London based concept store LN-CC mixes emerging and established labels in new and exciting ways. A unique combination of womenswear and menswear makes for unisex shopping, and the appointment only store strives to push the boundaries of the retail experience. Taking a tour through the wooden architecture, Vauxhall Fashion Scout interview the people behind the concept…
What is the concept behind LN-CC, and where did the idea come from?
The concept behind LN-CC is basically to mix classical, directional European designers, with new wave brands and Japanese labels. We are very happy and proud to be working with these brands. We try to acquire more and more brands, to ensure we keep on being relevant, gathering good quality products. We constantly need to be moving forward and keeping ahead of new or emerging labels.
What benefits have you seen from having the concept store in addition to the website?
LN-CC is about a space, where the customer can get to meet the people behind LN-CC. We were looking to push fashion boundaries, and twist the shopping experience. The progression of architecture, fashion, lighting and illustration. Enriching and combining both the online and physical experience.
LN-CC stocks a number of emerging designers, some of which have shown with Vauxhall Fashion Scout, how important is it that you support emerging designers as well as more established labels?
Mixing, mixing, it is all about mixing well-known designers, with new ones. It is very much about the style. Europe is very open to the mixing of different brands. It is about having your eyes open, taking in what happens around you, to see what is new and what is worth supporting.
We are constantly out there looking for new designers, approaching them. We always look at Central Saint Martins´ new graduates, as we can’t forget that we are a London based store. We look at their graduate collections and we see if there is something we can work happily with. For example, Vauxhall Fashion Scout’s Tze Goh just launched his S/S collection.
Do you think there is an emerging trend for boutiques that support up and coming designers?
Yes there is, but it depends on who owns the store. We actually make a bigger profit out of our online store, but we wanted to create the LN-CC experience. It is one-on-one service, we want to explain people who we are, to let them feel welcome, and give them personal treatment, something that is getting lost nowadays. So I think the trend is about the experience and the treatment to the customer, as well as the freshness and unusual concepts that new designers can offer.
How do you select the designers or labels you are selling?
John Skelton, is our creative director, and is who finds the new labels. We do not follow trade shows, like Paris or Milan, which are big shows where everybody goes. We find them through friends, or in the most random places around the world. For example John went to Japan to see a designer who introduced him to a friend that was also a designer, and this is how we discover new talent - through building relationships. As well as being aware of what is fresh and new.
How can young designers grab your attention and what do you look for in a new label?
Pushing boundaries, not standing still. By captivating the movement of fashion: creating and reinventing and modifying. Not being plain and simple, it is about being able to relate to that product in a strong way that makes you want to invest in it. It is about being progressive.
We have to fall in love, that is the way to grab our attention, push the boundaries and captivate the movement.
How do you develop the relationship with the designers?
Through John. He has a great background in creating relationships out of business and creating relationships that work together. He approaches the designers he has been interested in and develops a personal relationship or collaboration rather than just a business approach.
What kind of items are best sellers? Why?
At the moment Margiela has a huge following, both online and in-store. They have struck the right balance of avant garde design.
Both footwear and clothing are doing really well. Because our products are not usual, they have been curated and specially selected - people like this and like to buy what is new.
Who would you say is the LN-CC customer?
Someone open to creativity. Someone that really did not expect what they found inside which is something that not many people know about, discovering something hidden. Like the shop itself, the store is in Dalston, in the basement of a building, and our customer enjoys discovering the unexpected about the designers inside, as well as the space.
What is in the store for the future of LN-CC?
At the moment, everything centred around LN-CC, from our offices to our photography studio, happens in-store. We are planning to open a new conceptual space, with a new concept by the end of the year, and we are looking for new designers. As well, there will be the opening of our garage space which will become our very own party venue.
Dalston and LN-CC, LN-CC and Dalston, it is an up and coming area for a designer boutique. Any suggestions about things to do in the area?
It’s a great area, with great places to go and hang out, surrounded by young people with different backgrounds. For example Daslton Superstore is a great place to go after work. We all live within 5 minutes from here, so we are Dalston based now. And the whole area is great to discover, just like LN-CC.
Interview by Juan Mora Yanes