In September, we were invited down to Manchester‘s infamous ‘Northern Quarter‘ to celebrate the launch of Bench‘s new concept store. Blurring the lines which define a traditional retail store, Bench is encouraging collaborative community projects. Check out the photo story after the cut.
follow DEREK on twitter
I must tip my hat to the folk at Bench, its refreshing to experience something different to the cliche London store opening we have all been accustomed to. Located in the heart of the city’s Music, Fashion and Nightlife scene, the launch of the store ties in with the Self Made campaign – “A celebration of people who don’t take no for an answer and in doing so change the face of the city they live in”. A self made success in its own right, Bench grew up with Manchester 23 years ago and the launch of the NQ concept store seeks to give back to the city and community that nurtured them. The ground floor which holds the AW12 Menswear and Womenswear collection is a large open plan space with industrial fixtures
recycled rescued from their old store. The concept store also houses exclusive content previously unavailable in the UK alongside a range of limited edition lines and collaboration products.
The basement housed the Self Made Gallery – A free working environment for Manchester’s creative community showcasing work from talented young people from jewellery designers to bike builders.
Bench plans to evolve and combines many of the elements from the NQ store to their pop-up stores in NYC, Berlin etc. The trends in retail show major brands pushing the traditional concepts of a store, with the retail experience constantly evolving, who knows what Bench will embrace next.
An overlooked fact – The concept store a collective of ideas from all departments, the community and they even worked with the original shop fitters who helped design the store in 1998. Why fix something that isn’t broken.
Parallel to the store’s minimalist approach, Bench was really appealing to those with an eye for detail. I was constantly inspecting the pieces for their subtle branding.
The anatomy of a Bench bag
Mentoring the next generation of creatives and visionaries. All brands should strive to achieve this