Diffusion Studios, a Berkeley-based clothing store, will be celebrating its grand opening Saturday on Telegraph Avenue.
Located a short walk from campus at 2315 Telegraph Ave., Diffusion Studios sits between Chipotle Mexican Grill and Colliers International. The store will sell curated vintage clothing while collaborating with local vendors and providing a space for members of the community to gather, according to Jeric Austria, one of the store’s co-founders.
The team behind Diffusion Studios consists of six co-founders: Derek Cuenca, Mark Avilez, Brandon Alivez, Gio John Reduta, Jeric Austria and Justin Badar. Mark Avilez owns The Corner Store Gallery, a vintage clothing pop-up shop; Brandon Alivez operates @s3xpistolas, a curated clothing shop on Instagram; and Cuenca, Reduta, Badar and Austria own Peso, another clothing pop-up shop.
According to Cuenca, the six co-founders met by coincidence.
Months ago, Mark Avilez approached the Peso booth in San Jose and bought a hat from the pop-up shop. A few encounters later, the six men bumped into each other in a hallway at Westfield Valley Fair in San Jose. At that moment, the idea “sparked,” Cuenca said.
“It’s crazy how the community is connected not just by vintage clothing, but clothing in general,” Mark Avilez said. “It brings a lot of people together and a lot of friendships together, and you’re able to break barriers within the relationship, so it’s like an organic relationship.”
The six co-founders have been working together to develop Diffusion Studios for approximately six months. Despite minor issues with inventory and schedule restraints, problems have been minimal, which speaks to how “organic” and successful the relationship is between the six of them, according to Mark Avilez.
In the process of opening, Diffusion Studios received assistance from Neyborly, a local company that helps small businesses develop physical storefronts.
“They actually gave us this opportunity to have a storefront in Berkeley, and we couldn’t really pass on this opportunity,” Reduta said. “We were supposed to have a storefront in San Jose, but we saw that Berkeley was a better opportunity, so we continued with that.”
Cuenca noted how “expressive” people in Berkeley are — ranging from residents’ unique culture to their fashion. This, along with the close proximity to other fashion storefronts, puts their shop in a “prime location.”
The store will include clothing from various vendors, according to the Diffusion Studios Instagram page.
While many of these vendors specialize in clothing, the co-founders are looking to see when they can begin housing other types of art vendors and potentially opening more storefronts, Mark Avilez and Cuenca added.
“In five years, I want to be able to connect with other places in the area and reach down to other places in California and nationally,” Cuenca said. “I believe in all six of us. We’re not going to stop at Berkeley, and I really believe that it’ll go far beyond.”