The fashion culture lab: Beaker in Seoul is aptly named after the vessel in which exciting new concoctions come together.
If we ever extended the Drapers Independents Awards to South Korea, Beaker would be a contender for the lifestyle category. A division of Cheil Industries, a textile concern within the Samsung empire, it began life as a department store concession (see last week’s issue for South Korea’s dominant stores). Since 2012, however, it has stretched its wings into flagship stores, like this one in the trendy Cheongdam-dong district of Gangnam.
Beaker’s idea is to blend more than 200 European, US and Asian labels with local brands and its own collections. From clothes, footwear and accessories, the product offer extends into cosmetics, stationery, gifts and homewares, all artfully arranged across two floors on fixtures crafted from recycled furniture.
As is normal in larger South Korean emporia, a coffee-and-cakes bar makes the store a social destination. The mix of contemporary floor coverings, bright walls, a neon installation and the vintage furniture is effective. As its slick website, En.beakerstore.com, reveals, the name is inspired by the glass mixing vessel used in labs, and the business uses the slogan ‘Upcycling Culture Laboratory’. However you describe it, Beaker is a very impressive retailer.