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Union Market expands into retail with Thread

Thursday - 11/14/2013, 10:06am  ET

Thread_at_Union_Market.JPG
Thread at Union Market will take place Nov. 29- Dec. 1. The event is Union Market's first dive into selling retail. (WTOP/Rachel Nania)

WASHINGTON - Just one year after opening the food market building at 1309 5th Street in Northeast, Union Market is ready to expand.

On Tuesday, EDENS announced plans to bring a state- of-the-art film center to Union Market. And its next big venture? Retail.

Nov. 29 through Dec. 1, Union Market will host Thread, a collection of more than 30 local and national designers and artists.

"If feels like people have found (Union Market), but they're ready for what's next," says Jodie McLean, president and chief investment officer of EDENS.

For McLean, what's next is introducing a curated collection of leather goods, accessories, beauty products and art to the second floor of the food market building -- a space called Dock 5.

And similar to the market's food artisans, Thread will pay special attention to highlight the innovative artists behind the products.

"Really what Thread is, is the evolution of a broader vision for Union Market," McLean says.

While the Union Market building most people are familiar with is a large 20,000 square-foot space, the Union Market EDENS plans to fold into the community over time is actually much larger.

Union Market is bigger than the food market building. It's 45 acres of space. (WTOP/Rachel Nania)

"A lot of people see (Union Market) just as the market that we opened, but it's truly a 45-acre district in Northeast It's a wonderful opportunity to bring together the true innovation and creative forces that are here in D.C. today," McLean says.

Gert Barkovic is one of the artists selected to participate in Thread. Her company, Mutiny, collaborates with other artists to build collections that vary in products -- from clothing, to accessories, literature and found objects.

At Thread, Barkovic says she will have an assortment of arrangements and products to show the full scope of Mutiny.

"We are going to have a couple of our designers there, one making custom belts as well as one of our shirt designers, who is a D.C.-based designer," says Barkovic, who adds that other items on display will include writing pens, papers from Japan and a book collection.

For now, Thread is just three days, but McLean sees it as a continuous event.

This week, Union Market announced plans to add a film center with a focus on food. (Courtesy EDENS)

"We imagine that Thread will be this consistent celebration of design, fashion, home wear, jewelry, accessories and art. We foresee that it will be at least a once-a-month, we hope, event," says McLean, who adds that Thread's location may move around to different areas of Union Market.

As part of Thread, The Walkmen -- an indie rock band comprised of five D.C. natives -- will play a concert on Nov. 30 in the alley of Dock 5 at 8 p.m.

McLean says live music is also something Union Market hopes to have more of as the area grows.

"This should be the place that pulls together all of the great creators, makers, innovators that are already in D.C. and those who want to come here," McLean says.

Thread will be open on Friday, Nov. 29 from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m.; Saturday, Nov. 30 from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.; and Sunday, Dec. 1 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tickets to the Walkman concert are available online.

More than 30 designers, artists and collaborators will share their products at Thread at Union Market. Click the image to enlarge for the full list of participating artists and the layout of the event. (Courtesy Edens)

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