Uninspiring abandoned buildings and auto shops surround Institution 18b, a new art gallery and men’s apparel store on 918 S. Main St. just north of Charleston Boulevard. But when you walk through the doors and see the newly renovated space with its towering white walls, your eyes are opened to its hidden potential and what a few Vegas natives aspire to bring to the Arts District.
Owner Wil Eddins describes Institution 18b as a verge culture lab and shop for those on the forefront of fashion, art, music and technology.
“It’s that particular person who is on the next,” Eddins says. “He is the guy buying the first phone out. He is waiting in line for the shoes. He’s making sure he gets that album as soon as it drops. That’s the person we are anchoring in here.”
Eddins plans to sell clothing, shoes, art, books and music as well as host shows and other events inspired by his interests in hip hop, b-boying and street art in the 3,200-square-foot warehouse.
With a background in marketing and purchasing, Eddins started off as a buyer for Karmaloop, an online retailer specializing in streetwear. Later, he did merchandising for the Jabbawockeez retail store and DJ Vice’s shop, CRSVR in the Cosmopolitan.
After noticing the growth of Downtown and getting some encouragement from Daniel Knight, the co-owner of Cornerstone Gallery, Eddins saw opening his own business as an opportunity to create a spark.
“We just need to have a space where people can come [together], and that’s why we call it a culture lab because we are going to breed culture,” he says.
For now the biggest challenge is getting the right brands in the store. Currently Institution 18b is working with Stüssy, Maharishi, Pleasures, Clear Weather, Eli Reed, Clot, SSUR and others.
As far as ideas go, Eddins and his team are open to just about anything, such as pop-up concerts, product-release parties and even a Netflix and Chill night. The space is conducive for all of it with the added option of outdoor events on a 750-square-foot back patio. But first on the agenda is a truly grand grand opening party.
“What can happen here?” Eddins says. “Everything. It’s a canvas. It is fully [malleable].”