founded in 2012 by retail veterans matthew murphy and kirk beattie [pictured above], the duo behind former design shrine - bstore, other/shop has established itself as one of london's more ecclectic destinations for contemporary fashion, design and art. located on a semi clandestine enclave in soho, the store maintains a sense of originality in the fast paced surrounding retail arena of regent and oxford streets. the other/shop ethos is firmly rooted in providing an original blend of designers from a variety of creative walks - with a strong leaning toward individuality over current trends. we caught up with matt to talk shop, creative expansion, the launch of other independent brand, and of course, where to get good fish and chips in the british capital.
can you tell us a bit about both your and kirk's background and the evolution of other/shop? kirk and myself have 25 years experience within all areas of the fashion industry and were previously creative directors of bstore, which evolved to become other/shop. other was born out of our desire to be independent and our vision was based around our own brand with a selection of various creatives' work from both fashion and art. the aim has always been to provide a personal selection of brands that inspire us and we felt would in turn, inspire our consumer. and of course to support and nurture new talent and offer a view that was more individual.
how do you go about selecting the designers the store carries and the people you collaborate with? any new brand, collaboration and installation have to add something new. we generally select a designer or brand to collaborate with that we feel will inspire our consumer and extend our community. we have a very personal mix of designers, so once you enter the other/shop environment, whether physically or online, they relate with the common link being taste, not trend.
who is the other/shop customer and what’s their story? the other/shop customer is confident and individual, they like to wear clothes not fashion. they take their inspiration from many different cultural references and enjoy the experiences that they lead to.
you chose to set up shop in soho, what sets the area apart from other districts in london? it's the most central part of an ever expanding city and for me personally it has always been the ‘heart’ of london. it has a life and energy that is incomparable to any other city. the characters that reside here, and the institutions that have seen different artists, musicians and icons pass through their doors, are still alive and welcoming the next generation - constantly reinventing soho.
with london's retail landscape booming, we're seeing an influx of foreign brands flooding the market. what’s your view on this? we welcome any brand, retailer or restaurant, it adds colour and diversity to the city and reinforces london's reputation as one of the best shopping destinations to visit. our only concern is that london maintains space for new concepts and brands to survive.
do you plan on opening more brick and mortar stores into the future, or will the focus be online? the strategy is to focus on brand and store awareness through our site and with presence in a small selection of international high level stores. we have started working with dover street market and have an other/man corner in their london store, a presence in ginza [tokyo] and also in new york. our selected brand expansion would be to use the relationship with dover street market as a platform to partner with other like-minded retailers. although our vision is to keep other/shop unique and fresh, which we feel means only one physical store, in the future we would love to open other/space. it would be an ever evolving space that can house the installations, pop-ups and collaborations on a bigger scale.
tell us a bit about your in-house brand - other - how many seasons have you released so far and what is its dna? other/collection launched on a small scale for in store only in september 2012 but the full collection official brand launch is ss15 with a capsule aw14 collection online and in store now [some images below]. the concept was to create a desirable, timeless and wearable staple collection with an androgynous look. the key focus of the collection is to complement both the mix of designers we stock and our consumers wardrobes. it will continue to evolve with signature styles and key seasonal product, when our customer needs it.
other s/s 2015 launches soon, can you tell us a bit about the new collection? for s/s 2015 we took inspiration from the photography of jackie nickerson, particularly her body of work entitled farm, which was a photographic study of farm workers in south africa. we took direct influence from the way the workers dressed and the way their clothes were adapted for the job in hand but had a close connection between the aesthetic and the practical. we felt that this was similar utilitarian and ‘everyday’ ethos to how we wanted the other/collection wearer to enjoy their clothes. fabrics are always important to our design process and we worked with british and italian mills on creating durable fabrics with luxury elements. silk and linen mixes for menswear, crushed, washed and technical silk and cottons for women’s, all in muted hues of blue, grey and whites. we then added an injection of colour and fun with a commissioned hand drawn polka print by artist saskia pommeroy.
can you give us a few recommendations? what are your local haunts and where should we be when in london? i have lived in south east london with my wife and daughter for 14 years and we are big fans of this virtually untapped part of town. this said, peckham has become my new destination of choice and there are some great new places to eat, drink and hangout. some favorite haunts are maddy’s fish bar in new cross, a japanese influenced english fish and chip shop, great fish in dill and tempura batter. south london gallery in between peckham and camberwell, great exhibitions, art bookshop and fantastic café/restaurant called No.67. brockley food market every saturday morning has become a bit of a hang out and serves great coffee from local roasters dark fluid. finally for a boozy late night and a very good cocktail three, eight, four on cold harbour lane in brixton is just the ticket. their very own recipe negroni and tabasco sauce popcorn are well worth the hangover.
other/shop is located at 21 kingly street london W1B 5QA uk.