By Rick Winterson
First, a few definitions: WS Development is a Massachusetts-based property developer responsible for transforming 23 of our waterfront acres into South Boston’s Seaport District. Seaport is currently the City of Boston’s largest single development project. Parts of this mega-development include an ever-growing group of retail businesses, having “names” such as Mr. Sid and L.L. Bean (do you know what the initials “L.L.” stand for?).
In order to foster their all-important retail segment, WS Development has officially unveiled an outdoor pop-up incubator, which they are calling The Current. The Current will consist of a rotating collection of retail enterprises that feature both local and national brands. And just as important, The Current has been set up to accomplish some really good things. Two of these “good things” were evident at The Current’s gala opening last Thursday evening, the 2nd.
The first good thing was the female-oriented Grand Opening itself. The Current devoted this first event entirely to a festive Summer Block Party of female-owned and fashion-forward enterprises. It was actually a pop-up retail micro-neighborhood called “The She Village at The Current”. You don’t have to be told about the progress of enterprising women; “She Village” celebrates that progress. And the ladies’ Grand Opening of “She Village” was a monument to female creativity, originality, and just plain good taste.
The “She Village” Block Party featured food, drink, a DJ named Malyna, embossed black swag bags airbrush tattoos (non-permanent), two palm readers (really!), and even a cotton candy machine. One of the more remarkable outdoor areas in “She Village” offered hassocks, lounge chairs, pillowed sofas, and ground quilts as alternates to the usual park benches. The nine actual pop-up shops themselves border the Seaport Green and Seaport Boulevard.
The future of retail here in Seaport, or in all of Boston and Vicinity for that matter, sets up some interesting economic questions. There are popular – even legendary – retail areas in and around Boston already. Copley Square/Newbury Street, Chestnut Hill, and Harvard Square come to mind. And there are several newly planned or recently completed retail projects, such as Somerville’s Assembly Square, South Bay, the Ink Block, the Dot Block, and the Globe’s property on Morrissey Boulevard. But South Boston’s Seaport District has the prime location, the space for expansion, and an unmistakable panache about it, so we’ll see.
It’s worth listing the pop-up retail enterprises now in “She Village”:
Booty by Brabants (fitness and street style apparel), Brass (tailored workplace clothing), Bref (unique shopping for lovers of art and design), Cynthia Rowley (fashions that are adventures), Havenly (concept to delivery interior design), Margaux (heritage styled and crafted footwear), Monica + Andy (creative layette clothes and blankets), Orly Khon Floral (floral arrangements that tell a story), and the Giving Keys (jewelry that pays forward by creating jobs for the homeless). Please visit them.
We mentioned “two good things” above. The first was the focus on women-owned enterprises. The Giving Keys caught our eye as the “second good thing”. Their jewelry, including pendants that have keys instead of lockets, supports homeless people – especially as the homeless transition from their current status to full members of society. The Giving Keys’ work is ongoing until it is successful. It truly “pays forward”.
Oh, by the way (or BTW?), the “L.L.” in L.L. Bean stands for Leon Leonwood.