Although it originated in Flatbush, Brooklyn back in 1993, Brooklyn Projects is a cool part of the Los Angeles skateboard scene now. The shop, which offers a wide variety of skateboards, trendy streetwear, and hip accessories has been filling its comfortable, sleek space with everything skateboard-related since 2002, right on Melrose Ave.
According to social media manager and store salesman, CJ Johnson, “Melrose has its own unique face, and that absolutely adds to our store.”
Johnson explains that Brooklyn Projects owner Dom DeLuca was originally inspired to start the shop by Brooklyn rap legend Big Daddy Kane, who assisted rap artists to succeed in the city. The lyrics, “Now whose flattop rules in 89?” served as an inspiration for DeLuca to support his community with what was then a skate shop called Brooklyn House.
Here in L.A., Brooklyn Projects is far more than just a skate shop. It serves as a launching pad for professional skateboarders, new product designers, artists, and musicians. From T-shirts to beanies, the store is a one-stop-shop for streetwear and skating style. And that style is growing in leaps and bounds. Along with its flagship store on Melrose, Brooklyn Projects also has a successful retail space in Japan, and is planning to re-open an outlet where it all began, in Brooklyn.
So what makes the store so popular? In part, the apparel items it carries. “Brixton is simple and clean cut, and has a lot of appeal to just about anyone,” Johnson asserts, noting the brand’s catalog of tees, pants, and shirts. “Huf, which is streetwear and skatewear fashion, is also hugely popular. Those are two best sellers right now.” Huf, founded by skateboarder and graffiti artist Keith Hugnagel, originated its counterculture brand in San Francisco, and offers graphic print tees, caps, socks, and boxers.
Johnson’s own personal favorite item comes from Brooklyn Closets’ clothing. “They have these amazing sock sets with a great design that has never been done before. They say ‘F*^k You’ on them, but it’s the design itself that makes them so much fun.”
The eponymous Brooklyn Projects brand long and short sleeved tees, hoodies, and soft, plush fleece also have plenty of appeal.
And when it comes to skateboards themselves, Johnson cites Baker Boys Distribution and Deluxe as the store’s two top brands. “I think Baker Boys is popular because they offer what are among the best skateboards for over a decade now. They have some of the best videos in skateboarding history, and have some of the greatest skateboard riders.” Featuring radical, artistic designs doesn’t hurt their popularity either.
Deluxe originated in San Francisco. “The way they skate right now in San Francisco is very popular and trendy and current. So, people like to get boards that come out of the city, too,” Johnson explains. Deluxe offers three $200 grants weekly to those interested in building DIY skate spots, another idea that both supports and draws buyers.
With its mix of hip products that support the skateboarding community and long-time street cred, Brooklyn Projects has a lot of appeal to clients who skateboard and those who simply want exciting gear and accessories as a part of their wardrobe. But the vibe of the store, Johnson says, is equally important.
“I want people to know about the history behind our store, and the welcoming feel we have when you come in,” added Johnson. “People will ask how to get a brand in the store or ask about skateboarding. We try to shine a light on them and lead them in the right direction. I remember what it was like just starting out on the bottom. And our owner will even take on some grassroots products if they’re good.”
Cutting edge, high quality clothing and ultra-cool skateboards and accessories: that’s the ‘project’ that Brooklyn Projects has taken on and mastered on Melrose Ave.
7427 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90046