If you have to get all dolled up to go glamping, Shelter Half should be the first place on your list to hit up. The District La Brea based store is a small, perfectly staged retail experience that provides all the elements of a rugged lifestyle with the charm of polished urban living. There are woody surfboards that may be more for display than actual use, there are beautiful vintage inspired ivory pocket knives, very high end tents, and—of course—pottery by Ben Medansky to decorate your impromptu, outdoor dining table. Adding to their fancy outdoor idea for the Fall and Winter seasons is local talent Aether who have set up shop in the store, taking up a third of the retail space. It sees Aether’s idea of outdoor adventure, which is a pretty sweet situation to be in.
Set on the Northern side of the store, the little Aether pop-up has the brand providing you with all the tools you need to be the Aether man or woman. It feels similar to how they’ve built out their AETHERsf concept and mobile AETHERstream but done in a more woody, rugged way as the other concepts are very much experiential, providing you extremely unique retail platforms. The brand takes that casual, cool, outdoorsy-ness of Shelter Half and polishes a bit to become an even more high end idea of outdoor living. This includes everything from muted couches to woody, oval tables to tents and credenzas and giant fog filled photo prints. A tall, black, boxy bookshelf separates the two movements on their side of the store: the Eastside is the more relaxed, loungey side, more reminiscent to the inside of a very posh tent, while the Westside features nods to the actual outdoors and includes a tented BMW 1200 GS, a casually displayed map with compass, ax, notes, and even a bottle of Dewars in case of an emergency.
It’s all in the details here. From the vintage Ducati Paul Smart motorcycle to the Deus ex Machina gloves to various reading items, DVDs, and periodicals, you fully see how the Aether person lives. There’s even a Ben Medansky dog bowl placed onto the bookshelf next to a fancy City Tote. There is a lot, a lot, a lot of products on display that range from the brightly vibrant to the casual and covert. A red Alto jacket hangs on a hook, catching the eye like a campfire, and serves as a nice buddy to the folded, relaxed L/S Slub Henley on a nearby table below it. There are rows of Space Hoodies and Ultralights on racks within eyeshot of photos of situations involving both surfing and snowy mountains (Somehow!).
Aether at Shelter Half is a duh pairing that acts as an alternative, localized, super duper nice R.E.I. experience. Both brands are there for you for when you have to get out of LA and get cold or wet, on a mountain or on the road: they have you covered. If anything, it is a well considered and well done retail experience that adds even more of a reason to stop into the perpetually hip District La Brea corridor. You have until January to stock up on your outdoorsy equipment at Shelter Half: be sure to take advantage of this.