Written By Derika Crowley
Maketto isn’t just a coffee shop with a clothing shop in the front, or vice versa. It’s an oasis where everyone is welcomed, accepted, and encouraged to share their story and explore their interests. The communal marketplace is DC’s newest staple and is proud of the fact that they don’t follow a set agenda with their business concept. Strategically placed on the H Street strip due to the area’s historical reputation of housing the new and innovative in terms of fashion, food and business in general, Maketto is a pure example of a store with a twist and a little bit more.
The idea was originated by a group of individuals who were rising stars (both locally and nationally) in their respected fields, that wanted to create an establishment where food and fashion mesh to transform into a common concept within the Washington D.C. area.
“What we’re doing is making things a little bit more attainable and accessible. Growing up [in DC] all my life, with the exception of when I went to school, if you were a male that wanted to cook that wasn’t necessarily the coolest thing. If you were a male that wanted to get into clothes that wasn’t necessarily the coolest thing. If you [were a male who] wanted to bake, again, that wasn’t necessarily the coolest thing. Now, those things are kind of cool. And now it’s okay to do them. But, it took some people to take some darts there for a long time. [Included with that] If you were an artist, you didn’t have a job [to some]. Whereas now that’s cool again. And we want to make sure those people are taken care of. For everything that we do, there is someone else younger who’s going to do it better, and we want people to know it’s okay to do what you do.”
– Dominick Adams, Head of Retail at Maketto
It’s the energy of the customers that set the tone, style, and overall vibe. That energy refers to the will to explore, discover, and learn. It’s this energy that allows for Maketto to be much more than a restaurant or store, but a place where people can host a variety of events and come together. Similar to fashion, there isn’t one set story; the story is up to interpretation. For example, if one loves the Maketto for the Cambodian inspired cuisine that’s what they’ll go for. While, if one is into the fashion element, they’ll view Maketto as a place to discover unique pieces or hold a pop-up shop. Although the definition is subjective, the end product is dictated by how a certain individual perceives it.
“From a fashion perspective. DC was very ‘unsung hero’ in that regard. Meaning people in DC always had a style and an opinion on things. What we’re doing is, from a retail end, is showing that a retailer can actually have style. What I mean by that is years ago you would go to one shop for one look, you would go to another shop for certain items, you may even need to go out of state [in some instances]. Here, we’re more so saying there is a way to put together multiple looks from a style perspective without having to reinvent yourself…that’s what I’m most proud of with the fashion program [at Maketto]. Everyone can exhibit style.”
One thing Maketto prides itself with is not cutting corners. This in essence is how they successfully combine food with fashion. For the food element, all items are outsourced from the best sources, same goes with the available fashion pieces (all obtained from the best brands and locations including Paris and New York). The retail portion of Maketto is a beautiful curation of international footwear, clothing, and accessories from brands including: DURKL, Human Made, Stone Island, and more.
“The community created [the style]. We just provided a venue and the right things to trigger an action. And that’s what I would want people to know the most.”