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B+R, London

A flock of stuffed birds keep an eye on the action in Bolongaro Trevor and Religion’s collaborative retail concept.

Located in Shoreditch High Street, the B+R store captures the mood of the east London neighbourhood with its edgy, industrial feel. And the fashion – a well-crafted marriage of directional labels Bolongaro Trevor and Religion, both of which are imbued with a goth-tinged rock personality, is also well suited to the trendy environs.

The store opened in December 2007 and is co-owned by Religion creative director Darren Collins and Stuart Trevor and Kait Bolongaro, designers of Bolongaro Trevor and former owners and designers of directional young fashion chain All Saints. The three of them joined forces to create a space in which they could take advantage of their growing wholesale businesses.

“Religion has a strong rock ’n’ roll signature, with graphics, prints, twisted and draped jerseys and silk shapes,” says Collins. “Bolongaro Trevor ventures into sharp tailoring and woven dresses. The two brands complement each other well in look and price points and offer customers an opportunity to buy into a complete image.”

B+R also stocks directional labels Buddhist Punk, Kast and House of the Gods which all also hail from the Religion stable.

The store has a spacious, minimal feel, with black wood flooring, a sleek black counter and a black and white ceiling.

The brands are mixed together and hung on exposed steel constructions, which are made from reclaimed Victorian bridge girders. Quirky features include film set lights and antique leather armchairs, as well as heavy black velvet curtains concealing the changing rooms.

However, it is the taxidermy scattered around the store that really sets it apart. Sitting in glass cases or placed boldly on top of shelving, the lifeless birds of prey and birds of paradise give the store a macabre edge, which is an appropriate accompaniment to the sophisticated yet rebellious clothing.

The current in-store offer is made up of each brand’s autumn 08 collection. For Bolongaro Trevor the look is inspired by Queen Victoria and heraldic British lions, alongside power dressing styles from the 1940s to the 1960s.

Religion’s womenswear range comprises tiger prints, burnt-out animal details on jerseys, dip dye, comic book icons and religious detailing. Men get a punk-inspired casual range as well as more dressed-up looks such as waistcoats, knitwear and macs.

The Shoreditch High Street store is one of three B+R shops. The first opened in the Victoria Quarter in Leeds in September 2007, and the second launched in Islington, north London, in March 2008. Collins says that having the stores enables the brands’ design teams to push the boundaries in a way they cannot for their wholesale business.
“Although the bestsellers are the same across the stores, popular styles differ from area to area. This information is used to develop new ranges,” he says.

B+R 128 Shoreditch High Street, London E1

Essentials:
250: Number of wholesale stockists for Religion in the UK and RoI
80: Number of wholesale stockists for Bolongaro Trevor in the UK and RoI
5: Number of brands in the B+R store

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