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Shopwatch: Not so Common place

Common People’s first store showcases the heritage brand’s Made in Britain collection in Edinburgh’s coolest area.

For its first store, British menswear heritage brand Common People has stayed true to its ethos of focusing on provenance, premium quality, craftsmanship and local sourcing to create a contemporary retail space with a distinct identity.

A Georgian townhouse in Stockbridge, the ‘mini Shoreditch’ of north Edinburgh, is the site for the store, which is arranged over a raised ground floor, covering 600 sq ft of retail space. The design studio for Common People, which is headed by Kestin Hare, formerly head designer for Nigel Cabourn, has been relocated to the building from elsewhere in the city. The shop’s neighbours include contemporary interior boutiques, barber shops, bistro pubs, cocktail bars, delis and Dick’s, a well-regarded menswear independent.

Edinburgh is Hare’s hometown and he explains why it was the right venue for this retail adventure. “I believe in this city. We already had our studio here and Stockbridge is really up and coming. Edinburgh as a whole is like London without the bad bits.”

Started as a footwear brand about five years ago, Common People has been under Hare’s direction as a clothing brand for more than two years. May Trading, whose factory in Bow, east London, produces much of the outerwear,
is a partner in the business. About 85% of the autumn 13 collection is made in the UK and this will rise to 95% for spring 14. Retail prices run from £65 for jersey, from £85 for shirts, from £95 for knitwear and from £120 for jackets.

Among the brand’s 14 UK stockists are Weavers Door in Liverpool, Accent in Leeds, Stuarts London and Cruise, a few miles away in central Edinburgh. Overseas customers include Isetan in Japan, Lane Crawford in Hong Kong and China, and Steve Alan in the US.

Common People’s signature style of modern heritage is reflected in the interior’s blend of vintage with clean lines.

Hare calls it “a minimal luxe feel with bold industrial features”. He designed the lighting units, which are made
from reclaimed army bed frames. An impressive salvaged stainless steel table is the centrepiece of the selling floor.

In keeping with its Made in Britain ethos, the company collaborated with local and UK-based firms to achieve its desired effect. The fabric for the fitting-room curtains and chairs is a 14oz waxed selvedge denim from Dundee-based Halley Stevenson, which provided cloth for Common People’s autumn 12 collection. The wireless till system runs through an iPad app called Ipos, which has been developed by Intelligent POS, a company based in nearby Leith.

This will play an important role in the future of multichannel retailing for Common People, creating a virtuous circle between online and its new fixed showcase.

Common People

46 St Stephen Street, Edinburgh, EH3 5AL

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