Brian Gathii, the man behind streetwear brand To-orist, has opened directional branded lifestyle boutique, Cranium Tie, in Woodford Green, Essex.
Undeterred by the tough climate sweeping much of the UK retail sector, the young entrepreneur has signed a deal on a 1,000sq ft premises in Chigwell Road near the local high street, which he is in the process of filling with brands including Alexander McQueen, Raf Simons and Lanvin, as well as his To-orist own label.
“Woodford Green shoppers are willing to spend,” said Ghathii. “They are deterred by the prospect of heading to London due to heavy traffic, the congestion charge, the distance, fuel prices, parking difficulties, overcrowded trains – the list is endless. But Cranium Tie is right on their doorstep. We’ll offer a lifestyle to customers. Everything in the shop is for sale, from furniture to art pieces and of course clothing.”
Gathii’s new venture is self-financed and in the long term he has plans to open more stores and launch a transactional website.
He said: “Of course, when the retail climate in central London stabilises we would love to open more stores.”
Gathii will run the To-orist label – which is best known for its T-shirts with bold graphic designs – from the new store, which will also double as a showroom for the brand, as well as an art gallery and a photography studio.
The creative store design was developed by Gathii and is inspired by gentlemen’s clubs and museums.
The idea behind the store name comes from Gathii’s quirky love of both skulls and formalwear.
He said: “Tie as in black tie, denotes articulate, smart and formal, and the reference to cranium is that it is the medical term for skull, and suggests clean and refined. Above all, it flows nicely off the tongue.”
See more pictures of the store below.