Cobblers! Well, lasts to be more precise. Ever since Levi’s deployed used versions of these as part of its visual merchandising in the Regent Street flagship, they have been appearing in more fashion forward stores to lend a note of ‘authenticity’ to an interior.
In this respect the new Dr Martens store in Westfield Stratford City is little different from many others. But what it has done here is to take coloured, instead of natural, wooden lasts and then put them on black flexible stems that sprout from the walls. This occupies the majority of the whitewashed brick wall at the back of the shop, creating a mix of nostalgia and modernity.
Dr Martens seems to be playing the heritage card in its stores globally at the moment, with the shop that opened just before Christmas in New York’s SoHo standing as a shining example of this. This store is different, however, in that it’s located in a shopping centre rather than a historic downtown setting, and the brand has risen to the challenge of creating an environment that takes you away from the mall’s ultra modern public areas and into a store that transports you back to the days when punks were punks and nothing else mattered.
On a more down-to-earth note, what Dr Martens has managed to do is fashion an interior where the store equipment is for the most part brand new, but that appeals on a retro level. Not an easy trick to pull off at the best of times, but in the environs offered at Stratford City something of a feat, and with the rich seam of retail novelty that is currently to be mined at the centre, this is a semi-precious jewel.
It also has the merit of being an easily transported quasi-modular fit-out meaning that we can expect to see this replicated elsewhere.