Urban Wear Boutique Opens in Anacostia

Shoes, backpacks, winter and team hats, sweat suits, jeans, jackets and more are well-stocked at District Culture.

Over the summer 8 x 11 sheets of paper with a map outlining the city with “District” running along Eastern Avenue and “Culture” running along East Capitol Street covered the glass door and bay windows of 1922 Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue. “Coming Soon” was the only information for persistent inquisitors walking. Inside, a group of four close friends were hard at work building out interior cabinets and display cases, painting the walls, and installing lights and a security system of a soon-to-open urban wear boutique. Now a custom-made wood grain marquee has been installed, heightening area intrigue. 

Growing up in the Savannah Terrace neighborhood of Southeast Washington, Ambrey “Debo” Young, Alexander “Bundy” Mosby, Maurice “Moe” Holton and Clifton Walker of Shipley Terrace frequented the Madness Shop on Georgia Avenue, the All Daz outlet on Benning Road, the Zo World store on Good Hope Road in addition to the locations of uniquely DC urban fashion brands Shooters and We R One. 

“Growing up in DC, we were influenced by the creative flair and entrepreneurial spirit of these brands and businesses,” says Mosby, CEO of District Culture, who during the day works as an inspector for Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission. “We want the store to be the canvass in which people look to when they’re seeking to paint their own style and fashion.”

Around three years ago, Young, a self-taught graphic designer, purchased a hot press and began making t-shirts for neighborhood clientele. Orders began coming in word-of-mouth and Young started designing his own custom shirts. The idea for a physical storefront wasn’t planned, says Young. After conversations among the friends, they decided opening their own store was within reach by pooling their collective expertise, resources and connections. Mosby surveyed and scouted locations on the main thoroughfares of Southeast Washington. In his travels he caught sight of the former tenant of their current location moving out and days later saw a “For Lease” sign posted. Mosby contacted Anthony McDuffie, a representative at Anacostia River Realty, whose office is next-door, and began working out the specifics of a lease.

“One of Anacostia River Realty's missions has been to bring more retail, restaurants and office tenants to the commercial corridor,” Darrin Davis, Principal Broker/Owner of Anacostia River Realty, said. “We are happy to bring District Culture as well as T-Mobile and the Rocketship Education's offices to Historic Anacostia. We're happy to see District Culture open; the neighborhood needs a trendy sports shop.” 

When asked how District Culture would distinguish itself from City Beats in Congress Heights, which mostly sells athletic footwear, Holton, who works for a city housing agency, said, “We’re bringing Georgetown to the Southside. We have a variety of hats, jeans, backpacks, shoes, fleeces, sweat suits, and socks. We don’t focus on just one element.”

On a recent visit to the store Paul Trantham, a candidate for ANC 8B02, stopped by to order 10 shirts for his poll workers. “I’m here to support these guys. We have to support businesses in our own community.” (Pricing for custom-made t-shirts will vary depending on sizes and quantity, says Mosby.)

Once the store is open, Mosby and his team plan to host events at the store from album release parties for local music artists to launches for new shoes associated with professional athletes. If you see John Wall, Bradley Beal, or Kevin Durant bypassing G.T. Players on Wisconsin Avenue for District Culture don’t be surprised. “We have to stay vibrant and evolve with the times,” Mosby said. “The city is changing but there’s a culture here that’s strong. Part of that is fashion and entertainment and you’ll find that at District Culture.” 

With a soft opening held last month, District Culture, at 1922 Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue SE, is open weekdays and weekends from 11am - 8pm. A website is currently being set-up while the shop can be followed on Instagram at instagram.com/thedistrictculture202 and found by searching “District Culture” on Facebook. You can reach the store by calling (202) 808-8921 or emailing thedistrictculture@gmail.com

Shoes for all ages and styles are for sale inside the storeroom of District Culture.
The team of District Culture, L-R., Ambrey 'Debo' Young, Maurice “Moe” Holton, Clifton Walker, Rashara 'Pae' Grant, Alexander 'Bundy' Mosby.