There’s something altogether special about visiting a concept store over a classic retailer. Perhaps it’s the way in which it invites you to immerse yourself in parts of a brand that you wouldn’t otherwise see, or perhaps its that feeling of inspiration that sparks when you’re exposed to such a creative space. Either way, when done right, a concept store feels more like an experience than a shopping trip. Here, we list some of those lesser known, under-the-radar concept stores in London that are well worth a visit.
There’s a distinct departure from trends within what The Goodhood Store aims to communicate, and the aesthetic and vision is instead more focused on culture. Stocking over 200 different brands from clothing to lifestyle products, it presents a unique spin on the idea of luxury living via its product as well as its interior aesthetic. The flagship on Curtain Road spans 3,000 square feet and is set across two floors with mini exhibition spaces, a basement café and an indoor log cabin to explore – a truly immersive experience. Now recognised as one of London’s most contemporary retail spaces, it captures the essence of what gives East London its charm and adds a premium quality that feels impressively cool.
The Goodhood Store, 151 Curtain Rd, London, +44 20 7729 3600
Clothing store or artist’s playground? The answer isn’t always clear here as LN-CC is dedicated to offering so much more than just a shopping destination. Currently, the entrance is engulfed with trees, making it feel like you’re walking through a mystical forest to get to the art deco-inspired retail space. Initial perceptions left behind, it’s clear that this is a store that aims to surprise, excite and inspire. Labels stocked here come from all over the world, and, when combined, present a new take on luxury right in the heart of Dalston. From established names such as Lanvin, Altuzarra and Rick Owens to emerging talent, there’s no shortage of creativity inside this much-coveted retail space.
Late Night Chameleon Café, 18 Shacklewell Lane, London, +44 20 3174 0744
When menswear clothing label Albam first launched back in 2006, there was a distinct focus on practicality within its clothing designs, a notion that still remains true today although in a slightly more muted form. Working with some of the U.K. and Europe’s most prestigious factories to create utilitarian pieces for the modern man, it presents effortless off-duty clothing with timelessness and quality at its core. Stores are positioned in Soho, Spitalfields and Islington, and it’s the latter that we recommend over all to get a true feel for the brand. This particular destination stocks homewares and accessories alongside its clothing designs, and interiors are all white-wash wood and artfully placed coffee table books, so a trip won’t just inspire your wardrobe but your living space as well.
Albam, 286 Upper St, London, +44 20 7354 1424
Creativity was bound to be at the heart of Dover Street Market when it was announced that Rei Kawakubo of Comme des Garçons was at its helm. Designed more like a gallery than a department store, the interior is vast, industrial but perfectly curated. Labels housed inside the whitewash walls are invited to design their own display space so naturally they aim to impress. The result is something wonderfully eclectic that provides an insight into each label’s seasonal vision. Twice yearly, the market closes down to reinvent its presentations, but that much is understandable when the result is as impressive as it is. The ultimate London concept store, it’s famous for good reason.
Dover Street Market, 18-22 Haymarket, London, +44 20 7518 0680
When menswear creative and industry veteran Steve Davies was appointed Creative Director at The Content Store in April 2016, it was inevitable that the menswear retailer was about to undergo some big visual changes. And that it has, with both stores (one in Soho and one in Exmouth Market) being completely revamped. The new interiors boast grid-like shelving and a wooden hut that make the space feel fresh and exciting again whilst staying true to the essence of the store concept – to provide people with timeless, contemporary labels from around the globe. Expect to find the likes of AMI and Engineered Garments on the minimalist rail displays, Nike and Red Wing on chunky floating shelves and homewares and lifestyle products that no living space should be without – all items that would slot seamlessly into any style-savvy Londoner’s well-curated life.
The Content Store, 28 Lamb’s Conduit St, London, +44 20 3411 5703
Operating full-time as an online menswear retailer with pop-up stores reportedly appearing across the globe, Ejder takes a unique approach to retail, one that seems altogether relevant when you consider the interchangeable whims of the modern-day consumer. The location at Old Street station, however, is a mainstay. The 24-hour Ejder Club is a split store that captures the essence of the brand and its underground nature. Pay it a visit for an insight into the street culture it represents.
Eder, Tunnel 4, Old Street Station, Old St, London, +44 20 7253 2296
When a store dedicates its offering to new and emerging designer talent, you know you’re likely to come across something unique, and that’s exactly what gives Machine A its charm. Interiors are appropriately minimal to give the clothing the credit it deserves, and there’s something unique about the stock that it houses. Designs make a strong enough statement without a fancy surrounding to pep them up. If you’re looking to buy into trends before the high street has time to mimic them then Machine A is perhaps one of the best places to find them. Innovative, inspirational and eclectic are the words that spring to mind here.
Machine A, 13 Brewer St, Soho, London, +44 20 7734 4334
Streetwear brand Supreme does things a little differently from other labels, dropping mini-collections weekly as opposed to bi-annually and collaborating with industry creatives – musicians, artists and complementary fashion brands (most recently Louis Vuitton for their AW17 runway collection) – to produce exclusive pieces. That said, it’s no surprise that those in the know often queue outside the door on a Thursday morning when new stock arrives to be the first – and one of the only – people to get their hands on the streetwear label’s latest creations.
Supreme, 2-3 Peter St, Soho, London, +44 20 7437 0493
Home not only to a range of cutting-edge designer labels but its own collection as well, Other/Shop blurs the lines between gender in fashion and presents a series of unisex items for the modern consumer. Now located on Berwick Street in Soho (a poignant departure from its former position on Kingly Street), it captures the eccentricity of its surrounding area within its design details. Whilst relatively small in size, there’s no shortage of mixed media used within the interiors; some walls are made of exposed brick, others come draped in reams of fabric or precisely covered with glossy bright-yellow metro tiles.
Other/Shop, 3 Berwick St, Soho, London, +44 20 7734 6846
Until 2013, and the appointment of womenswear buying Director, Christie Fels, Hostem was primarily a menswear store, albeit a successful one. Now it caters for both genders and does it well. It’s positioned quietly among the likes of better-known concept stores in this round-up, and that’s arguably what makes it so appealing. The focus here is on personalization of service, and customers are offered the chance to have a say in just about anything that they’re buying into. Customised tailoring? Shoes made specifically to fit your foot? Bespoke luggage? You’re in the right place.
Hostem, 28 Old Nichol St, London, +44 20 7739 9733
It’s probably no surprise that General Eyewear stocks glasses, but it’s the detail behind each style that gives this label the prestige that it has so rightfully earned. Designed in a London studio and hand-crafted by only the best spectacle makes in England and France, the offering is unlike anything you’d find in any other high street retailer. If you’re not satisfied with the more than 56,000 frames available within the collection, then bespoke services are available to ensure your design is exactly to your specification. If you’re looking to invest and want great customer service to help you make an informed decision, then look no further. There are stores in Camden Market and Soho.
Arch 67 the Stables Market, Chalk Farm Road, Camden Town, London, +44 20 7428 0123
Placed in one of London’s most eclectic shopping areas, the Red Wing store just off Carnaby Street is – much like its neighbours – a hub of creativity and a chance for the brand to have a bit of fun with its presentations. It’s the only U.K. store, so the brand qualities are clearly communicated – there’s a focus on durability as well as style within the designs, and the staff is clued up on what makes each pair so special. Presentation-wise, expect rustic wood shelving, authentic vintage décor and quirky little corner displays all hark back to the label’s 18th-century heritage, setting the overall tone for the space.
Redwing, 17 Newburgh Street, London, +44 20 7287 5007