Yesterday I was invited to check out the new Bench concept store in the Northern Quarter, Manchester.
I got the opportunity to chat with Alistair who is the project manager and one of the the guys behind the re-design of the shop.
As soon as I walked in, I couldn't help but notice the simple, pared back look of the shop-the fixtures and fittings are industrial looking but it didn't feel like I was in a warehouse, the huge wall of artwork by local artist- Moot, teamed with the comfy denim chairs and the smell of apple pies created a cosy & unique shopping experience.
The point of the re-fit was to create a fresh start for the brand which first started out in Manchester in 1989. The company wanted to create a clean, contemporary shop that could evolve with the brand. Alistair commented 'The simple, understated look of the shop really lets the product do the talking and showcases the best of the designers collections'. The raw, industrial aesthetic of the shop is really effective, Bench have moved away from it's bold, brash logo's that used to be plastered everywhere and instead have more modest branding which can be seen etched into plywood blocks & embossed in leather on the clothing labels.
As we know I'm a thrifty lady and I was pleased to find out that most of the materials & fittings were already in the previous shop and have been recycled, reused & re-purposed. The stack of TVs next to the till showcasing Bench's latest videos used to be old CCTV monitors! It makes me happy that a brand like Bench, who are an international success, still care about the planet yet don't compromise on style :)
"We celebrate hard-working and multi-talented guys & girls with vision and ambition. The ones who aren't afraid to get their hands dirty. The ones crafting their own futures and changing the faces-and the streets-of the cities they live in."
As part of the new concept store Alistair wanted to get involved with the local community, Bench's roots are grounded in Manchester and they wanted to create a space that would really benefit the community. This is where the 'Self Made Gallery' comes in. Downstairs is a huge, empty space which is a gallery/studio/meeting place & event area. When I visited they were holding an open model casting for the next campaign along side the 'Don't Panic' Exhibition. The Northern Quarter in Manchester is bustling with talented people so having use of a studio space (for free might I add!) is an asset to the creative community. ' Alistair said 'We're all in it together, we wanted to connect with local people and really be a part of the Manchester community'. I know a lot of you lovely followers are creative types, like myself, so it really is a fantastic place to be a part of whether you want to exhibit some work, start a creative group or host an event! You can use the online enquiries form to book the space!
I had a great time visiting the shop, so thanks to Bench for inviting me and I urge you all to go and visit the shop, even if Bench clothing aint your thing, the 'Self Made Gallery' is a brilliant space :) Bench very kindly let me choose an outfit from their autumn/winter collection to wear for my next outfit post so keep your eyes peeled for that!
Has anyone visited the new Bench store yet? What do you think of the self made project?
Thanks for reading :)