Element Shop Soaks Up Skate Culture
Echoing the cultural kudos being emphasised by urban sports labels such as American footwear brand Vans, US skatewear brand Element has opened a flagship in Covent Garden, London – its first standalone destination in the UK. Spanning three floors, the retail space will also serve as a platform for artists and musicians (local and international) in a bid to communicate the brand's wider cultural influences.
Located in the fashionable Seven Dials shopping area, the 2,800 sq ft space boasts a street-art-inspired interior furnished with industrial and repurposed display elements. These include wooden trestle tables and wire mesh storage cases, as well as brick walls adorned with graffiti.
The lower ground floor – dubbed the Element Basement – is dedicated to the brand's line of skateboards, and features a small DJ area and video screens showing brand-related content.
The main focal point, however, is a real tree trunk that pierces through all three floors. According the brand, it was conceived to visually signify Element's heritage and ongoing growth. For more on brands embracing their cultural heritage to communicate brand values, see Monetising Brand Heritage.
To celebrate the opening, Element founder Johnny Schillereff invited French skateboarder and musician Bastien Duverdier to perform a live guitar set in the window of the store with US pro skateboarder Ray Barbee. Adding a further cultural spin, California-based skate photographer Brian Gaberman unveiled his photo series, Road to Wolfeboro – a project that accompanies the brand's A/W 14 Wolfeboro jacket collection, inspired by a small, rural town in New Hampshire, US, of the same name. For more on the value of brand-artist collaborations, see Art-Fuelled Fashion Spaces. For more on the value of music-infused retail concepts, see Music Meets Retail.
For further information on using local talent as an ambassadorial mouthpiece for your brand, see New Brand Ambassadors and Specialise to Survive in our Future of the Store Industry Trend. For more on hybrid retail concepts that are just as attuned to lifestyle as product, look out for our upcoming report Hybrid Lifestyle Destinations, publishing January 16.