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Since its founding in 1970, London retailer Browns has become one of the best known and most respected stores in the UK. Its initial location - the flagship in Mayfair - was the first place in the UK to stock brands such as Calvin Klein and Jil Sander, and the store was influential in launching the careers of designers, such as Alexander McQueen and Christopher Kane.
After almost half a century in West London, the store has branched out and opened a new space in a converted East London printing factory. The brand selection needs to be different because the location is different, with different tastes, demographics and trends from the other side of London. "I just think you get a totally different mood around here," says Menswear Buying Director Dean Cook, "whereas the Mayfair one you get a lot of celebrities, footballers and regulars that have been coming to the business for 48 years, here it's a new type, it's a younger consumer that comes here
The design of Browns East was treated as a series of installations, by placing sculptural forms within the open nature of the space, with a delightful collection of materials, finishes and colour that adorn the overall concept. The space features an art gallery, a rotating cafe and an "Immersive Experience Room," which allows visitors to check in for a meditation session. Arguably the biggest change, though, is the use of augmented reality to change the retail experience.
Another feature of the store is its entrance, which functions as a separate gallery space for either branded or creative installations.The gallery theme continues throughout, with the staircase dedicated to displaying a carefully curated selection of artworks, all of which are available for purchase.
Similarly to the flagship, the new store Browns East features an enviable brand list with pieces from Off-White™, Balenciaga and Raf Simons taking pride of place on the shop floor. For this space, the buying team has also introduced some new brands such as Sacai and Yohji Yamaoto.
Presenting the world's top designers and the coolest next-gen brands in a gender-neutral space, Browns East is filling a gap that has been left as the area rapidly gentrified and became one of the capital's new centres.