Britain used to be described as 'a nation of shopkeepers.' Whether it was the eighteenth century economist Adam Smith or Napoleon who described this group of islands as such matters little, what does matter is that this nation has lost its retail heart. I can honestly count the number of exciting London stores on one hand. However, the future has begun to look a little bright with the opening of a number of intriguing properties. The recently unveiled Trunk Clothiers had led me to outstretch one more finger. Located over two ﬂoors on Marylebone’s Chiltern Street, Trunk introduces a much needed new style to the menswear retailing scene in the capital which I was able to experience for myself earlier today. The seventy square metres brings together a carefully curated selection of the ﬁnest menswear and accessories from across the globe. Trunk is a store that sets the standard for gentlemen seeking modern classics of the highest quality matched with impeccable service.
As the name suggests, Trunk is a compact, well organized and highly edited mix of carefully selected, hand crafted garments from around the world. Trunk stocks labels from Japan, Italy, Sweden, US, Canada and France, that in most cases have not been available in the UK market before. Well respected brands such as Beams+, Aspesi, Montedoro, Barena, Zanone and J Crew all, quite surprisingly, make their London debut with the store. The store offers suits, knitwear, accessories, shoes, hats, eyewear, watches, hoisery, underwear, fragrances and will soon launch a made to measure suit shirt service. Additionally, the space offers special collaborations with two of Japan's finest, in Tabio and Porter. The store reads like Tyler Brule's (and mine) dream shopping list.
Formally a senior manager in global partnerships at American Express, Klingberg,has fused his background in fashion, retail and ﬁnancial services to engage with brands that are united in their passion for quality and detail. Convincing smaller brands, such as Stealth Wealth of Kyoto, to take a risk overseas has been one of the challenges he believes will make Trunk unlike any other shop in Britain. A number of the brands had been interested in the UK market but hadn't found the right store to work, until now at least. For example, Boglioli, an Italian brand has been looking for the right environment for a number of years but there just was not an opportunity for them. Klinsberg noticed a clear gap in the market and has thankfully taken advantage. Trunk's model is simple, to stock great Italian, Japanese, Swedish and American brands that already have a strong following among London residents, but frustratingly for them could only be found abroad. Now, I could wax lyrical about the store but I'd only bore you, the best way to get a feel of the place is to explore it. The store affords discoveries at every turn and below are a few of the items that caught my eye...
Boots by Common Projects, belt by Ki:ts, bag by BAG'n'NOUN and scarves by Drakes. Ki:ts is a Japanese brand that is now based in London, all of the belts are made by hand and each is stunning.
Italy’s Glanshirt has crafted fine men's and women's wear since the 1960’s. Recently they joined the brand family over at Slowear joining the ranks of Incotex and Zanone to name two.
Headwear by Wigens, the one on the right is the product of a collaboration with Harris Tweed. Wigens is a brand that you might encounter in an old gentleman's store in Sweden but Klinsberg discovered it in Iseten in Japan.
The store is full of seemingly unpronounceable brand names, the producer of this super soft scarf being a case in point, LA+H, hailing from Japan.
In addition to offering a plethora of new discoveries, the store is also home to a few old favourites. Here are two examples, socks by Tabio and knitted ties by Drakes.
An eye popping tote from Bag’n’Noun crammed full of scarves by Drakes. The Bag’n’Noun products from Takeshi Ozawa are all handmade in a small factory in Osaka and this is the first European store to stock them.
Trunk is a shop for men who like to look sharp, in all settings. Whether its crisp bespoke shirts, tailored blazers, elegant knitwear or smart footwear. At the same time the space delivers a great experience in a warm, welcoming environment which is dedicated to making shopping both simple and enjoyable. Trunk affords discoveries at every turn, in each nook and cranny is a label that I had never seen before but soon fell in love with. The pieces stocked here are the one’s that Klinsberg has unearthed, the ones he shops for in Europe and Tokyo and the ones he wears himself. His passion for finely crafted menswear is infectious and I for one, look forward to my next visit, where I'll no doubt encounter a few more of my 'new favourite' brands.
In one of his insightful rants, Tyler Brûlé mentioned how Japan's lost decade was the catalyst for the rise of a new super talented merchant class that kept the retail scene buoyant despite the dire state of the economy. I hoped that the recent troubling economic times would bring about a new breed of shop keepers and Mats Klinsberg is undoubtedly one of them. Here's hoping that Britain could one day be crowned a nation of menswear shopkeepers.