With rare Michael Jordan sneakers dating back to 1985, local art work, a DJ table and pinewood floors, Moh Habib on Aug. 21 unveiled Studiiyo 23, an urban fashion store and art gallery at 2319 Hennepin Ave.
Everything about Studiiyo 23, from the name to the design to the merchandise, is a reflection of Habib, a 34-year-old world traveler who spent his high school and college years in Minnesota.
“In those travels — I’ve been to 30 countries and 169 cities so far — I picked up the best of what I like from all those spots, and what I did was try to merge everything I love in life into one space,” he said.
Habib has spent the last eight years working in Japan and Switzerland, first for Northwest Airlines and later as a consultant. The name Studiiyo 23 combines the English word “studio” with the Japanese word “iiyo,” which Habib said is the Japanese ideal that anything is possible.
Habib is a die-hard Michael Jordan shoe collector. He owns over 150 pairs of Jordan shoes, including rare ones that he snagged only because he was visiting the right city at the right time. He displays his own sneakers in the store, but also sells the newest Jordan shoes. He said he is the only independently owned Jordan retailer in Minnesota.
Along with the Jordans he also sells other urban footwear, hats, shirts, bags, headphones and other accessories. Right now he is only selling men’s merchandise but said he plans to expand to offer a women’s selection.
While half of the shop is for fashion, the other half is all about art, music and culture. Habib will feature a new artist every month. This month he’s featuring acrylic paintings and painted antique furniture from Diane Simon of St. Paul.
Studiiyo 23 also has a DJ table where spinners will work at various times and a projection-screen TV so customers can partake in PlayStation 3 tournaments.
“When I describe the space to people I don’t say it’s a sneaker shop,” Habib said. “I say it’s an art gallery that sells sneakers and urban fashion because it has that art gallery feel.”