That photo above is from the Disneyrollergirl archives, AKA a pile of scrapbooks and box files containing years worth of photos, cuttings, and ephemera that I’ve held onto ‘just in case’. Yasmin Cho was a late ’90s shop on a first floor in Poland Street, an out-of-sight destination that you had to want to find in order to visit it. Run by Yasmin Sewell, it stocked a curated mix of under-radar labels like Susan Cianccolo, Carol Christian Poell, and Rick Owens. You had to press a buzzer to get in and the sign on the door was made up of coloured sticky dots. Fast forward 15 years and Yasmin Sewell’s early concept has come full circle with a Shoreditch pop-up space called Beach In the East.
Like its predecessor, this isn’t a typical shop. It’s not on a high street, or a street with any sort of retail footfall. In fact, it’s part of Sewell’s offices for her consultancy Paper Mache Tiger, so you have to press a buzzer to enter. But that all adds to the destination vibe, and once there it’s quite a lovely, chilled experience…
The two-month pop-up is in a specially built Dogtown-esque ‘swimming pool’, designed to envelope you in the overall mood of laid-back, California-style, outdoorsy living. Key to the concept is the buy which is loosely unisex and includes one-off designs from a host of new-ish international brands. From Thomas Tait there are graffiti-print tops and his Crazies sunglasses, from Frederick Maxwell Kingery (a new name for me) there are boyish, natural-dyed denim dungarees and skater shorts, and from Joe Duke, handpainted vintage Levi’s denim jackets, each one a unique piece. Sophia Webster’s sunset and palm tree motif flats sit well on the colourful graffitied trestle table.
Although the skate concept is cool (and current) and the service is informed and friendly, what makes this work is the buy. I got a deja-vu sense of early Browns Focus, where you can’t predict what you’re going to find. there’s a feeling of discovery but at a not-prohibitive price.
There are tees around the £35 mark, sunglasses around the £75 mark and the Frederick Maxwell Kingery denim falls in the £180 bracket. These aren’t brands you buy for the label (no Kenzo or Givenchy here) but for the design. There’s a tendency to think retail buying is easy, but it’s a real skill. The edit here is really strong and clearly presented – it’s not overwhelming or too sparse – and there’s a harmony between all the products.
Another savvy move is the partnership with Farfetch.com, who will sell the product online (there’s an edit below). This is a clever and logical way of sharing the Beach In The East concept beyond bricks and mortar, and of course globally. Yasmin Sewell has done a lot since the original Yasmin Cho. She has worked for Browns, Saba, Liberty, and now Beach In The East. My hunch is that this pop-up could be a tester for a more permanent retail space under her own name.
Thomas Tait Crazies sunglasses
Thomas Tait graffiti print top
Frederick Maxwell Kingery dungarees
Joe Duke jacket
Peridot London knotted shirt
Sheriff & Cherry patterned sunglasses
Beach In The East is at Paper Mache Tiger, The Lower Ground G, 123 Clifton St, EC2A 4LD. Open until 24th August 2013: Monday – Saturday 10am – 6pm: (0)20 7729 9620