Browns has recently opened up shop in East London, expanding its sights and making Shoreditch the new place to shop for luxury goods. The popular and somewhat historic shop is set to ruffle a few feathers in the east, offering Londoners that way a whole new host of designers and brands.
Browns has stood as one of the best places to shop in London since 1970, when it was founded and opened by Joan Burstein and her husband Sidney. In the beginning it was simply a small boutique, but with its success and popularity it quickly expanded and took over five of the Georgian townhouses on Molton Street, Mayfair.
At the time there were no multi-brand boutiques anywhere in London and so it was no surprise that it was a popular shopping spot. Browns became the first to introduce brands like Ralph Lauren and Calvin Klein to the UK, while Joan Burstein has also been praised as the person who discovered home grown talents such as John Galliano and Alexander McQueen.
Browns Fashion remained as a family business until 2015 when it passed into the ownership of Farfetch, although the family still remains very much involved, with Joan Bursting and her children standing as members of the chair. Farfetch allowed Browns to step its game up a notch when it came to E-commerce, using its own tech mastermind to elevate the already iconic brand.
The latest step for Browns is a new outpost, in the somewhat surprising territory of East London. For years Browns has resided in the west of the city, but this has now changed under the guidance of Net-A-Porter's Natalie Massanet.
The new store will stock many of the brands that Browns in Mayfair and Knighstbridge do, from Balenciaga and Off-White to Raf Simons and Gucci, as well as a whole of new names under the Browns namesake. Brands like Sacai and Yohji Yamamoto will only be stocked in East London, as buying director Dean Cook feels it is the place for brands like those to be sold and bought.
The store is going to embrace Browns' new movement into technology and the store will be wholly innovative. The space features an art gallery, a rotating cafe and an “Immersive Experience Room,” which allows visitors to check in for a meditation session.
The biggest and most exciting thing about the new store though is the use of augmented reality to change the retail experience. The store allows customers to use a new “Store of the Future” technology, which allows VIP visitors to view their potential purchase in different settings, as well as request new sizes to the changing room, see recommendations from stylists and sales advisors, and sync their digital wish list on their phones to the physical store. It is completely changing the way a retail space works.
The store's entrance will serve as an art gallery, where designers and creatives alike will be able to show off their work. The first instalment will be Travis Scott's Ksubi collection, with ten pieces on show and Browns standing as the only stockist of the collection in Europe. The staircase will also be an immersive art space, with art also available to purchase.
Wish List Rails
Farfetch founder José Neves has said that "retailers need a way to collect information about their customers while they are browsing in-store, just as they collect data from online searches. The Store of the Future aims at providing the in-store experience of the future by giving visibility to retailers on what is happening in the store. It’s the offline cookie that closes the loop, between a great online presence and a complete omni-channel offering and, finally, in-store technology which augments the experience of customers in store and overall."
The new wish list rails will allow users to digitally tell sales advisors what they, with a curated service awaiting them in store. This new tech will be an attempt to 'to re-establish Browns as the coolest boutique in the world', according to CEO Holli Rogers.
The new Browns store will be located at 21 Club Row, just off Redchurch Street in Shoreditch. It is in a former print factory and will give customers a first look at Browns' new Nomad Project.
On That Note
For years Browns has been the home of high end fashion, championing new designers and the best from overseas. Now, after linking up with Farfetch and dominating E-commerce, it is opening its first store outside West London, over in Shoreditch. It is a store like no other, holding an immersive experience for customers and taking the retail concept to another level - somewhere it has not been taken before.