BAU-HOUSE brings sneakers, streetwear and artists together at new downtown Flint business
- by Bau House
FLINT, MI – Flint’s newest spot for exclusive streetwear and sneakers looks and feels like an art gallery.
BAU-HOUSE, the newest business located in Buckham Alley in downtown Flint, takes heavy inspiration from the Bauhaus school of design movement that combined craft, fine arts and aesthetics.
It’s the same style that influenced some of the world’s most famous designers, including Virgil Abloh, the Louis Vuitton and Off-White artist that died of a rare cancer last year.
Every design decision in the BAU-HOUSE was an intentional one, as co-owners Lee Grant Allen and Antonio Forte II will tell you.
“That’s the Bauhaus movement. Not just doing stuff to do it. Everything has a purpose. Everything has a plan,” Allen said.
BAU-HOUSE is opening to the public on Saturday, June 18, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. There will be giveaways, sales and informal tours of the space, all capped off by a TELFAR bag giveaway.
The store even has a tribute to Abloh, who became one of the most prolific design collaborators of the modern era.
BAU-HOUSE has an all-orange face in Buckham Alley that suddenly turns into a minimalistic, art gallery-like “residential” space for collaborating and hanging before the “retail” portion of the store that boasts custom-made racks and tables from creators throughout Michigan.
It’s owned and operated by two Flint natives and best friends who grew up together in the area, along with minority partner Keith Chaney.
Allen and Forte used to challenge each other artistically when they were kids. The two recalled stories of scribbling on a piece of paper during sermon at church on Sundays.
Years later, they worked together at Journeyz in Birch Run, where they collected hundreds of pairs of Nike Dunk sneakers, and first conceptualized the idea of running their own store.
“We were like ‘One day we are going to have our own brand,’” Forte said. “I called (Allen) and was like ‘Bro, I know we are in the middle of a pandemic but ... if we are going to do it like this is the time we got to do it.’”
Both were heavy into fashion, sneaker culture and design. When the COVID-19 pandemic started and sneaker reselling boomed, Forte called Allen and told him that now’s the time to make their dream into a reality.
The BAU-HOUSE name was came up with through two ideas: Bauhaus and house parties. The duo always preferred a house party because of their laid-back vibe, so combining the two was a no-brainer.
“You might not know everyone there but you know that there’s someone there that you are cool with, so it’s not too uncomfortable,” Allen said. “... It’s a kickback. So that’s the vibe in here.”
BAU-HOUSE will carry exclusive brands like Fear of God, Rhude, Pleasures, Yeezy and Bodega alongside rotating local featured brands like My810, Soulmate Apparel, comfe and GoodBoy.
The store has a collection of 200+ exclusive, limited-run sneakers from Nike, Jordan, Yeezy and more.
GoodBoy founder Oaklin Mixon shared a space with BAU-HOUSE before he passed away from COVID-19 complications at 38 last year.
Related: GoodBoy Clothing founder Oaklin Mixon remembered as a ‘king’ that everybody loved in Flint
Allen was a managing partner of GoodBoy Clothing and is now working to carry on Mixon’s legacy through collaboration.
Allen, who was already setting up BAU-HOUSE downstairs, took over Mixon’s former space on the second floor of the building along Saginaw Street downtown. Allen now runs Mixon’s former brand and plans to carry GoodBoy products in the BAU-HOUSE.
He’s carrying on Mixon’s legacy by rebranding GoodBoy Clothing to Good, with a macron over the first “o” serving as both a halo for Mixon and an ode to the BAU-HOUSE brand.
“Our vision just aligned for what we are trying to do for the city,” Allen said.
Allen and Forte turned the GoodBoy Clothing space upstairs into a collaboration space/art display for local creators to do custom pieces, host gatherings, learn from each other and share their work.
Part of the attraction of the BAU-HOUSE is that much of its apparel is 1:1 exclusive. It’s custom-made stuff by artists that hand sew the fabric into streetwear.
BAU-HOUSE is even issuing certificates of authenticity for its exclusive pieces.
“That’s the vibe for the store. When we bring in brands, I may have three smalls, three larges and three mediums,” Allen said.
BAU-HOUSE will open four days a week with by-appointment shopping on Tuesday and Thursday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and open to the public on Friday and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. after the grand opening on June 18.
Collaboration opportunities, product inquiries, event updates and more information are all available on the BAU-HOUSE Instagram page: @ourbauhouse.
“The clothes and the shoes is secondary to you interacting with people, creating culture and creating community,” Allen said. “That’s what the space is really embodying.”