When searching for cutting edge labels such as Rick Owens, one does not simply strut to Brick Lane – widely known as one of London’s vintage mecca – yet this is where a small gem of a store is found; an avant garde oasis amidst the array of grandpa sweaters and leather brogues. The white shop entrance and windows, void of any signage, presents a stark contrast against the rustic environment that is Brick Lane. Hardly anyone can miss its Gareth Pugh wares currently displayed by the window, regardless whether you’re aware of who he is. There is no shop sign except for a discreet 127 on its door panel, thus calling itself 127.Brick Lane.
I sat down with Nina Walbecq, the stylish lady clad in thigh high Rick boots to dig out the story behind the store. Founded by two fashion insiders, Fabrizia Baldelli and Elisa Pensa, the former running another high end boutique Tricot in Rome and the latter working with Yohji Yamamoto, it is no wonder that the buys in the store are strong. I was surrounded by my favourite runway pieces from cutting edge fashion darlings such as Rick Owens, Maison Martin Margiela, and most recently, Gareth Pugh. Purveyors of elusive pieces of yesteryear might be delighted to find their secret stash of deadstock Margielas while fans of independent designers would not be disappointed with the myriad of jewellery selection. However, things did not start out that way. “We opened our doors five years ago, but as an outlet for past-season Balenciaga, Ann Demeulemeester and Helmut Lang,” said Nina, “which Fabrizia and Elisa obtained through their personal networks”.
When asked if they have plans to dabble with e-commerce, Nina responded with a straight no. ‘We want to inject life to catwalk pieces you see in magazines and internet,’ injected Nina. As the interview progressed, I could feel a sense of pride shared by everyone involved in being able to deliver a personalized service, especially when others have gone great lengths to be commercial.
As I was leaving the store, I couldn’t help but to take one last glance at the Rick Owens boots I’d tried on earlier. 127.Brick Lane is one of the very few stores that makes me disregard all that is said about materialism, and hoard as much as my resources allow me to.
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