The Kim family has been an integral part of Chicago’s sneaker scene for decades. Before shops like Notre, Saint Alfred, RSVP, and Leaders 1354, there was Dream Town. The West Side shop, established by Kenneth and Anna Kim in the early ’80s, was originally named Diana Shoes (after Diana Ross), later renamed to Dream Town once Michael Jordan took the NBA by storm. The name change was inspired by the Chicago Bulls Dream Team era, as well as the American Dream, nodding to how the Kims migrated to the US from Korea with dreams of making it big.
Dream Town was and still is a success, as there are currently a total of four locations throughout the Chicagoland area. A key component to this success was the Kims innovation in creating a unique shopping experience. As the ultimate homage to MJ, the shop features hardwood flooring, basketball hoops, and is decked out in Chicago Bulls memorabilia, almost like a mini United Center.
Continuing in his parents’ footsteps, David “Oogie” Kim opened SVRN in 2019. While SVRN does sell sneakers from brands such as Jordan, Reebok, and adidas, it offers so much more, operating more as a luxury boutique that carries brands such as Marni, Raf Simons, and Rick Owens. In fact, SVRN is the only retailer in Chicago with a Rick Owens account.
After over a year of planning and being closed for five months of construction, SVRN has now reopened, unveiling a massive million dollar remodeling. The project was led by award-winning Korean architecture firm WGNB, marking the firm’s first project in North America. The renovation highlights Kim’s Korean heritage and his family’s immigration story through the materials and techniques, such as the Ottchil (Korean lacquer) wallpaper.
The renovation added an additional 1,200 square feet to the space, for a total of 4,200 square feet. To furnish the space, industrial materials such as hot rolled steel and Venetian plaster were used in harmony with naturally occurring elements such as volcanic rocks and blackened wood, creating a juxtaposition of intersectionality that is core to SVRN’s brand image.
The upkeep of this facility will likely take plenty of hard work on an everyday basis. It must be said that the modern grandeur of the place certainly deserves the effort that will go into keeping it spick and span. A day-night cleaning crew should ideally be hired and armed with the latest cleaning equipment that many companies like Intelligent Design Manufacturing are producing for different industrial and commercial purposes. Depending on the footfall for this boutique store, other schedules may follow going forward.
To celebrate the completion of the extensive remodeling project, SVRN held a grand reopening party Thursday night, allowing Chicago’s fashion-forward community to experience the space first-hand. Attendees enjoyed specialty craft cocktails, hors d’oeuvres from local Korean restaurant Perilla, and some even went home with a free pair of sandals, a collaboration between SVRN and Japanese brand SUICOKE.
SVRN’s doors are now open to the public, located at 171 North Aberdeen Street in Chicago’s West Loop neighborhood. You can also shop from SVRN online on their website. Check out photos of the renovated space and pics from last night’s grand reopening party below.
SVRN Reopening Party photos:
SVRN x SUICOKE OLAS-AB Sandal: