My favourite concept stores in 2014
As we are now in 2015, I am doing a retrospect on the places I appreciated shopping the most for different fashion.
Yes by that I mean, items not everyone will be seen sporting with a higher price tag than Zara, but most definitely a higher quality and that Oomph factor which can sometimes be seen lacking when it comes to the Spanish giant.
As most of you know, I’m regularly traveling around to see and find what clients want and dream.
I’ve been to many a place in 2014 and can only be grateful everything went smoothly and I got to meet great individuals who breathe and dream fashion.
Anyhow if, like me, you’re a bit difficult, want something edgy without being the 1000x twin of the girls on instagram, those are my favourite shops « concept stores » in Europe, Japan aannnd Seoul.
1. KURE Dansaert
Well I went there after looking for Anine Bing studded boots, I had been dreaming of these for a long time but I was definitely super scared to order from the US, you know the usual imma gonna pay my house rent on custom fees fright? Well thanks to Cyrielle (who’s a fab person trust me), I was able to get the boots I was totally lusting over (and the sandals too). The price was totally at par with the US price, what’s more? She’s got sick style (yes she does), so you kinda know that when you go there you’ll end up with good advice and fab items. The prices are much lower than your usual logo-ego trip (I can’t be hating cos I do love one of those trips every now and then). However it’s nice to wear something not a gazillion over-styled-‘grammers will wear. Although I do think they’re very successful. So i’ve ordered once, went to Brussels once, had a lovely waffle et all, drank beer and went shopping. I came back and realised I did not have everything I wanted so now, well I order online from here http://kure-eshop.com/.
This is what this lovely store looks like (thanks guys for the pics they’re much better than the ones I took).
The store is located in central brussels (www.sncb.be OR www.idbus.com if you’re on a budget) if you’re visiting europe i must tell you that Brussels is as much as London and or Paris, a must visit tag for fashion people. The prices are the same as Paris and there is less tourists, the shop owners are usually lovely and really want to make their stores stand out (which is not always the place in Paris where they simply don’t care). The customer service is beyond lovely, there is no word. It is different than London though, it’s a bit akin to italian SA’s, they really seem to care about their clients (empathy always works). In any case these are my ratings on the store
Pro: 9/10 (whether online or walking if you’re order the day after your package is on its way, even big french houses don’t go so fast)
Prices: 8/10 (it’s not upper fashion so don’t expect the prices of Chanel and the likes, it is more similar to Maje and Sandro, with a twist because no one else has it, great fashion at great prices can you do better?)
Sympathy: 9/10 (seriously when you visit, you just want to come back, again, and again, and again).
Variety of brands: 8/10 (they have many upcoming « not so big » designers who make great garments, a very nice selection in today’s minimalist trends). The list includes: Anine Bing, Chiara Ferragni (Ferragni seems to appreciate the store too so, pretty good thing right?), Samsoe Samsoe (my new scandi love), Margaux Lonnberg ( a favourite amongst french fashion lovers), and many more
Overal rating 8,5/10 (will definitely keep popping back).
Where to go: Dansaert Street 48 – 1000 Brussels (better to touch down at Central Station go for a quiet walk through the busy Brussels street and end up in the fashionable area of brussels, Dansaert Street).
2. Who’s who Gallery Kyoto
I went on honeymoon this year and decided that IF i was to hit Japan (country of many fashionista dreams at least for me), I had to own some of the coolitude japanese tourists demonstrate whenever they are in Paris. However I went to Tokyo and although I absolutely LOVED Dover Street Market i was left with a sour sweet taste in the mouth as most of what I WANTED, was sold out in nearly all the stores. Anyhow I did not think Kyoto would deliver, you know the whole Ginza/Shibuya dream thang. Whatever, as we were once again walking for literally AGES (and i thought i was going to collapse), I found my Oasis in the middle of arcades streets. Yes, they had water, nice smelly candles, lovely staff and that minimal thing of a concept store. I was wanting a crop top knit turtleneck and couldnt find it anywhere in Europe. Me the fashion-goer who’s got something new on her wishlist, every goddam day. Anyhow as i walked up and down the store (it is two storey high), i found around so many stuff that I wanted to purchase that I would have had to purchase a pack of new suitcases to come home (hubby said NAE), so i had to choose wisely (and i’m not renown to be wise, mostly crazy and unable to express myself when i’m overcome with fashion passion). After I had tried on nearly EVERY THING the store had, because I had to choose wisely remember? I finally picked up a hat, a trench (you know the ones that are all the rage right now waterfally-esque and black), a pair of shoes, jeans and a knit. I realised my hubby was looking in disbelief, I ended up taking the knit as it was far and foremost my one must have for japan (and a few stuff i’ll talk about later on and it’s not going to be glorious trust me).
I left thinking this meant revenge, or else a part II (or sequel as we call them). Well I soon realised when I came back that this store had a fab website and an even more fab … e-shop (http://www.whoswho-g.jp/ and the E shop is here -> http://www.palcloset.jp/shop/whoswhogallery/).
Pro: 8/10 (I don’t speak japanese so that’s why it’s an 8, because the salesgirl was just LOVELY, she was like a wee doll)
Prices: 7/10 (the prices were a bit high, but then again that’s Japan for you, the prices did not always reflect the quality of the clothing but the models were what I wanted)
Sympathy: 9/10 (they put up with me, unsure tourist that wanted to try on everything, nuff said).
Variety of brands: 7/10 (it’s not really a brand thing nor a designer thing, it’s really a model thing, the items they sell have flawless cut I thing, the variety may not be huge though cos everything was labelled who’s who).
Overal rating 7,5/10 (will definitely be thinking whether to order online but i’m a bit scared of customs and all).
Where to go: Yongle Town, address 225 down Kyoto Chukyo-ku Teramachi (best to look and check on google maps i found the store by surprise).
3. Aland Hongdae Branch Seoul
As my husband and I were staying in student-y packed Hongdae (I was being snobbed though, I found the youth to be a bit too trendy wombly), we passed by this use thing that looked like an alien in the middle of rich students’ hood. Obviously I was drawn to it. I really enjoyed all the items proposed there, the prices were MAD for the items they were selling (and good quality too), however the electronic music which made it look like a dancefloor really got me turn nasty. I suppose it’s age, although I do think it’s probably a taste thing. I simply HATE electronic music. Yes you read me right. I am a former Rough Trade Brick Lane London recruit. Obviously such lame music really made me pest (and you should have seen me OH MY GOD THAT’S BEAUTIFULLLLL, oh GOSH I HATE THAT GODDAM MUSIC). It was very much like Larry David with a love of frock.
I ended up not buying a thing, but regretting it, but the sound, man.. the sound. Where’s rock’n’roll? I’m a rock girl. My dad used to hang with Jimmy Page, I used to hang out in the same pub as Kate Moss, I spoke for a brief moment with Stella McCartney at Glasto… no seriously THIS WAS NOT IT. Anyway, let’s get back to fashion. If you can afford losing your ears in favor of making your eyes happy, then Aland is the place to go shopping in Seoul. The brands are super cheap, the quality is pretty good and the diversity is simply astounding. It’s a bit of a shame though that koreans act in such a rude manner. I am korean don’t get me wrong, but I guess I simply cannot buy the whole you’re ugly and fat don’t buy in my store thing. It’s probably best to go online shopping at Aland (http://www.a-land.co.kr/shop/)
Pro: 5/10 (mostly young students working there)
Prices: 9/10 (the prices were so low for such sleek designs)
Sympathy: 3/10 (definitely not friendly, korea needs to learn something called « customer care » if you tell clients they’re fat and ugly no one’s going to come back).
Variety of brands: 9/10 (there really is a lot of choices).
Overal rating 5/10 (if it wasn’t for the prices, quality and variety of clothing I would say run, however if you can snob them even more than they do then go for it, e-shopping probably yes, but just the music, the horrible SA’s that you look you up and down like they’re the best thing since sliced bread… next).
Where to go: 서울 마포구 서교동 357-4 (best to look and check on google maps i found the store by surprise).
4 and 5. Dover Street Market London and Ginza
How could I not talk about those stores? they simply are some of the first ones that ever existed. The hipster chic at the highest and to me so much sweeter than Paris Colette. Why? Because there are more « simple » brands. For example in Ginza i found all the Comme des Garçons play shirts. Now if only it had not been the ones i already had (especially since they simply refused to sell me anything at CDG Kyoto… must write the store a note that was simply shocking). Anyway, DSM was just lovely. Such a beautiful store and the salespeople were beautiful. I must also point out that CDG is half the price in Japan as it is in Europe (yes plenty crazy), they had a lof oa cool contemporary lines but for me CDG was really the point of it.
London is very cool too, however too crowded (everytime I tried it was fully packed), so it’s a bit hard, however the store is really easy to find online.
In the meantime i’m presenting you DSM Ginza
Pro: 7/10 (a lot of young wokers who sometimes don’t have the experience in sizing as elder salespeople)
Prices: 7/10 (quite pricey but you know they’re classic and hip at the same time, difficult right?)
Sympathy: 7/10 (definitely better than Aland, but not at par with WWG).
Variety of brands: 7/10 (there is a choice yes but it’s hipster choice).
Overal rating 7/10 (i’d come back again just for that CDG shirt i want, now i probably don’t wanna go back to a proper CDG store).
Where to go: 6-9-5 Ginza, Chuo, Tokyo 104-0061, Japon (hop off on the yellow line stop ginza).