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Brief Published: 13 Aug 2013

Shinola Store Champions Americana, NY


Detroit-based brand Shinola is flying the flag for American industry at its newly opened flagship in Tribeca, New York, joining the growing ranks of US retailers promoting homegrown production.

Named after a defunct US shoe polish brand, the high-end watch, bicycle and accessories manufacturer launched in spring 2013 with the aim of promoting traditional US industry and goods. The brand’s patriotic values feed into a wider cultural shift that Stylus has explored in The New Americana, Post 42 and Wal-Mart’s US Initiatives.

Exposed brickwork, wooden worktables and salvaged vintage memorabilia give the new flagship (Shinola’s second store) a stark, industrial aesthetic. The chief inspiration was the iconic, minimal library of US artist Donald Judd in Marfa, Texas.

Wares by like-minded US brands such as Detroit Denim jeans and bottle openers by New York-based Fort Standard are curated alongside Shinola’s own products in an eclectic, no-frills display that’s reminiscent of an antiques market.

The store is also positioned as a hybrid community hub (rather than simply a selling space) thanks to a front-of-house café and newsstand both provided by New York restaurant The Smile. Stylus further explores the rise in lifestyle brands making hospitality an integral part of the shop floor in Retailer-Restaurants.

Meanwhile, Shinola’s website takes the theme of craftsmanship and industry further via a live feed of watches being assembled in the workshop and videos of its skilled workers making products both in Detroit and in partner companies around the US. For more on placing the act of making at the centre of the retail experience, see Show & Tell Retail: Revealing the Product Journey.

Finally, for another example of a multi-purpose New York retail space proudly purveying American heritage and an industrial aesthetic, see The Invisible Dog.