In partnership with Houston First Corporation, Squid Inc.'s Sydney Dao is bringing an exclusive fashion and design pop-up to Super Bowl LI. (Photo by Jay Marroquin)
Fashion illustrator RongRong Devoe's exquisite drawings will be on display at LAUNCH. (Photo courtesy @rongrong_devoe_illustration)
A sneak peek of artist Janavi M Folmsbee's colorful mural depicting the Houston cityscape. (Photo courtesy LAUNCH's Facebook page)
While star-studded fêtes, new restaurant openings, and nightclub debuts have dominated much of Houston’s Super Bowl rhetoric, they aren’t the only memorable components contributing to the action-packed weekend. Houston’s budding fashion and design community is making its mark on Super Bowl LI with LAUNCH, an exclusive pop-up shop taking over the ground floor of Partnership Tower (701 Avenida De Las Americas).
At the helm of the endeavor — Sydney Dao (sister to Project Runway season two’s winner Chloe Dao) of Squid Inc., public relations and consulting firm; and Houston First Corporation, which manages some of the city’s premier convention and art institutions including Hilton Americas-Houston, George R. Brown Convention Center, and more.
“Houston’s arts community is as diverse as its residents,” says president and CEO of Houston First Corporation Dawn Ullrich. “As the most ethnically diverse city in the nation, it is our aim to show guests why Houston is known as ‘The Culinary and Cultural Capital of the South’. LAUNCH does just that, by bringing together local designers and artisans in a unique pop-up experience that highlights Houston’s welcoming spirit and vibrant culture.”
LAUNCH, whose name pays homage to Houston’s Space City status, will feature nearly 15 of the city’s most promising designers and artisans including fashion designer and Project Runway veteran Chloe Dao; fashion illustrator RongRong Devoe, whose designs have been featured in the likes of Vogue and Elle; clothing brand Onyii, a finalist in Martha Stewart’s Made in America; fair-trade accessories line La Mochi; and jewelry line Temple Street, which has been featured in USA Today Magazine.
Also on display: custom lighting and furniture by Merchant and Market‘s Gino Vian adorn the space alongside a mural by artist Janavi M Folmsbee, infusing the pop-up’s interiors with a reminder of Houston’s colorful cityscape.
“I’m excited to offer local designers an international platform; these opportunities are rare. Designers and artisans here are creating and producing elevated, high-quality goods,” Dao says.
“It is time to show the world that one can have a successful creative brand out of Houston, and to have the support of Houston First Corporation means the city itself recognizes the talent and economic potential rising from this community.”
Luckily, you won’t have to wait until game day to indulge in these one-of-a-kind goods. LAUNCH launches (see what I did there) Saturday, January 14 and lasts through Sunday, February 26. Shop hours are Monday through Saturday, 10 am to 6 pm, and Sunday, 12 pm to 5 pm.