According to the web, the sophisticated term ‘concept store’ is a place where new ideas are put together in a bid to enhance the shopper experience and sell a wider selection of goods to the client. What’s more, many concept stores offer ‘experimental’ elements such as a café or exhibition space, building a connection with shoppers seeking a particular lifestyle. Although that sounds quite exhaustive, concept stores are my favourite type of places, as you can truly explore and try out different smaller brands, rather than one established label – and all that under one roof. Here are the four concept store I’ve recently visited while staying in Antwerp and Berlin.
Damoy is Florence Cools’ world. Here, she curates and sells brand-treasures coming from Belgium, France, Sweden and Denmark that have a kind of modern-romantic knack. Among the racks at her second, newly opened boutique in Antwerp, you will find a local favourite knitwear brand, I Love Mr. Mittens, but also such Scandi-chic pearls as Cecilie Copenhagen. The interior – lovely, warm minimalism – is more than remarkable.
Steenhouwersvest 46 / Antwerp
I know and admire Graanmarkt 13 for years. At the end of a small old square, there it is: a large, cozy space called just like its address. Designed by Vincent Van Buysen, filled with natural light and eclectic furniture, we’ve got the most charming place in the whole Antwerp. The store lately had a transition moment, when they switched from such renowned brands like Marni and Isabel Marant into timeless and more niche ones like Lemaire or Sofie D’hoor. The aim was to stop being a victim of fashion industry’s pace of endless trends and collections, and to stay true to personal style and love for quality. While the store itself is already a fantastic place in its concept, Graanmarkt 13 is also a beautiful restaurant serving organic food (downstairs) and a far-fetched apartment for rent (top floor).
Graanmarkt 13 / Antwerp
In the heart of Kreuzberg district, Voo Store defines the word “cool“. The concept store – hidden in a former locksmith shop patio – is an industrial space selling brands like Raf Simons, J.W. Anderson, Acne Studios, but also a selection of Prada’s menswear collection. You can relax and read niche magazines, while taking a sip of delightful coffee from their Companion Coffee place located in the other part of the store.
Oranienstraße 24 / Berlin
The Corner is Berlin’s classic. Combined with installations coming from local artists and a book / beauty section, The Corner has every brands you will love this and the next season: Raf Simon’s Calvin Klein, Jacquemus, Balenciaga, Vetements and many, many more. But also, such ultimate favourites like Céline or Dries Van Noten. Just around the corner (no pun intended…) there’s their menswear shop, while near Kurfürstendamm you’ve got one more location, but smaller, with a more off-duty selection.
Französische Straße 40 / Berlin
Photos by Edward Kanarecki.