Determining the top ten flagships of 2007 was an interesting task. First we had to decide what factors would be our bases for deciding who and what placement on the list. I mean opening a branded flagship isn’t easy, but itâ€™s not like itâ€™s rare. So how do you decide whose flagship is better than the next. We decided that we would look at what brands had made the most strategic decisions in plotting their locations and interiors. The goal was to see what brands actually steered the market they are involved in, shocked their peers, furthered expansion into unfamiliar territory, engaged their consumer, while emphasizing their brand direction, progression and integrity. With that in mind, here is the top ten list for branded flagships in 2007.
10. Flight Club
This year the successful NYC consignment shop made a major push towards expansion with proving that a consignment retail model could actually position itself into a multi-flagship retail outlet. While establishing a store in both L.A and Japan, what became newsworthy, was the decision to relocate from cool kid mecca, Prince Street to City Hall. The new store, though relatively the same formula, added significant square footage as well as painted black walls, which make the kicks on display all the more important. Although the stand out element has got to be the basketball court inspired hardwood floors. It’s like a modernized mom and pop sneaker shop.
09. Alexandre Herchcovitch
Some designers, it seems, get to do what ever they want. Like, Alexandre Herchcovitch, the Brazilian sensation, whose clothes are wildly adorn with bold, pop, African-centric patterns and colors. With the brands first store located outside Brazil, the designer positioned the store in Shibuya’s hip Daikanyama district and didn’t fail to make an impact in a neighborhood whose retailers tend to stick with the modern glass and steel formula.
The Japanese brand Swagger held up strong this year with the opening of a freestanding store in Tokyo’s hip Harajuku neighborhood. The brand, created by recording artist Big-O and Ignition Man was clearly a labor of love. Utilizing the brands direction towards both hip-hop and intricate attention to details, the flagship was created to resemble an actual recording studio. Outerwear is positioned next to speakers, while accessories lay above sound-monitors. That’s fashion to my ears.
The NYC brand has pioneered itself into a global brand. With flagships in NYC, Vancouver and Tokyo, the brand made headlines when it opened a flagship in L.A with little notice. The store was positioned amongst a few of L.A’s elite. The addition of Alife to the burgeoning Fairfax community only proved that Fairfax was indeed becoming a prime streetwear destination. The stores interior was also unique. Utilizing a gallery meets corner bodega glass set-up, the interior design proves cost effective and keeps consumers frustrated with the lack of touch, while holding the product up to art level critiques.
06. BBC / Ice Cream
Recently BBC/Ice Cream opened its third flagship in the `07 when it arrived in NYC. The store was once again designed by the Japanese design firm WonderWall, and further established the brands direction of playful luxury wears with limitless boundaries within the imagination. Made to resemble an ice cream shop on the first floor and a moon on the second floor, the store brings a mixture of high end and lowbrow design to an area that often takes itself to serious.
05. Kid Robot
The Kid Robot brand has grown from a two store retail concept into a fashion and vinyl empire. With the newest flagship located in Miami, Kid Robot has brought the vinyl craze to south beach. Marking new territory for any streetwear inspired brand, Kid Robot integrates the lifestyle of art and child like sensibilities with the sexy, thrilling resort destination.
As the sister brand to Swagger, Phenomenon definitely paved it’s own way in 2007, when it opened it’s first retail experience above the Swagger flagship. The brand played up on it luxury aesthetics with an interior that was anything but high end street. Black chandeliers, black lacquer china sets and a black hot pink gradient paint job along the walls creates a mysterious and aristocratic ambiance. Even the business card carries the gradient paint job. Talk about branding!
03. Crooks & Castles
Two-thousand and seven proved big for many brands, but few may have had as big a year as the Crooks. December marked the brands expansion into its first retail flagship. What may have been most surprising to those that follow the brand, was its decision to take its wears to Melrose Avenue. It was street meets chic. C&C didn’t disappoint when it came to the interior either. Boasting marble floors, sculptures and tons of square feet, the brand put a step into the direction street-wear may be headed when done right.
02. Apple Flagship
What can you say about Apple that isn’t spoken already. The brand is a wunderkind. Innovation after innovation, and nothing speaks louder than the decision to erect a multi level flagship on the corner of a district that is known for meat factories, as well as posh exclusive club venues, and indie designer fashion. It takes a company with great esteem to position themselves next to brands like Stella McCartney, Theory and the Ganesvoort Hotel and not feel like a tech company. That company is Apple Inc.
01.Nike ID Studio
OK, now this one is a bit misleading, but it’s the great Nike, and there is something to be said for actually closing the flagship, which once stood at Elizabeth Street in the Nolita district of NYC, to repositioning the flagship experience into an in-store experience. Many were taken back at the disappearance of the Nike ID store only to find out its new location was far removed from its prior home. Actually, it was a world away. As the store was taken from the artist and rebirth with the aristocrats on 59th Street and 5th Avenue â€“ that’s right, Nike realized it had reached its peak with the underground elite and moved shop to the mainstream. That means they downsized to reach a larger market. Great brands know when to say when!
Boasting throwback designs, loud graphics, and a great sense of color, Lemar & Dauley are one of the top streetwear brands in NYC at the moment.
See our interview with L&D here.