I went to a “pop-up” shop today, run by one of my Morley college tutors, Lynda Kinne and her husband Daniel. They are a very dapper New Yorker couple, dressed head to toe in their own designs. If you have a minute, or are passing through the Hipster Hub that is Old Street roundabout, just duck down into the tube and encounter a microcosm of thriving entrepreneurialism. There are varied food outlets, jeans you can sleep with overnight, flowers, and clothes as well as the usual key cutters, dry cleaners and newsagents.
Pop up shops are such a great idea for companies which don’t have enough stock to keep a shop permanently on the go, but do have something quite wonderful they want to share with the general public. As a property developer I wish we used empty commercial units more often for this kind of purpose, although location was of critical importance for the Kinnes. Their company A La Disposition appeals to a very discerning crowd.
In this little shop, called Anatomie, Daniel and Lynda offered two types of perfume – their own Intangible (for men and for women) in a black skull, and a rival product with a real concrete stopper.
There are obviously clothes for men – knee breeches, elegant deep striped shirts with lovely details, trousers with diagonal button flies, the occasional piece of knitwear, – mainly in black, with a little grey. This is bravado tailoring at its best. And for ladies, more black – heavy woolen tunics with recycled leather, cool skirts, evening dress; the odd white item – tops with large carbuncles and intricately pleated skirts; and lots of texture within the restrained black/grey/white palette. An evening dress in silvery fabric that looked like it was covered in folded envelopes; a cute little girl’s gym slip and some amazing statement hats.
It was day one and they had virtually put the whole thing together themselves – designing, pattern cutting, making up, labelling, transporting, displaying and running the shop. Even building the display units! Those who think they could make a living with their own “range” of amazing clothes – beware – this is the hardest imaginable work, with the longest hours. As well as running their business, and continuing to churn out the most creative ideas, this pair also care for their daughter and carry a heavy teaching workload. Long hours, many challenges, and they remain charming, friendly and willing to pass on their skills to countless amateurs like me. London is lucky to have them.
I am in total admiration of the couple behind this company. They took the shop not just to show their wares, but also to provide an opportunity for other designers to share the space, and the limelight. As I visited on opening day they were still waiting for a consignment from LA to arrive. If you love unique designer pieces (and wear a lot of black) you may find a superb outfit. Go soon as it will “pop down” on Saturday night (26 July).