7a-11 Richmond Hill, Bournemouth
Who you need to know
Owner Keith McNicol (left)
Brands include Barbour, Boss Orange, D&G, Evisu, Juicy Couture, Lipsy, Lyle & Scott, Prps, Vivienne Westwood, Wildfox
For 23 years the Dorset town known for its sandy beach has had the landmark retailer Richmond Classics looking after its fashion needs. At the helm of this premium womenswear and menswear indie is Keith McNicol, whose ideas-led approach to visual merchandising is key in making his three stores and website inspirational.
McNicol sources a mix of new and emerging brands, which he presents with a sense of wit and drama that puts far bigger shop-fitting budgets to shame. Witness his spin-off style consultancy, The Fashion Pharmacy, with pills printed on the wallpaper and repurposed medical paraphernalia (brands are listed on an eye chart), or the vending machines used to display folded product in his store.
“I’ve always gone out of my way to do things differently,” McNicol says. “Back when we opened Richmond Classics, we had an old-fashioned barber shop upstairs. We didn’t make any money out of it but people knew who we were. It’s about creating an impression. It’s a quirky, competitive edge.”
But it’s not just about bells and whistles for McNicol, who is a fixture on the trade show circuit and who is passionate about unearthing new brands.
“I’m not against a bit of commercialism but I’m not a commodity retailer,” he says, underlining the passion with which he scours the globe (quite literally) from LA to Berlin. “We always find something new,” he says. “We try to make the environment special and we enjoy doing it.”
There cannot be a better indie mantra.