42-44 Rivington Street, London EC2
Who you need to know
Owners Brix Smith-Start (top left) and Philip Start (bottom left)
Brands include Acne, APC, Butter by Nadia, Carven, Disney Couture, Fred Perry, Lily and Lionel, Nudie, Start
Founded by husband and wife Philip Start (former founder of menswear retailer Woodhouse) and Brix Smith-Start, this indie began as a standalone store in Rivington Street, east London in 1992. Now it comprises separate menswear and womenswear stores, an online boutique and, most recently, an own-label menswear collection called Mr Start, due to show at London Fashion Week this week.
With an eclectic interior that includes clothing hung from waterpipes, the look of the stores and the attentive staff play as big a part in creating the Start experience as the delectable brand line-up.
The store’s website has a host of innovative features including Start TV, which shows short film clips about new products and designers.
“As a business we are constantly renewing ourselves - it is in our DNA. We try to be innovative in all areas,” explains Start. “We change the brand mix all the time - if something is not performing then it’s ‘goodbye’.”
A fan of Start exclaims: “Amazing -what more can I say. Wish I could shop there every day.”
A former musician (she was a guitarist in indie legends The Fall), Smith-Start is a regular in the fashion press as well as a co-presenter on TV series Gok’s Fashion Fix. She also holds one-to-one Saturday styling sessions for customers and insists all the store’s staff are given thorough styling and product training.
Start says: “The passion has to show in everything you do. From the moment you walk in to the moment you leave there has to be a raft of experiences.”