Have you ever noticed how similar menswear shops are? Not the ones your father would go to, or the one you would take your young son into, but the sort of proper one the sorts like you and me would visit. The ones that tend to carry less suits and more timeless, quality pieces. You know the sort, right? I was reminded just the other day when I noticed an ad for the appropriately named “The Hip Store” in Leeds. I can only imagine the name was chosen with a healthy sense of irony, as it truly is a typical example of a hip shop.
I couldn’t help but chuckle when I read the list of brands they carry. There is the obligatory Scandinavian brands, the trainers, the sturdy boots, the Japanese denim and streetwear, the Field Notes notebooks, the retro pieces, a few token British brands and so forth.
Yet it doesn’t help how much their selection is “curated” or hand-selected, it still ends up being the same stuff you’ll find in most other similar shops. Oddly though, in the same way that most shops all stock the same brands, you’ll also notice that most shops also ignore the same brands. Are they all looking at each other to see what brands are generally approved?
I feel a little guilty for picking on The Hip Shop here, but their ad was just such a great reminder of this fact. How many menswear shops out there are truly as unique as they aim to be?
Of course, if you can do it better than everyone else, that will single you out. 14oz in Berlin comes to mind. Or if you genuinely are different, such as Fein und Ripp in Berlin, or Maritime Antiques & in Copenhagen. Yet most just settle in that same track, have basically the same list of brands, similar shop interiors and it’s kind of hard to tell one from the other.
Is it just me, or is this one of the reasons why shopping is increasingly done online? That it’s just not worth the time and effort to visit the actual physical shop?