Concept stores part 1: Bogotá, Colombia
Concept stores are, by definition, a place where products are sold in a way that heightens the shoppers’ experience by providing a careful curation of items from varying brands or industries, such as books, fashion, beauty and homewares; all tailored to appeal to a specific audience or lifestyle. They often feature experimental elements, offering multi-sensory experiences like a bar, café, or exhibition.
Latin America’s recent surge of designers has left a great deal of emerging designers without a shop or showroom to sell their wares, leading many to join forces at multi-brand stores and collectives. In our series on concept stores, kriteria talks to some of the standout representatives of this Latin American movement. Part 1 begins in Bogotá, Colombia, with three unique examples: St. Dom Bogotá, Casa Précis, and 8424 Studio.
St. Dom Bogotá
The newly-inaugurated three-story headquarters of St. Dom, the king of multi-brand fashion retail in Cartagena, is located on the unique Calle de los Anticuarios (Antiques Street) in Bogotá. Four years ago, owners Maya Memovic and Alex Srour, who also run local resort clothing brand Azulu, had the opportunity to open a store in Cartagena, and decided the best way to go about it was not to import products as usual, but instead to feature local designers.
Four years later, the pair realized the Colombian capital desperately needed its own St. Dom. So they went about launching the Bogotá version, compete with 140 designers, a larger homewares section and a brand new children’s section, in addition to the usual men and women’s ready-to-wear casualwear, jewelry and resort wear sections. Don’t forget to check out the walls—even they are commissioned with some of Colombia’s finest art.
Highlights: Too many to count, but Maison Alma's extraordinary Colombian coats with French flair, Azulu's dynamic casual wear, and the new home section, featuring Verdi rugs and Millán de Mishaan designs (now Verónica Mishaan) are hard to beat.
If St. Dom is the largest retail spot for Colombian fashion, then Précis is the center for emerging local designers. The shop began as a means for the four founders of fashion brands Mullier and Inés Bellorez to support each other economically, and evolved into what is today a store housing almost forty brands, including jewelry, beachwear, shoes, purses and other accessories.
Potential tenants undergo a meticulous selection process to ensure each new designer and product displays originality, quality, a strong identity, and complements the other brands. With fresh designers rotating into Précis monthly, founder Ines Beltrán says of the store, “At Précis you can find what nobody else has. People are tired of seeing everybody wear the same clothes, they want something new, something different.”
An indie designer showroom in the middle of Bogotá’s Zona Rosa, 8424 Studio is the smallest of today’s selection, but certainly not the slightest. With a quality selection of eight emerging designer brands, it attends both male and female visitors, with five offering unisex products.
Upon walking through the door, the studio feels both cozy and avant-garde; it is after all a designer collective, featuring Little Ramonas with denim and leather, Papel de Punto with knitwear, Mr. Boho with Italian sunglasses, El Origen del Mundo with under and over garments, Isidora Malva with leather handbags, Shh for snarky embroidered T-shirts, Caos with unisex silver jewelry and Post Nothing with imported independent magazines.