Something interesting is happening in the world of streetwear. It’s fixing up, shedding its scrappy roots and going all out for growth. Latest development? In the space of a few weeks, two of its most culty brands have opened retail stores that cement their influence and ambition for mass expansion.
On June 17th, Hypebeast unveiled an impressive new seven-storey HQ-slash-store-slash-event-space in NYC’s Chinatown. Two weeks earlier, Aimé Leon Dore (above and below) opened its London store in the heart of Soho, a two-storey retail destination incorporating a marble-floored café and a VIP private lounge. A sneaker’s throw from Supreme and Stussy, Aimé Leon Doreis a far more refined proposition than these rough and ready rivals. Its branding is more preppie-adjacent than skater kid, yet it speaks to the same youthful demographic. (more…)
“I loved going shopping in London, like at Fortnum & Mason. They have these guys in uniform with white gloves there and they never rush you. They stand there forever. They’d say, “May I help you, ma’am?” and I’d say, “Mmm… maybe I’ll have this can of soup.” And they’d say, “Oh, that’s a lovely brand, ma’am—one of our most popular.” And they’d hold up the can of soup and follow you around for like an hour holding up cans of soup and boxes of biscuits and jars of all sorts of sauces… “And this one, ma’am, is so lovely with duck.” They’d go on and on. I couldn’t get over it.”
The skatewear industry is one of the few niches managing to circumnavigate the plummeting shifting bricks and mortar retail landscape. Last weekend I went to Soho’s Brewer Street to witness the annual pop-up tour from Basement Approved, an online streetwear community that has evolved into a 360 proposition of physical merch, parties and pop-ups. Outside the appointed retail unit, a small gathering of scruffy-beautiful skate kids milled about guzzling Red Stripe and doing whatever young people do on their phones these days. (more…)