Back Issue__ Ooga Booga
By: Hallie Elizabeth
Photos: Kenza Chaouai
Ever wake up and say to yourself, "I want to go shopping in sunny L.A," but remember L.A. is mostly glitter and ladies selling oranges by the freeway? Well, think again sweet West Coast children, and turn your heads to Ooga Booga.
With no previous experience, Wendy Yao started Ooga Booga in 2004 when she found a cheap office unit above a Chinatown Bakery. “I had to figure out a lot of things as I went along,” Wendy says. She opened with a collection of her friends’ crafts, and as a testament to her natural talent in harvesting the unique, the space blossomed into more of a concept store than a regular retail outlet. “I hope that people come to the shop and see a spectrum of ideas and categories,” Wendy says. “And as independent consumers, explore these areas with their own sensibilities and engage in the aspects that they relate to most.”
Its white walls are a canvas for up-and-coming artists she collaborates with. “Sometimes I approach them [artists] but they approach me as well. I think the best ones happen pretty naturally.” Keeping things fresh, Wendy has some interesting collaborations and projects coming up--a temporary outpost in Berlin opening mid-March in conjunction with artist Spencer Sweeney's rock opera exhibition, and part two of the Safe Crackers launch at the Ooga Booga store later this spring.
Ooga Booga has amazing clothes for girls (and boys) by designers that you can’t just pluck off of Barneys Online. That, paired with swaths of awesome indie books, zines, and cool postcards and posters commissioned by (legit) artists like Ryan McGinley and Terrence Koh make this a mandatory stop out West. If you don't live in L.A. though, you can still shop Ooga Booga's online store, but you will miss out on their Chinatown store parties.
Visiting Ooga Booga is a treat. And being able to bring home part of the experience is an amazing bonus.
Employees: Wendy Yao, Maxwell Krivitzky, plus volunteer Shabina Toowara
Where are you located: 943 N. Broadway #203, Los Angeles, CA 90012
Some brands you carry: (fashion) Mended Veil, Bless, Opening Ceremony, Slow and Steady Wins the Race
(Print) dot dot dot, Motherwell, May Revue
Nearby lunch spots: Phillipe's famous French dip, Via Cafe, Chinese Friends, Empress Pavilion