Last week, one of our favourite stores re-opened the doors of their Spitalfields store and to put it simply, we're excited. They have re-imagined the concept of a traditional store and the result is a modern, immersive experience. We'll never look at high street shopping in the same way again.
The History of Belstaff
Adventure has always been at the heart of Belstaff - it's what we have always loved about the brand, so it was no surprise that this sentiment has now been extended to their physical stores. To fully understand the concept, you first have to look backwards...
Specialising in leather and waxed biking jackets, Belstaff was founded in 1924 and has become a true British institution. Their dedicated devotees speak volumes. Past collections include a capsule line by David Beckham and Belstaff x McLaren, a collaboration between the two iconic brands.
With roots in the industrial North, Belstaff's impeccable designs and craftsmanship have always sought to reflect the motorcycling spirit, harking back to the heyday of British biking in the 50s and 60s. And now their brand-new Spitalfields store has recreated the community spirit of the cafes where these bikers would congregate.
A Re-imagined Retail Experience
In their new store, an informal space has been carved out so customers can sit back, relax and enjoy a hot drink. All the while they're surrounded by clear nods to the brand's industrial origins - cabinets proudly displaying motorcycle trophies and walls covered in maps and photographs of true legends who were devoted to their jackets, including Che Guevara and Steve McQueen. Not to mention the beautiful locally-sourced furniture that fills the store... We've been dreaming of antique cabinets since our visit!
But it's not just the aesthetics that make this store a pioneer in retail. They've created tactile textile displays that encourage customers to touch and feel the materials before they buy. The store layout is fluid, with the men's and women's collections displayed together and a moving cash desk - all of which contributes to a relaxed and authentic shopping experience that we have desperately needed, but never realised it.
Paving the Way for the Future
Belstaff has already revealed that we can expect to see this concept rolled out to the rest of their stores and each will 'consciously reference the communities they serve'.
The fashion industry has long been desperate for an injection of life like this. We've started to see it on the catwalk, with Anya Hindmarch's immersive installation 'The Weave Project' at London Fashion Week. But Belstaff is leading the way for the high street. Their focus on what their community needs draws the customer into their story, whilst never abandoning what we know and love about the brand.
They describe their new imagining of the retail experience as 'a new adventure' and it certainly doesn't disappoint.