Culture News

Now Open: Rack 'Em Up Pop-Up Shop in Tempe

If you happen to be in the hunt for some fly t-shirts from local labels like From Another Planet or 11th Monkey, graphic designers Eric John and Paul Martinez have 'em in abundance at their new Tempe boutique Rack 'Em Up

The pair opened the pop-up shop earlier this month in the retail spaces at upscale apartment complex Block 1949 and have been busy selling threads created by 15 different urban designers from around Arizona, including PottyMouff, Rolling Stoner, and Tucson's Pistols in Paradise.

John says the focus of the pop-up, which they hope to keep open for at least a year, is on offering shirts and streetwear from as many local designers as possible, including their own label Rack and Stack.

"We have the most local brands of t-shirts than any shop in Tempe for sure. Some of these designers are at other stores, but then it's only like one or two shirts," he says.

In addition to its racks of t-shirts, the shop also will also have a focus on urban and street art and will stock a variety of canvases, spray paint, markers, and ink. Paintings by Valley street artists will also be displayed inside the store. Currently, they're showcasing works by Amens, Tim Bruder, Tusk, and Noelle Martinez.

Rack 'Em Up's proprietors are also eager to participate in Tempe's monthly Final Friday art walks (the latest edition of which takes place next week), as well as the Valley's hip-hop scene.

Serendipitously, the shop is located near Tempe music venues Stray Cat and Big Fish Pub, both of which regularly feature rap events. John and Martinez are helping sponsor next weekend's edition of WTFunk? Fridays at Stray Cat.

Local hip-hop station Power 98.3 recently did a live remote from the shop and John says they will be showcasing various local DJ in the shop at least once a week.

"This shop came about because we wanted to create an outlet for streetwear designers and to try and give some shine to all kinds of artists," John says.

Rack 'Em Up is located at 1949 East University Drive, Suite 106, in Tempe. Hours are from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Final Fridays.

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Benjamin Leatherman is a staff writer at Phoenix New Times. He covers local nightlife, music, culture, geekery, and fringe pursuits.