Levi's is re-launching its UK Flagship store on Regent Street, providing Londoners and the capital's visitors with a complete brand experience at the ultimate jeanswear destination. A demonstration of craftsmanship and factory-inspired architectural design, the store is set to both inspire and engage customers as they are taken on a journey through the origins of denim and the brand's evolution whilst offering a unique and personalised way to buy jeanswear.
Having invented the jean in 1873, Levi's has continued to evolve and re-ignite the category throughout the decades. The brand's rich heritage, inventiveness and understanding sets Levi's apart from any other denim brand. The re-crafted flagship store is designed to demystify what makes one pair of Levi's distinctly different from another - and that of its competitors - whilst easing the buying process for customers.
The store is designed as a journey through an artisan's working environment and starts as you step off the street into a "courtyard," an area which is crafted to feel like an open, exhibition like space. With a whitewashed ceiling and reclaimed brick walls it provides a light and airy entrance to the store This transition space is called "Origin" and forms the opening 80sqm of the store. The space is reserved purely for curation of craft, and is designed to create a vibrant, engaging and creative experience of the world of Levi's, "Origin" will showcase everything from exclusive product collaborations to art exhibitions providing a level of intrigue and impact unique to fashion retailing. It serves to highlight new and innovative product whilst capturing the imagination and making a connection between youthful creativity and the workplace of the artisan, compelling visitors to explore further.
Through two sets of huge factory doors, visitors enter the main body of the store where latest collections will be displayed. There is a clean and industrial look and feel, reflective of a workshop or factory. It's deliberately purposeful and real, meaningfully designed to be robust and with function.
Furniture and fixtures are therefore designed to be simple, functional and flexible; this is a constantly changing and busy vibrant environment. It's where newness is brought to the fore and expressed. It's abundant with product, but also spacious and well defined.
The design of the central floor displays provide a contemporary execution of haberdasher's counter, yet the materials and method of construction: - a metal framework, with a cream stove enamelled finish and Georgian wired glass panels, provide an industrial twist.
More product is showcased on the lower level displays; here metal palettes, with stacked oak blocks give the feel of a factory loading bay. These palettes and blocks can be built into a range of matrices to create tiered displays. Supplemented with mannequins, which are used in abundance around the store, these displays tell key product stories along with oak and bonded glass display cases for accessories. Around the perimeter rolling racks and shelving display hanging and folded product, whilst seasonal campaign imagery and duck canvas frames presenting key products, punctuate the stockholding space at high level.
Along the left hand wall, running over the stairwell, is a bridge which carries a product gallery; this stove enamelled metal cowl panelling is inspired by textile inspection cabinets, and provides a canvas where seasonal and promotional product stories can be told.
A contemporary staircase leads down to the basement and features backlit glass risers with Levi's "XX" laser cut into each tread. The "XX" was the original mark representing the highest quality denim produced for Levi's by the Cone Mills factory - here it provides both a practical and textural detail.
Alongside the stairwell is the basement gallery wall exhibit. Spanning five metres, this display is inspired by glass fronted storage cabinets, and uses a repetition of components required in the creation of Levi's jeans.
From here visitors will come face to face with a genuine vintage product display. An original 201 Jean from the 1920's is displayed, securely encased in glass and set against a backdrop of tailor's patterns. These jeans are on loan from Levi's San Francisco archives and provide the ultimate reminder of the brand's distinguished longevity. The display also acts as a visual signpost to the adjacent Levi's Vintage Clothing collection.
At the end of an imposing five metre long cash desk that follows to the back of the store is the 501 Jeans warehouse. The warehouse is separated from the store by floor to ceiling glazing and has been designed with a mirrored back wall to give the impression of a seemingly never ending 501 Jeans vault. Here, customers will find a staggering 22 different washes of the original button fly jean, with the 501 Jeans table to the centre floor presenting the most popular in an easy to shop display.
The basement also houses the "Inspection Room" which instantly eases the jeans buying process. The area is split into zones allowing customers to shop by either fit or finish depending on the individual's preference. Key fits and finishes are displayed on tailor's forms and in illuminated stove enamelled inspection cabinets, with a simple letter and number navigation system taking customers to stock held in adjacent wall bays.
The "Inspection Room" is where a true sense of expertise, knowledge and inspiration can be found; customers can browse freely and self select or request the help of 'Artisans' who will be on hand to offer specialist advice about Levi's jeans.
To the front of the basement area is a staircase which spans the width of the store and leads up to the fitting rooms. The stairs also provide ample space for Levi's footwear range, which is simply displayed on oak blocks which follow the rhythmic pattern of the stair risers.
In the fitting rooms, walls are crafted with duck canvas, a reproduction of the original canvas used by Levi Strauss in the 19th Century. Changing room doors are scaled versions of the heavyweight industrial doors found at the entrance to the store, suggesting industrial purpose and quality. Alongside the fitting rooms a display of vintage weaver's shuttles pays a subtle homage to the brand's craft and roots.
Having created the first ever blue jean in 1873, Levi's has continued to develop and innovate the category and evidence of its substantial heritage is clearly evident in the store's detailing. The palette of materials throughout the store is robust and honest, and keeps to a minimum of elements, fulfilling both form and function. Each material in some way connects with the essence of a workplace. Included in the palette is brick, concrete, wood, wired glass and raw steel, together with pale indigo oak doors with purposeful hand-crafted door furniture and cream enamelled metals which were inspired by industrial sewing machines, ovens and dryers.
With this store Levi's is aiming to offer its customers the ultimate brand experience. It is visually captivating whilst providing expert knowledge, product offering and story telling.