Fresh From The Field — Stolen Girlfriends Club Wellington Flagship Store – By Jasmax and Alt Group
Fresh from the Field is a weekly article series sharing the fresh and inspiring work of our Aotearoa New Zealand Design Assembly community.
A sculptural shaping of space, art, and contemporary fashion; Jasmax walk us through the retail concept for the new Stolen Girlfriend’s flagship store in Wellington.
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Stolen Girlfriends Club, the contemporary fashion brand known for its independent spirit, recently opened a new flagship store in Wellington. Located at 98 Victoria Street, the new store adds to the label’s two Auckland stores and fast-growing international audience.
The brief for Stolen Girlfriends Club’s Wellington flagship store was to develop a retail concept that captured the brand’s independent spirit and energy in built form.
The resulting space, designed by Jasmax and Alt Group, challenges the conventions of retail design with an ‘anti-retail’ stance that reflects the brand’s rebellious, rock and roll spirit.
The Design Response
On the well-known fashion corner (Victoria & Bond Streets), three ideas collide: the sculptural shaping of space, art, and contemporary fashion. It is also a three-part progression of colour – black, silver, and pink – punctuated with ideas about curated renewal and replenishment, and a commitment to finding special uses for utility-grade materials.
“The store concept runs counter to what you might expect in terms of retail attraction and conversion. It’s actually kind of ‘anti-retail’,” says Stolen Girlfriends Club Creative Director and Co-Founder Marc Moore. “I describe it as an inverted disco ball, purposefully pumping with light in the centre to draw in customers, while maintaining a sense of mystique from the street.”
Alt Group Creative Director Dean Poole says it is a “silver-lined capsule, one-part Warholian factory and one part Richard Serra–a Faraday cage with no cell phone reception.”
Jasmax Principal Jun Tsujimoto describes the sculpted interior with rippling walls of textural silver foil as, “a white noise and visual static stage for fashion that increases the prominence of products on display.”
Stolen Girlfriends Club’s collection release parties, which over time have achieved mythological status, were a key design driver.
“Tickets to these fashion shows are coveted,” Tsujimoto says. “They are very performative. There’s always an element of surprise. A tactical build-up of anticipation. This retail concept is also about amplifying anticipation into surprise while also, perhaps paradoxically, trying to slow down the shopping, viewing and fitting experience to provide a visceral and social experience.”
From the street, the 150sqm flagship store is hiding in plain sight. Resembling a blacked-out club, it materialises as void punctuated with slot apertures that reveal tightly prescribed interior views, making store renewal and replenishment a curatorial act. While store access is purposefully slowed down, anticipation conversely ramps up as you follow the 20m-long, blacked-out threshold that delivers you to the dramatic, amorphous silver space.
Inside, the bespoke display objects include blade-like shelves of stainless steel that cut through the curving walls, and a sinuous ceiling-mounted garment rail that wraps through the space. A visit to the oversized pink fitting rooms, one either side of an anteroom, reveals the third part of the spatial progression.
“The fitting rooms face into an anteroom as opposed to into the shop, which speaks to privacy as a form of luxury. You can remove yourself from the shop floor, and enter these beautiful pink rooms,” Tsujimoto says.
Poole suggests the fitting room colour is a tint of Baker Miller Pink, aka ‘drunk tank pink’–the colour of choice for police holding cells all over the world. It has a calming effect.
However, Tsujimoto prefers to describe the fitting rooms as like a “secret song at the end of an album”–a luxurious space designed for a comfortable and private fitting experience – the opposite of the online shopping experience people have become accustomed to over the past few years.
With its distinctive architectural language, sculptural shaping of space, and art-meets-fashion approach to product curation, Stolen Girlfriends Club is set to make a refreshingly unexpected retail statement in Wellington.
The Design Team
The Client Team
Stolen Girlfriends Club
Photography: Thomas Seear-Budd