In less than five years, apparel company BAIT has become a darling in the streetwear world, captivating high-end street-fashion magazines and blogs with its outstanding collaborations with Nike, Reebok, Puma and Asics, among others. BAIT is also a multicategory, multicultural store that carries apparel, accessories, and designer toys and collectibles, and it has licensed merchandise with pop-culture brands such as Street Fighter, Felix the Cat, Bruce Lee, Domo, Naruto and more. The Diamond Bar-based company is a hip, culture-savvy fit for the Complex magazine set, conceived for elite consumers without the elitist sensibility.
You might think BAIT's OC store would be among the shops at South Coast Plaza or high-end sneaker stores in downtown SanTana, but its location is much more clandestine: hidden behind the sprawling Broken Yolk restaurant in a tiny Orange strip mall. Without the benefit of foot traffic, it seems a terrible location or purposefully scarce, like a speakeasy; you gotta be in the know of to find BAIT, you know?
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Within its tiny four walls, there is plenty of covetable merch to discover: jackets, hoodies and licensed tees for men and women with Japanese cartoon Astro Boy and Sanrio graphics. There's also inventory from such high-end streetwear companies as Stance, Lazy Oaf, Stussy and Rihanna's Fenty x Puma collection, as well as shoes by Vans and Reebok. Inside glass cases are jewelry, enamel pins and limited-edition designer Bearbrick collectible toys.
BAIT's vibe of slick coolness comes from its curated display of products, and while I'm not a big sneaker-head, there's still an air of friendliness and playfulness that lures me in. Maybe it's from the colorful collectibles, or the cheerful cashier who greeted me, or the cartoon-emblazoned clothing. Whatever it is, I hope it gets the same love from more locals.