British heritage brand Belstaff has launched its new community-first retail concept with the reopening of its Spitalfields store in east London this week.
The 785 sq ft store on Lamb Street is the first in the brand’s worldwide redesign roll-out. Belstaff’s three other UK stores, and its German shops, will be redeveloped before the end of the year.
“We wanted to not only embrace this area but embrace the brand and show it in its most natural way,” creative director Sean Lehnhardt-Moore told Drapers. “Everything that we’ve put together is about exploring the brand a bit more through the depth and assortment of product, and the way that menswear and womenswear is zoned and laid out reflects how our customer in this area shops.”
Inspired by Belstaff’s roots in the industrial north of England, the Spitalfields store’s exposed brickwork walls are lined by British-made utilitarian display units.
The underlying sense of skilled labour and the history of Belstaff as a workwear manufacturer was something Lehnhardt-Moore wanted to incorporate in the store’s design.
“Finding craftspeople in the north of England where Belstaff heralds from was really important, and I wanted to work with great British makers,” he said. “With all of the units, the inspiration was from old lathes and tool boxes, and we sourced the wood cabinets and other furniture from Britain.”
Also central to the new concept is its community focus. In Spitalfields, customers can enjoy a Belstaff coffee, or a gin and tonic, at the high bar in the store’s window, and Lehnhardt-Moore is keen for people to see the shop as a part of their routine rather than just a place to buy clothes.
He said: “When we do other stores, we want to feed off where we are and listen to the customer and become an important part of the community.”
Lehnhardt-Moore joined the brand in June and autumn 19 will be his first collection. The focus will be to reinterpret some key heritage pieces and bring some of the menswear styles over to the womenswear offering: “For my first collection the alignment of men and women will be really important. What I heard from hardcore female customers was that they liked what we do in menswear, and they asked why we weren’t doing that with womenswear.”
He adds: “It’s not as if the brand is broken. We just want to fine tune it and rev it up a bit so that everybody knows about it.”