A Visit to Hostem.
Just last week I bemoaned the lack of truly exciting menswear stores in the capital. I have said countless times that I can count the number of well stocked stores on one hand but there have been a few recent additions that are forcing me to impugn my previous statement. The unveiling of Hostem on Redchurch Street over the summer justifiably caused ripples of excitement throughout the industry. Proprietor James Brown sought to marry his favorite, though often disparate, sartorial aesthetics under one roof. Formerly an arts industrial space, Hostem has been transformed by at the hands of Jamesplumb and now revels in the play between rustic and luxury, housing vintage US trouble lighting and a reclaimed leaf covered pew among the high-end designer goods. The result is three individual rooms, devoted to luxury streetwear, avant garde design and an ever evolving space for visiting designers aim to showcase a world of menswear design talent. A few months on since the launch and as a mouth watering selection of stock begins to hit the shop floor we decided to sit down with the young proprietor to talk shop.
Happy tension between brands.
SS: What were the inspirations, dreams and the driving catalyst behind Hostem?
James Brown: Hostem was born out of the frustration on one set identify being set on the consumer. So many different cultures and experiences have influenced me and I wanted Hostem to reflect that. It was important to create a "happy tension" between brands that you wouldn't necessarily expect to find under the same roof.
There is great team involved in the project and everyone has brought something to the table which has been integral to the birth of Hostem. Darren Rudland who was formally of Jones is the Store Manager and his experience has been invaluable along with Alex Wysman who was the former assistant GM of Dover Street Market was another key reason for the store happening as I felt it was vital to have someone of his calibre on board and finally Mark Quinn who has been a big driving force behind the incredible press the store has received and also my closest confidante from the start of this venture almost two years ago.
It is great to see the likes of Mastermind in store.
SS: What does Hostem mean to you?
James Brown: Hostem is ultimately somewhere I can showcase and support the brands and projects I believe in. It was something first and for most for myself and if others like and respond to it then this is great.
The rail that will leave your heart all a flutter...Adam Kimmel and Casely-Hayford
SS: What attracted you to Redchruch Street for your bricks and mortar menswear destination?
James Brown: Hostem was two years in the making. London's independent retail offer had felt stale for a long time & especially the Westend. We looked everywhere from Mayfair to Dalston but when the opportunity came up to open on Redchurch Street we didn't think twice. There is something very special about the area at the moment. The resurgence and regeneration that is currently happening is phenomenal and it’s great to see independents at the forefront of this process such as, Labour and Wait, Radio and Aesop.
Leather lace-ups from Damir Doma. The design features two waxed lacing systems, a premium leather upper in an all black colorway, finished with white leather lining.
SS: Talk us through the evolution of the store.
James Brown: The store had a very organic birth, I knew the brands I wanted to represent but had know set ideas on the interior or aesthetic until Mark said I should meet with Hannah and James of JAMESPLUMB whom he had chanced upon. The minute I met with them at their home in Stockwell I knew instinctively the interior of the store lay in their hands. I had an instant connection with the duo and we never disagreed once through out the entire 3 month project. We all agreed we wanted to create a warm and inviting feeling in the space from the original reclaimed Victorian floorboards, the hand painted hessian and 'antique' furniture was all sourced from reclamation specialists, antique markets and local stores and this was most definitely achieved. The main floor houses the more avant-garde, artisan and high fashion labels such as Ann Demeulemeester, Rick Owens, Damir Doma, MA+ and Boris Bidjan Saberi. The basement which is due to open shortly will have a completely different feel and vibe and definitely not what you would expect from a JAMESPLUMB interior. This space will carry the more streetwear/workwear labels such as Visvim, Adam Kimmel, S.N.S Herning along with several brands that have not been available outside of Japan before that will be exclusive to Hostem will arriving just before Xmas. The third room of Hostem's ground floor will be an ever evolving space where visiting designers will take up residence. The first being the infamous Dr. Romanelli and his Prescription Shoppe which will open in November, 2010.
Beautiful bags by Bedouin juxtaposed with the sights of Redchurch Street.
SS: How have the last few months been for you?
James Brown: The reaction has exceeded all expectations from customers, industry and press. JAMESPLUMB have created something very special with the interior which I will be for ever indebted for. The response to the brand mix has been fantastic as well. I couldn't be happier.
SS: With an exciting array of design talent soon to hang on the rails, can you talk us through your AW10 offering?
James Brown: AW/10 is the first full season for Hostem and we are all very excited with selection of brands adorning the rails. There are many key labels for us this season ranging from Visvim, Adam Kimmel and Casley-Hayford of which the later we are really pleased to be working with. For me Casely-Hayford is probably one of the most unique, important and special offerings in menswear today and both Charlie and Joe have been great supporters of the store since we opened. Ann Demeulemeester is also a very significant brand for us and one of our biggest buys each season. She constantly offers key men's wardrobe staples that are essentially timeless.
It’s also great to be working with the more avant-garde, artisan brands such MA+ who create quite possibly the most exquisite leather pieces you are likely to come across. Geoffrey B Small is another special designer which we stock exclusively. Every single piece of his clothing is hand made and the attention to detail and cut of his clothing is second to none. Finally Curiouser + Curiouser which is the debut collection from Alice Waese, she's a young local designer who creates beautiful silver jewellery, leather accessories and chunky over sized knitted scarves.
My favourite piece is this military inspired jacket from Casely-Hayford.
SS: What are you most excited to see hit the shop floor?
James Brown: Besides the above mentioned collections I am very excited about the arrival of Santa Maria Novella products from one of the oldest pharmacies in the world dating back to 1612. Their products are a joy to use and we’ll be carrying a substantial part of their range from their exquisite perfumes and candles to their honeys and liqueurs. Santa Maria Novella will be arriving in store in November.
As part of the London Design Festival, Hostem have opened their doors to become The One Room Hotel. Created by Jamesplumb the event will allow a select few the chance to spend one night in a truly unique and intimate installation. By day, the space acts as an exhibition for the interior designer’s striking innovation and time-worn, lovingly restored pieces, all of them new and debuted for the first time. By night, anyone can gain a chance to spend the evening in this captivating enclave.