Last Friday, I attended the grand opening of The Lor Store, a streetwear-focused shop located in the heart of downtown Baltimore. As I opened the door, I was greeted by a crowd of Baltimorean streetwear fans and a DJ who blasted upbeat music from the speakers.
The space is decorated with a unique array of artwork, consisting of Lego-inspired tables, bright paintings and multi-colored seating arrangements.
The ambience of the store invited me to browse through its racks. I was impressed by the collection of clothing from rare streetwear brands, ranging from Bape to Stussy (I was also told that the store had pieces from Supreme, but they were long gone before I got there).
Hanging on one side of the brick walls was a series of sequined jackets that caught my attention with their great detail. Displayed on the shelves were selected shoes and accessories that would be difficult to track down elsewhere in the city.
The store, which is currently half in-house, half consignment, also has its own collection. I explored the stylish polos that blurred the lines between cool, casual and formal, as well as other items, such as t-shirts, sweaters, hoodies and headwear.
With its vibrant hues and creative embroidery (all done in-house), The Lor collection clearly stood out from the store’s consignment pieces. In terms of the store’s price range, The Lor collection’s t-shirts and sweaters ranged from $40-50, while some vintage items retailed for even less.
Malik Smith, founder and creative director of The Lor Store, explained that he is inspired by streetwear’s ability to connect with the community and sought to offer a home for the talented local designers and artists he knew in Baltimore.
“Designing streetwear is the best way to stay socially connected through garments. Our mission is bigger than becoming a successful retail store. We are using garments as a catalyst and to showcase the creative culture of Baltimore,” he wrote in an email to The News-Letter.
I found the notion of a store serving as an important creative outlet for the City to be especially interesting. Smith also described his desire to positively shape Baltimore’s reputation.
“It is 2018, and, when I go out of town, the first thing people bring up when I say I’m from Baltimore is The Wire,” Smith wrote.
He argued that the city is more complex than the famed series shows. “I loved The Wire, but Baltimore is much more. We are a creative hub, and we do produce influential material. Lor Store was created to showcase this material,” Smith wrote.
Although some people might not be familiar with the term “lor,” Smith feels that the Baltimorean slang used by many popular local rappers captures the store’s brand and vision of the City well, and, thus, he used it as the name of his establishment.
“Lor represents Baltimore,” he wrote.
The store’s Instagram page has featured several prominent local rappers, including Butch Dawson and D Zheep. The store seems to have strong connections to the City’s arts scene, as evidenced by its social media presence.
Smith’s future plans should appeal to all Hopkins students but especially those that are involved in the arts or enjoy checking out the local scene. He plans to continue to build the Lor Store brand, working with other artistic Baltimore natives.
“Lor Store in itself is a collaboration of Baltimore creatives. Lor is bigger than me,” Smith wrote.
He spoke about plans for expansion as well.
“We plan on offering vinyl cutting and heat pressing classes very soon, and the basics on how to market your brand through social media platforms. These classes help push our overall mission of showcasing Baltimore creatives,” Smith wrote.