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The Ten Best Pop-Up Shops of 2013

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Alldayeveryday's MTA newsstand. Photo by David Brandon Geeting.
Alldayeveryday's MTA newsstand. Photo by David Brandon Geeting.

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Another year in the books, another set of ambitious pop-up shops to reflect on. The pop up concept has exploded in the last few years, and weeding through the endless variations of temporary retail was not a simple task. Common themes this year included Made in America markets, online-gone-offline, bespoke and custom menswear, and pop-up shops going for longer leases ("Is it really a pop-up shop if it's eight months long?" "Didn't they have one last month, too, in the same location?").

Alas, we've picked out the year's ten best pop-up shops in the city. From distilled wilderness with Juniper Ridge to a game of mini-golf with Hermès, retailers kept us on our toes with their wacky shopping concepts.

Kate Spade Saturday: Kate Spade New York's little sister brand won the 2013 Racked Awards pop-up shop category with their quartet of touch-screen temporary stores. Located in four downtown Manhattan neighborhoods, the giant screens were shoppable 24/7 during their run, with product delivered in about an hour. The brand wound up turning the Meatpacking District storefront into a longer-running pop-up shop with real, live shop-shopping.


Image courtesy of Bite Beauty.

Bite Beauty's Lip Lab: Before committing to a full-time storefront (now open), Canadian-based Bite Beauty gave Soho a go with their innovative lip lab where you could mix a custom lipstick in under ten minutes. At $28 a tube, the bespoke experience was accessible on top of being really fun in an art class way.

The Newsstand: Creative agency Alldayeveryday erected an indie newsstand inside the MTA's Lorimer-Metropolitan stop, where the L and the G meet, selling newsstand staples but with a hipster bent—picture Krave jerky and a zine swap where Jack Link's and Cosmopolitan should be. Following their tenure, a number of brands played with the MTA pop up concept (including Uniqlo and L'Oreal).


Photo by Driely S.

Byronesque: Online vintage retailer Byronesque invaded an abandoned post office with designer vintage in a hybrid exhibit and shop. Featuring stunning pieces from the likes of Comme Des Garçons, Jean Paul Gaultier, and Issey Miyake, this was one of the year's most dramatic, hauntingly glamorous shops.

Baublebar Soho: The accessory e-tailer is no stranger to pop-up shops, having run a number before their epic Soho spree this summer. This one took the cake just for the sheer volume—and breadth—of promotional events: There was a Luna Bar vending machine, an Eva Chen appearance, a sample sale, bloggers on bloggers on bloggers, seven collabs, and parties nearly every night. If you didn't eat a free mini-cupcake at this pop-up shop this summer, we're not sure you were actually in New York City.


Photo courtesy of COS

COS: H&M's more polished offshoot selected Opening Ceremony as the receptacle for its United States debut to much fanfare. A tightly edited selection of men's and women's apparel and accessories were available—and quickly shopped out.

Anthem Wares: This e-tailer brought their up-and-coming luxe designer mix to Mott Street for the summer, lighting up the shopping landscape with Mawi jewelry and Chromat underpinnings.


Photo by Evan Joseph.

Linda Farrow by BOFFO: Out-there eyewear brand Linda Farrow was treated to the BOFFO Building Fashion experience with a mirrored, stone-filled shipping container pop-up shop at the newly-minted SuperPier. The stunning design and its interplay with the idea of vision, sight, and perception gains it a spot on the list.

Juniper Ridge: These California "wilderness fragrance makers" popped up at Barber & Supply in Williamsburg, literally distilling local, foraged flora on site. We were so intrigued, we made a video about it.

Hermès: In an uncharacteristically lighthearted move, the luxury brand popped up at The Shops at Columbus Circle with an Americana diner theme and a branded putt-putt course. There was even a photobooth where you could wear their fancy scarves in front of one of their giant fancy scarves.
· All Year in Racked 2013 Posts [Racked NY]