“We want to give a platform for young designers to reach the consumer and be represented alongside some of the most well respected brands on the planet”

-How did this whole LN-CC project happen? Can you explain the circumstances behind the launch of LN-CC?

LN-CC is the brainchild of myself and my partner Dan mitchell and supported, owned and ran by a team of specialised individuals that cover every area of what we do. The project has happened through our frustration of not being able to find a store, platform or concept that fulfills the needs of people like us who are into product, music and literature. We decided to start and launch a project that covers all of these areas and house them in an environment that is special and rounded enough to do all of them justice.

-Can you tell me the LN-CC team and their individual role in LN-CC?

The creative, product and brand direction is decided by myself and Dan. We then have a team of specialists ranging from business/e-commerce backgrounds, a press team and some specialists in music, literature and sound. We also have a retail team who have between then 50 years of premium retail experience and a customer service team to match. On top of that we have Gary Card who works as a set design consultant to create all of our environments wherever and whenever we decide to do them.

-Following to the online store, LN-CC has launched the amazing 6000 sqft space, which consists of different concept rooms, a club space and a library. Can you explain the idea of the physical store and the relationship between the online and real store? Then I just wonder why the store is basically appointment only regardless of the huge space and interior decorations?

The physical store has been set up as a destination space for anybody interested enough to come and see what we are doing, and also as a platform for us to express ourselves as we can find the limitations of online technology quite frustrating as we cant always do what we want to do. The store encorporates all of the disciplines you mention but to the same standard and taste level whether it be quality of sound, level of product or quality of literature. everything has been specifically sourced and housed in an environment that suits. Across each of the 6 different concept rooms you will experience a completely unique feeling and emotion which was the idea behind the whole space. The idea of the store being appointment only is not in any way us trying to be eletist but more for us to give the customer and unique and informative visit by being able to explain all of the products and brands that we sell in more depth giving them an education aswell as an experience.

-It seems that LN-CC has a wide range of designers, from internationally established designers such as Maison Martin Margiela and Rick Owens to relatively younger designers such as J.W Anderson and New Power Studio, and besides it has many Japanese street-minded labels such as Nonnative and Sasquatchfabrix. What are the points when LN-CC picks labels?

The buying policy at LN-CC is quite simply to buy what we would wear. If a brand excites us and we would like to wear it ourselves then we will always buy it and try it within our platform. We have always worn a wide range of brands and love the quality, style and production of a lot of the mainline brands but at the same time love to support the special new talent emerging from all over the world not just the uk. We also love the grit and intricate edge of the japanese streetwear brands as well as the extremely well produced casual brands too. When it comes to the style of brands we are open minded at all times and love to come across something new. If it gets us genuinely excited then we will have a go.

-Personally I really like Raf Simons so I am so interested in the archive collections of Raf Simons. What is the idea behind the archive collections of Raf Simons? I heard they are from personal collection of you, so why has Raf Simons been such a special label for you?

In my heart and in my (humble) opinion the belgians are the most creative and progressive on the planet when it comes to product. If i had to choose one country to buy all the product i could wear then Belgium would definitely be it. When i first started buying mainline product i was 15 years old and got hooked on dries van noten. At that time Raf was just breaking the scene and i remember him showing one of his collections that had cut off/sleeveless surf inspired tees with Vans as the footwear and thinking this guy is putting out exactly what i want to wear. I then started buying a few pieces from his collection each season and keeping it as i wanted to archive all of the product as i just had a feeling that this brand was going to turn into something special. I then had the opportunity to go to my first raf simons show “the fear generation” collection in paris when i was 20 years old. This is still the best show i have ever been to in my whole life, the energy, the environment twinned with the product and the styling i dont think has ever been matched and is still for me the most powerful collection i can remember seeing. Since then i have been buying Raf Simons for every store i have worked for and buying as much product as i could possibly afford for my personal collection. I now have around 350 pieces spanning from the first collection to present day, although i must admit that i am buying more Jil Sander than Raf Simons for my personal collection now as i feel that this is much more the essence of Raf and the kind of product i would like to wear at the moment.
The idea of showcasing some pieces from the archive was to show that we have a real interest and depth of knowledge in product and have a history that you can trust, as well as making it available to purchase for people who really know and understand what this product is.

-It seems that London still does not have enough retail places for young labels, especially men’s ones, regardless of the recent emergence of young talented designers. Including this point, can you tell me your opinion about the current situation of fashion business, in terms of both in London and international situation?

The idea of getting behind the younger designers is that there has actually been quite a surge in support for them in the uk over recent years as far as exposure and press is concerned, however if stores dont acually buy any of this product then its pretty much useless. We want to give a platform for young designers to reach the consumer and be represented alongside some of the most well respected brands on the planet. I think the situation of the industry is the same that it has always been and i think that the brands that are good enough will find a way to make it happen and the ones that arent wont. It sounds quite harsh but if you have a product that people want then there are ways and means of making it happen. Everyone seems to be going through a relatively tough time in retail right now and you can see that in the stores all over the world, but in my opinion this is a real opportunity to sell more interesting product as everybodies brand mix is so flat that i think people are looking for something interesting. It’s just whether you are up for taking the risk on it or not.

-It can be seen that LN-CC regards Japan as one of the important aspects of its project, because LN-CC stocks many Japanese labels and archives of renowned Japanese designers such as Comme Des Garcons and Yohji Yamamoto, and then online store has the japanese version as well as normal English one. What do you think about Japanese designers and the market in Japan?

We have a huge respect for product and design and we travel the whole of the world trying to find what we feel is the best. I have always bought and had a huge soft spot for Yohji and this is a brand that i feel is very important in the history of fashion and product as well as being relevant at this point in time. The thing that we love most about the japanese product is the quality of the production and the attention to detail. I think that the product coming out of Japan right now is still as good as it gets and i think japan is so relevant to us a store as we love the mindset of the consumer and i think we offer them a product mix and a point of view that i dont feel that they can find in Japan.

-Can you tell me what will happen in the future around LN-CC? Any upcoming news?

We have a lot of new interesting ideas and concepts for LN-CC which we will release at a later date. I think the most exciting development in the near future is that of our brand list for ss11 as we have doubled the amount of brands that we are stocking across all of the areas of our concept aswell as adding a much deeper offer for the womens side of what we do. Look out for a few key events happening around the globe next year also including a party with Crue-l recordings in tokyo in April.

I would just like to say a big thank you to everyone in japan who has followed and taken an interest in everything that we have been doing since we launched, we really appreciate the support.

Interview:Yasuyuki Asano

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