Sometimes delving deep into a retail brand’s heritage can be the most effective way of creating something new when opening a store.
Lyle & Scott, the young fashion men’s knitwear label, has done this at its new store on Carnaby Street, which opened this month.
Referencing its Scottish Borders heritage in Hawick, design consultancy Brinkworth has created a pared-back interior that uses hardwood timber and black steel to give the impression of looms of the kind that would have been used when Lyle & Scott started.
Metal rods representing the loom’s woollen threads have been matched to the original Lyle & Scott tartan colour palette.
The rest of the shop, spread across two floors, has been simply stripped out, painted and left raw - in keeping with the industrial theme established by the loom installations, which are used as display vehicles around the store. To this, a graphics package has been added that raids the Lyle & Scott photography and advertising back-catalogue and is used at strategic points around the store.
Lyle & Scott is, in effect, repositioning itself through the use of what it already has and by opening a store in a high-profile fashion location. In doing so, it joins the likes of Fred Perry and Ben Sherman, which have used Carnaby Street, in part at least, to re-establish their relevance with the fashion crowd.
Many brands have a heritage that could be usefully deployed to win new shoppers (think Tesco’s 1960s store at the Goodwood Revival festival), but choose instead to run after the latest thing. The past, it has been said, is a foreign country, and for retailers it can be as novel as anything that might be just over the horizon.