew warhol: And of course, your DJing has been amazing. I’ve seen like two or three of your sets.

Sarah Nicole Francois: It’s so crazy! She just started. I don’t understand how you did that.

Vanessa Barros Andrade: I know. It’s soooo intense.

Sarah Nicole Francois: You’re so good already. It’s wild.

matthew warhol: Talking about the label of “streetwear,” because you’ve used the term to describe the store, what is it about streetwear that the two of you enjoy? What brings you to it?

Sarah Nicole Francois: I feel like that was the most fitting label. It’s sort of like a mix of everything, vintage, high street/low street fashion. What we think of is harajuku magazines where it’s a bunch of really cool Japanese kids in ridiculous clothing. They bite from everything. They’ll have Givenchy on with a grandma sweater. They mix it all, that’s their streetwear.

Vanessa Barros Andrade: It summarizes all the types of designers we have.

matthew warhol: So it’s just encompassing…?

Sarah Nicole Francois: Cool shit. Anything that’s dope.

A Shop Interview Orlando BLog

matthew warhol: Wow we’re breezing through this.

Vanessa Barros Andrade: We have a lot of content. We talk a lot!

matthew warhol: Music, is that something that’s going to be a part of A-Shop? Are there going to be frequent events?

Vanessa Barros Andrade: Yeah, we definitely want to throw monthly parties where we are celebrating a new shipment. We’re going to get some really great stuff from Berlin next month. It’s Mercedes’s Fashion Week and we’re getting new clothes specifically for that. We want to throw parties and have DJs. It’ll be chill because we share the building. We are also selling cassette tapes and 7-inches from Clandestine Channels.

Sarah Nicole Francois: We have so much coming in. We’re really excited.

Vanessa Barros Andrade: Also, we should mention that we’re going to display different videos by different artists…

Sarah Nicole Francois: …anyone relevant to the clothes. Right now we have a music video Vanessa put together with Jason. We have a Mike Jones video to tie into the hats. We have my lookbook video, and we’re going to add Solange’s “Cranes In The Sky,” because we’re working on getting the designer that worked on the costumes for that video.

matthew warhol: Woah…. their actual work?

Sarah Nicole Francois: He’s a friend, but we’re still like “Uhhhh, I know you have a lot going on, but…”

A Shop Interview Orlando BLog

matthew warhol: What do you seed for the future of A-Shop?

Vanessa Barros Andrade: Right now, we’re just focusing on getting as many of our designer friends as possible, exploring more artists. We get so many each day.

Sarah Nicole Francois: So many people make shit. It’s so much fun.

Vanessa Barros Andrade: It’s fun to go through their stuff, message them, see them get excited. Basically, meeting new designers, talking to more people.

Sarah Nicole Francois: I’m excited to see my stuff on the racks. It’s all in pieces at home right now. This is going to be the first time my work is going to be in a physical space, like ever, ever.

matthew warhol: The last thing I wanted to talk about was the Bungalower thing. I thought that was hilarious. Let me read what you wrote.

Sarah Nicole Francois: I don’t want to hear it. From his voice it’s going to sound so bad.

[laughs]

Vanessa Barros Andrade: WOW.

matthew warhol: What did you think about this?

Sarah Nicole Francois: It was a very pleasant surprise.

matthew warhol: Hipster-friendly though?

Vanessa Barros Andrade: We thought it was funny but also thought the adjective was annoying to use, because we specifically used so many different ones to describe our store.

Sarah Nicole Francois: Streetwear, luxury, vintage, Pick one!

Vanessa Barros Andrade: There were so many adjectives to use and they chose hipster.

matthew warhol: It’s such an old term now. Hipster is like 2009.

Sarah Nicole Francois: That’s like a term for anyone that someone over a certain age use for anyone who’s young. Like, “Oh, you guys aren’t normcore so you must be hipster.” No, not fucking hipster.

Vanessa Barros Andrade: We’re weirdos. We were frustrated but, at the same time, we thought it was funny so we started posting and making a joke.

matthew warhol: And then they changed it.

Sarah Nicole Francois: They changed it and it was so condescending. I was like “WOW!” That was funny.

matthew warhol: But they really nailed your brand after they changed it.

Sarah Nicole Francois: Now you get it.

read our last interview

Follow A-Shop: Facebook / Instagram

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A Shop Interview Orlando BLog

One thought on “The Birth of A-Shop: A Luxury Streetwear Boutique

  1. Pingback: Sparkling Dance Party: Kira Kira Pop Brings a Variety of Japanese Genres to ORL – The Vinyl Warhol

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