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Subtle but effective: the new rule for store design

Retailers’ new shops across the fashion spectrum are eschewing flashy layouts for simpler approaches that reflect their brand values

Double RL

Address: 6 Newburgh Street, London (above)

Size: 634 sq ft

Double RL – Ralph Lauren’s vintage-inspired men’s and women’s sub-brand – has re-opened in the UK in London’s Carnaby, after closing its Mayfair store in 2016, five years after launching. 

Named after designer Ralph Lauren and his wife Ricky’s “Double RL” ranch in Colorado, the store pays homage to the US brand’s rustic aesthetic through antique and nostalgic fixtures, such as distressed trunks, wooden clothing racks, and black and white photographs.

The London shop offers Double RL’s men’s denim, vintage and utility-inspired clothing, including shirts, knitwear, denim and leather jackets, as well as a range of accessories, belts and jewellery.

Its neighbours include fellow US heritage fashion brands Levi’s and Filson.

Double RL first launched in 1993 in the US. It has six existing stores: three in New York and branches in LA, Malibu and Tokyo. Products are also available in the UK via Ralph Lauren’s New Bond Street flagship and Selfridges, and the Ralph Lauren website.

The company said the new opening forms part of its growth plan, and that the UK and EMEA offer “an opportunity” to expand its physical store presence.

 

French Connection

Address: 55 Duke Street, London

Size: 4,000 sq ft

French connecton studios duke street (5)

French Connection has relocated its London flagship from Oxford Street to the unit that used to be occupied by Jigsaw’s Duke Street Emporium, to offer an “immersive experience” in a location better suited to its customers.

Nestled in the heart of Mayfair – a stone’s throw from Oxford Street – the two-storey French Connection Studios houses exclusive product, a photography studio, dedicated areas for homewares and lifestyle, and a coffee shop.

It stocks a curated selection of women’s and men’s wear – from jumpsuits to trousers, knitwear and outerwear – as well as footwear and accessories. A limited edition collection of dresses, tops and bottoms have also been designed exclusively for Duke Street, and will include four to six pieces each season that draw on former bestselling designs.

The photography studio provides customers with behind-the-scenes access to the brand, and a preview of latest collections before they launch in store.

Homeware and lifestyle goods include tables, cabinets, mirrors and rugs, as well as books and candles. The cafe is serviced by London-based independent eatery Fernandez & Wells.

 

Belstaff

Address: 213 Ingram Street, Glasgow

Size: 1,290 sq ft

Gjb belstaffgla 02

Belstaff’s Glasgow store pays homage to its industrial beginnings. Established in 1924, the company originally produced waterproof clothing for motorcyclists and pilots, before expanding into sportswear and then high fashion.

A mix of antique furnishings – from leather shelves for trophies to wooden cabinets – reflect its roots in the industrial north of England, which is further emphasised through the exposed brickwork and solid oak timber. Storytelling comes in the form of books, pictures and projected videos, detailing the brand’s 95-year history.

Other experiential features include an in-house waxing station for customers to re-wax their Belstaff jackets, as well as a cafe.

The brand has introduced a “fluid” store layout, which displays men’s and women’s wear side-by-side – with no reference to gender or season – to encourage customers to browse products freely. The furniture is on castors, allowing staff to transform the store as and when they want.

 

AllSaints

Address: Manchester Arndale

Size: 5,118 sq ft

Allsaints manchester 20190712 04

AllSaints has relocated to Manchester Arndale shopping centre from the city’s Market Street. It will be the company’s only store opening this year, and is designed around an “architectural” concept, as part of the brand’s “evolving” industrial aesthetic.

Materials and compositions from AllSaints’ original brand DNA, such as concrete detailing and Singer sewing machines, are incorporated throughout the store, to act as brand signifiers and resonate with customers.

The shopfit takes inspiration from a range of references, including architect Sverre Fehn’s Nordic Pavilion in Venice and US artist Richard Serra’s industrial-scale steel sculptures. AllSaints partnered with London-based architecture practice on the project.

The minimalist interior is offset by an entirely glass shopfront. Inside, the palette of warm grey tones is broken up by exposed finishes, free-standing steel walls and concrete detailing.

The store’s offer includes its full range of men’s and women’s wear, including dresses, shirts, knitwear, suits and outerwear, footwear and accessories.

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