SHYFT Sneakers + Apparel recently opened at MGM National Harbor. (Photo by Micha Green)

By Micha Green
AFRO D.C. Editor

MGM National Harbor just opened a store that brings streetwear to the luxury and boutique shopping experience found at the Oxon Hill, Maryland resort and casino.  SHYT Sneakers + Apparel opened at MGM National Harbor a few weeks ago, and the company decided to celebrate its successful launch with a COVID-19 friendly grand opening on Dec. 10, that highlighted the store’s emphasis on authentic streetwear that appeals to a local vibe and aesthetic.

“SHYFT is an idea that has been lingering for some time.  We think that, and have always thought that, a part of our retail story should really tell a local story as well, and we felt like this was it.  A cool, authentic, streetwear store that included sneakers and really great fashion and apparel that people are wearing and that’s unique to, both the community, but also a specific fashion genre,” MGM National Harbor’s Director of Communications Malik Husser told the AFRO in an exclusive interview.

Husser explained that SHYFT is the “first store of its kind in the entire portfolio,” and thus the company wanted to be sure they were successful launching a streetwear store in the Washington Metropolitan Area, also known as the D.M.V.

“We wanted to make sure we got it right the first time.  So if you follow streetwear as a fashion genre, you know that it is very authentic to the culture, and if you try to do anything that’s not real, it’ll be called out- just as quickly as fake Supreme… So we didn’t want this store to be that.  We wanted it to be something that made sense and that felt local within the concept of the fashion genre, but also streetwear as it relates to D.C., the D.M.V., Prince George’s County, which is why got artists like Marly to come in and add their flavor to it.  And we’re going to continue to layer on local feels,” Husser explained.

SHYFT features a great deal of luxury and streetwear brands that appeal to D.M.V. eyes, including Louis Vuitton, Nike, Jordan, Supreme, BAPE, Anti Social Social Club,and G-Star RAW, however it’s not just the sneakers and apparel that keep Washingtonians in mind.  The decor and vibe of the store incorporates local artists and facets specific to D.C.’s streetwear fashion scene.    One local artist feature is Marly McFly, who the AFRO interviewed on Facebook Live.

“With this piece I wanted to play off of the word SHYFT.  When I think of that word, I think of movement.  Streetwear fashion- that’s a movement- it’s organic, it’s not corny, it’s not fake.  I just wanted to create a moving, breathing piece.  When you look at it, you don’t see defining definitions.  You see movement and create your own story,” McFly said.

While many businesses are suffering due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Husser told the AFRO that MGM National Harbor is confident in the SHYFT store and brand and planning post pandemic programming.

“We don’t think that it was a gamble .  We really researched the possibility of creating this in a real way, and I think that we’ve executed all the plans that we’ve put together thus far, that we could in such a restrictive environment.  But we look forward to post-COVID, where we can do some of those cool programming ideas, and allow for the space to really speak for itself,” Husser said. 

According to Husser, the goal of SHYFT is to “continue to tell the story of Washingtonians, native D.M.V.’ers, who want to be a part of what SHYFT is going to be,” and while expanding, also emphasize a narrative specific to the nation’s capital.

“I think it’s going to be bigger than just a retail store.  It’ll be a retail cultural extravaganza, if you will.  We’re going to program the space to have live music, to have master classes from artists like Marly, who talk about their journey, local designers, who have their own brands, do pop-up shops with them, so they can talk about their fashion sense, where their designs come from and tell their stories as well,” Husser said.  “So SHYFT is going to be a part of the community, while MGM National Harbor is a part of MGM Resorts, we have resorts and casinos all over the world… we want this to feel like Prince George’s County, Arlington, Virginia, Washington, D.C.- we want it to feel like the capital region and I think we’re achieving that and we’ll definitely do our best to do everything towards that.” 

SHYFT is located at 101 MGM National Ave, Oxon Hill, MD, and Husser encourages shoppers to check out some of the gear and be treated to a unique, boutique experience.

“We’re going to operate like a boutique, even though we’re a part of a large corporation, so, if you come in and we don’t have your size in the sneaker, that’s fine.  We’ll find your size and ship it to you- you don’t have to come back in the store.  We want to make sure we build a clientele that will come again,”  Husser said before encouraging people to follow the store on social media @SHYFTStyle and use the hashtag #ThatSHYFTisDope.

AFRO Washington, D.C. Editor