Safe Spaces: The Mall
When Lindsay Eyth, design brain behind The Mall, a trailer-cum-boutique parked behind the Museum of Human Achievement, set out to brand the space, she hoped to capture the spirit of hope and wonder those giant shopping centers inspired in us as tweens.
Originally conceived of as “The Mall of Human Achievement,” Eyth immediately connected with the idea of ‘the mall’ when she and Zach Traeger of the Museum of Human Achievement first began considering a collaboration between the museum and Eyth’s own brand, Eythink.
Inspired by archival photos of dead malls, she designed the interior, and the brand, to give off those loud, colorful vibes so recognizable to anybody who remembers when malls were still popping (RIP). Inside The Mall is a carefully curated — pointedly cute, she says — aesthetic only aided by a deliberate selection of merchandise that wouldn’t quite fit anywhere else. It’s whimsical and fun and a little bit irreverent, as any mall should be.
“I wanted it to be really extra,” she says of the space that she says is like a tween sister to her own brand, Eythink — a tween sister who’s “wilding out.”
Like MOHA, its collaborative partner, The Mall — as Eyth and Traeger see it — really nails in its unique voice and follows through, down to the kitsch color block tiles on the trailer floor and to the nostalgia-inducing cafeteria tables located nearby. There’s really no other place like it in Austin, and that’s *like totally* by design.
“It’s not really like other spaces in Austin, so it could be off putting,” says Eyth. “I think there’s a volume level that people are comfortable with in Austin and it’s hard to crank past that once that precedent is set. Anything more than that feels so loud.”
With The Mall, she hopes to challenge that comfort level and to perhaps make people consider why certain aesthetics are deemed more respectable or appropriate than others.
The space also gives Eyth and many other local artists the platform to be loud, where previously they had trouble stocking more than a few products in stores around the city. The Mall now stocks more than 40 different artists and brands.
Customers have noticed the space’s singularity, as well, stopping in to pick up gifts or specific items unique to The Mall.
“It’s really cool to see people identify this place as a place with something specific that they can’t get elsewhere,” says Eyth. “It makes me feel proud.”