General Admission is more than just the quintessential Venice Beach source for all things surf and sun - it’s a space of inclusivity centered on community building. To uphold these principles, we recently brought the AllSwell, Tiny Atlas Quarterly and Earth Missions crews through to celebrate the launch of our Notebook No.3 and our upcoming adventures in Tofino and Tahiti. Shortly after the event, we chatted with former pro-surfer and General Admission co-founder Damien Fahrenfort about the shop’s unique ethos, his propensity towards paper versus digital and more. Read on below and make sure to pay them a visit next time you’re out West.
Photo by: Trevor King
You’ve previously stated that community is imperative to your brand. What are some defining characteristics of Venice Beach that you hope to perpetuate?
We want to tell all the amazing stories of the people that helped shape this community. If we can give back to the kids and make Venice a better place just in some small way - we’ll be stoked. Because my co-founder Gavin and I are both not from here we want to make sure that we do it in the right way and give back.
Take us through your brand/designer selection process. How do you know when it’s right?
Basically if we wouldn’t wear it, we don’t buy it. It’s a vote between Omer (our buyer), Gavin and myself. We want to stay true to ourselves and not just put stuff in here because it’s “hot” at the moment.
You’ve been open for close to a year, what’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned along the way?
Not to assume anything. We opened and expected to kill it, but things take time and just because we know how cool it is, doesn’t mean everyone else does.
What are some newer brands you’re particularly excited about featuring? (Besides AllSwell, of course.) Any current favorite items?
Our Legacy and Wings + Horns are two brands that really resonate with us. They’re all about soft fabrics and modern fits.
You recently hosted AllSwell and friends for a fete celebrating the launch of our Notebook No.3 and the trips we’re embarking on with Tiny Atlas Quarterly and Earth Missions. Any fun surprises or stories from the night you can share?
Ah. Other than the women out numbering the men for a change, the strong drinks and perfect weather? I can’t remember…I drank too much.
Happens to the best of us. We brought along fellow lady-led brands Kassia Surf and Summer Bummer so there were definitely more gals in the house than you’re typically used to seeing in the shop - any plans for future pop up events like this one or incorporating more women’s wear?
We’d love to keep doing stuff with ladies brands. Because we have no idea about women’s style though, we prefer to let them curate their own section and assortment.
We’re stoked that you’re stocking AllSwell notebooks - do you yourself have a journaling practice? When was the last time you put pen to paper?
Laura [Rubin - AllSwell’s founder] gave me one a while back and I haven’t stopped using it. Not so much the “draw” side because I have no artistic skills whatsoever. I prefer writing notes down on paper as opposed to the digital way that get’s lost and is gone forever.
We hear that. What makes an AllSwell notebook the perfect accessory for the General Admission dude and a good fit for your Venice vibes in general?
We have so many people that come through the store that are traveling or on an adventure of some sort and it’s the perfect travel journal.
Check out some of our photo highlights from the party below. | Photos by: Steven Krebs
AllSwell Founder Laura Rubin, Earth Missions Founder Tom Werney, Tiny Atlas Quarterly Founder Emily Nathan
AllSwell Notebooks 1, 2 + 3
General Admission Co-Founders Damien Fahrenfort and Gavin Dogan on opposite ends surrounding the A Walk On Water crew (proceeds from the evening went to benefit their important work)
General Admission is located at 52 Brooks Avenue, Venice Beach, CA
Ready to start putting pen to paper yourself? Get your notebook here.