If anywhere can brighten shoppers’ moods, it is this footwear brand’s debut UK store on Carnaby Street
The new Irregular Choice store on London’s Carnaby Street is a surreal fantasy land. Scribed on the wall parallel to the till desk in huge black italic lettering is the message ‘Capture your freedom that eloped with your youth’, and the design of the footwear store is geared towards taking the shopper on that journey. It is time to leave the recession at the door.
White shelving flanks the single-floor store’s long, narrow interior, throughout which Irregular Choice’s quirky own-label footwear is presented. Royal blue space-age wedges and red and white zigzag print shoe boots sit alongside retro-inspired suede courts and polka dot Mary Janes in this sweet shop-inspired boutique.
Walls are painted with unicorns and teddy bears or covered with mirrored tiles, while bright Rubik’s Cube-esque floor tiles punctuate the 850sq ft floor. A giant disco ball hangs next to a powerful speaker pumping out an electro soundtrack.
The entire back wall is dominated by a huge mirror, in which shoppers can get a full view of themselves in their chosen footwear. The area around the mirror is free of any furniture, creating the illusion of space and allowing shoppers unrestricted movement to walk in and inspect their potential new purchase. A thick, patterned carpet has an outer-space theme, while for those needing to take a break there is a waiting area with red quilted leather seats.
Brighton-based brand Irregular Choice was set up by owner Danny Sullivan in 1999 and made its first foray into retail in 2007 with a standalone store on New York’s
Lafayette Street. The Carnaby Street store is the brand’s first in the UK.
“We tried to do something different to make the store stand out against the average high street,” says Sullivan. He admits that shoppers will be more cautious with their spend this year, but if anything can get them spending, he believes it will be the upbeat and escapist atmosphere in store, which sets out to shut retail doom and gloom outside.
“People are going to be more careful with their money. They can’t afford computers or cars but they can come out and buy a pair of shoes and take a bit of this energy home with them,” he says, glancing around the store.
Alongside the range of daring women’s footwear is a collection of accessories including bags and the brand’s popular men’s range, which launched in 2004 and
now features gold lace-ups and patent lace-up boots.
“Shopping doesn’t have to be restricted and limited. Just because times are hard it doesn’t mean you have to conform, you can still have creativity. With all the talk of recession, people want to have some escapism and a feel-good factor,” Sullivan adds.
With Irregular Choice in talks to open further stores in Sydney in Australia and Tokyo in Japan, Sullivan is hoping to take Irregular Choice’s feel-good factor global.
Irregular Choice 39 Carnaby Street, London W1
- 553 Number of styles sold in store
- £66 Average transaction value
- 5,114 Number of mirrored tiles on the walls