Home Fashion products Why our style-driven local concept stores are so good

Why our style-driven local concept stores are so good


Uber-luxury Auckland emporium Faradays will present works of art from a true gallery: Gow Langsford.

Faradays / Supplied

Uber-luxury Auckland emporium Faradays will present works of art from a true gallery: Gow Langsford.

Variety is the spice of life and a joyful shopping experience at various local concept stores, says Samantha Murray Greenway.

I call them fashion accessories: those purchases made when you walk into a store looking for clothes but come out with something completely unexpected.

Recently I bought a blown glass incense holder (gift for a friend), a white rubberized alarm clock (gift for my son) and a wooden dish brush (just because), while stalking some navy pants in smart local shops.

Style-centric concept stores with a range of themed items are nothing new. Colette in Paris may have closed almost five years ago, but it retains a place in fashion folklore as the crème de la crème. Above a crazy basement water bar featuring 73 different types of water, they sold an inspiring mix of high fashion, music, toys and art and collaborated with everyone, d ‘Ikea ​​at Chanel.

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In New Zealand some 30 years ago, World added quirky trinkets and cult beauty products to its own irreverent fashion brand. Still going strong, today you can buy silver sequin pants or a giant corn cob shaped stool.

Our concept shops are impressively concentrated. In their most rarefied form, some look like art installations. Auckland’s Simon James leaves plenty of room for the understated balance between fashion and coveted items on display: New Zealand exclusives by designer Emilia Wickstead, oversized brass vases by Tom Dixon, and precious jewelry by Jessica McCormack.

At NG Space in Christchurch, among the selected fashion imports and local brands are wooden hair combs and porcelain sculptures that wouldn’t look out of place in a gallery.

On another level, the hyper-luxury Auckland emporium Faradays will present works of art from a true gallery: Gow Langsford. Soon to be opened with a florist and a wine bar on site (alongside luxury brands such as Loewe, La Perla and Alaïa), it is resolutely aimed at the top of the style spectrum.

The rich mix of Slow in Queenstown has a folded interior: you can sip a latte from the store’s cafe, browse wallpapers, choose designer lighting, invest in a chic new raincoat or sofa. A bit like flipping through the pages of a magazine, it’s immediate and inspiring.

“A relaxed artistic experience for the discerning consumer,” is how they describe a visit to Auckland’s fashion-focused store, The Shelter. The latest MM6 Maison Margiela scalloped sneakers are sold alongside sustainably produced dog toys and cruelty-free nail polish.

But not all concept stores are temples of the elite. Karangahape Rd’s Crushes sells vintage clothing and celebrates New Zealand made products that ‘don’t break the bank’.

When the theme is clear, the concept is compelling. Co-Founder Claudia Zinzan describes Father Rabbit Select as having “All the clothes, housewares and beauty products you are looking for on a daily basis.”

It’s like a sleek mini department store that offers products for a clean lifestyle.

An injection of housewares into the fashion at Fabric has been a response to the time we spend at home, says co-owner Jacki Bresic: “Your home is just as much a reflection of your personal style as it is your wardrobe.” So now you can extend your chic look with Assouline table books, Native Union smart phone chargers and jewelry-toned decanters from Maison Balzac.

The perfect antidote to chain stores that sell uniformity, these small-scale specialty stores bring variety and joy. I may not have found my navy pants yet, but I had fun trying on.