Queenstown is officially O P E N ! Super stoked to have our brand new store up and running in The Mall Queenstown pop in and say HI! 

After 17 years occupying the corner of Helwick and Dunmore Streets, the BASE Streetwear storefront has become a bit of a Wanaka icon, and now it’s part of the Queenstown streetscape too.

BASE Streetwear opened its doors last Saturday (January 21) in Queenstown Mall, a prime spot owner Chris Walsh said he had to take an unusual, and very Wanaka, approach to secure. Chris, who owns the Wanaka and Queenstown BASE shops, and is the co-owner of BASE II/South Beach on Helwick Street, said he’d been looking at Queenstown for a long time, but when he contacted an agent last year, she had no suitable spaces on her books and wasn’t hopeful of anything coming up soon. A bit of luck, though, saw her calling back a week later with the news the Louis Vuitton shop in the mall was moving, and she would put BASE in as a "wildcard” candidate for the space, along with a few chain stores who were interested. Knowing he’d be hard pressed to beat out a large chain for the spot, Chris took a "local” approach. 

"I tracked down the landlord and invited him to Wanaka. I showed him BASE and South Beach, and he was really impressed,” Chris said. He emphasised he would be working in the store himself at least two days a week, and that the landlord would be dealing with him directly as opposed to someone in a corporate office. Chris also pointed to his track record as the original tenant in the space BASE occupies in Wanaka. "I wanted to build trust with him directly,” he said.

It worked. After two months of "sweating it out”, Chris received a call last August to say the shop was his.

Since then, it’s been a busy time fitting the store out, a process that was also a very Wanaka endeavour, with Chris using mostly Wanaka-based builders, cabinet makers, electricians, as well as sourcing signage, racks and other suppliers locally. Ernie Maluschnig from Wanaka’s Metalworks even provided the metal detailing for the shop. Chris said it’s a fit-out he’s really proud of. "I’ve fitted out six or seven shops over the years, and this one is really good,” he said.  As for stock, BASE Streetwear in Queenstown will stock the same brands as the Wanaka shop, but with a bit more emphasis on eveningwear to cater to Queenstown’s restaurant and bar scene.

"Because we started out in 1999, we’ve been able to get a lot of different brands over the years. It’s an eclectic mix, and we’re able to appeal to 20- through 60-year-olds. I’ve been able to take that to Queenstown,” he said.  

Nikki Latham