Olivia Kim, Nordstrom’s vice president of creative products, debuted Space a little over a year ago in the fall of 2015. The whole concept of a shop within a shop may seem slightly counterintuitive for a large department store, but Kim’s hypercurated in-store designer boutique is an oasis of rarely seen brands. And that is quite the point.
Kim’s latest program, dubbed The Lab, is an incubator project that will take Space’s mission a bit further. A step beyond showcasing emerging designers you may have never heard of, The Lab will consist of a handful of looks from five truly new designers that are just starting their collections. “We wanted to find a way to recognize the great, raw talent out there; to say we see you and we want to support you,” says Kim.
The inaugural roster of designers are: Eckshaus Latta, a New York–based label from Mike Eckhaus and Zoe Latta, who’s combined backgrounds include working for Marc Jacobs, Proenza Schouler, and Opening Ceremony; Vejas, a lauded line of clothing that “contorts the familiar into unnatural forms: the soft mechanized and the hard-cut into submission”; A.W.A.K.E. by Natalia Alaverdian, Eric Schlosberg, who’s eponymous label merges fantasy and storytelling with his punk sensibilities; and London-based Dilara Findikoglu.
The Lab will be an ongoing program in Space at Nordstrom, and the inaugural season officially launches today at Nordstrom in Downtown Seattle, as well outposts in L.A., Chicago, Vancouver, B.C., Toronto, and—huzzah!—online.