Nipsey Hussle, a rapper, philanthropist and entrepreneur, was on track to becoming the next real estate tycoon by investing in a neighborhood strip mall in South Central, Los Angeles, where he opened his Marathon clothing store.
The 33-year-old artist started the Marathon clothing line in June 2017, where he sold fitted caps, beanies, unisex sweatshirts, women’s swimwear and children’s clothing. Nipsey, along with his partners, opened their first brick and mortar store in the neighborhood where he grew up, on Crenshaw Boulevard and Slauson Avenue. Carrying apparel, sneakers, music accessories and jerseys, “the goal is to be an urban Sanrio,” Nipsey said in an interview with Billboard.
The landscape of his Marathon store was to build a unique lifestyle experience for his customers. He called it a “Smartstore,” where customers can purchase merch and use an app to preview exclusive content, and said, “The philosophy of this retail space is to be an experience, and while you're in the process of the experience, you're surrounded by branded products.”
With prices starting at $25 for a beanie and upward to $89 for a women’s bodysuit, Nipsey kept everyone in mind when designing his line. The collection also features apparel embroidered with “Crenshaw” and “Super Mall” across the front, paying homage to his neighborhood, not only through music and philanthropic endeavors, but through fashion. Celebrities such as Rick Ross, P Diddy, Saweetie, and his girlfriend, Lauren London, could be seen wearing his thoughtfully curated pieces.
In doing collaborations with Puma, the Grammy-nominated artist believed that the Marathon store and line was a way to infuse fashion, hip-hop and technology.
“This is us trying to disrupt retail, create a theme park for the brand. This is us trying to create a retail network to become vertically integrated. This is us trying to super-serve the core with an upgraded experience. This is us trying to fuse hip-hop, fashion, and tech... We believe that's what the Marathon store is. It's an immature concept. It hasn't evolved to its fullest form yet. But I think we're in the process of seeing technology integrated with everything, become a part of the world. So, I think that we're just putting our chips on experience. We think this is where retail is going. So, we want to be one of the leaders.”
The 33-year-old visionary could be seen at his Crenshaw store any day, packaging and shipping out products to his customers, fully investing in his line and community.
According to Forbes, Nipsey had plans to knock down and rebuild a six-story residential building atop of commercial shops where a revamped Marathon store will sit. He was committed to creating business opportunities for the next generation coming out of South Central.
Unfortunately, Nipsey died yesterday evening (March 31) after succumbing to gunshot wounds in front of his Marathon clothing store. His neighborhood and the hip-hop community are mourning the loss of a great artist, visionary and philanthropist. He is survived by his two children, Kross and Emani, Lauren London and a host of family and friends.
His music, clothing line and community relations are a critical part of his long-lasting legacy. He will be missed.
(Photos by: Meron Menghistab)