PRIMITIVE LONDON is a boutique and gallery space off Kingsland Road in a railway arch under Haggerston Station, which was launched last year by lovely owners, Lui Nemeth and Andrew Grune.
The shop stocks and showcases individual pieces from young talented designers in London and Tokyo as well as some cool vintage stuff, which are all handpicked by Lui and Andrew regardless of trends and the boundaries between fashion and art.
Surrounded by creative designers and artists who are really close to the shop and making a variety of events happen, the experimental shop is refining and evolving its aesthetics day by day.
When we consider about the situation in London that there are few exciting shop for young designers in spite of the existence of a number of new talents, this tiny but ambitious shop, is definitely the one to watch.

-How did this PRIMITIVE LONDON project happen? Can you explain the circumstances behind the launch of PRIMITIVE LONDON?

We wanted to have a space where we show our own works and exhibit the works of the talented people around us who are doing something interesting that doesn’t adhere to a defined category whether it’s; art, fashion or music … etc..
We also felt that Tokyo is infamous for its underground fashion but is often inaccessible to the West; we wanted to bridge that gap and stock these designers and to create a bridge the other way and let people in Tokyo and Japan find out about London underground fashion.

-What does “PRIMITIVE LONDON” mean?

It’s inspired from the space, which looks kind of like a cave. And it also means that it is the beginning of something – the beginning of our project, journey and etc..

-Shop is located in Haggerston where is not recognized as fashion area in London. Why did you open the shop in Haggerston in East London? Did’nt you think to open the shop in Tokyo?

It was very random and coincedental, we found this amazing little railway arch just 1 minute away from our studio.
We always wondered why there were so many things happening in Dalston and Shoreditch and not in Haggerston which is just between those places.
There are a lot of young creative people living in Haggerston but there’s not many exciting things happening.

-Both of you have a detailed knowledge of art and fashion. Do you think it is necessary to categorise your shop as fashion or art?

We don’t think that it is necessary to put things in categories; we would like to think they are creative things. The way people express themselves is always in a different. We always want to break down the boundaries between that and not just say ‘this is Fashion and this is Art’.
So our arch has a gallery feel, which is like a blank canvas and the designers paint colours on to it.

-How do your customers react to Tokyo underground designers?

Brands like Banzai and Balmung are very unique and also very Tokyo, there is nothing like that in London. People seem to get shocked (in good way), and love them.

-Is there any specific things or shops you use as a reference when you make your shop?

We get inspirations from everything; art, installation, colours, music and industrial things.
The aesthetic is DIY and industrial. The shop is inside a railway arch so already it feels very raw and primitive. In the way we have fitted the store we have tried to continue the aesthetic. However, the aesthetic is always evolving and developing as our designers and artists are creating new ways to change the way the space looks.

-Why did you choose Christopher Nemeth for your first exhibition in your shop?

Before that exhibition, we did two exhibitions, which were group exhibitions, and the following was a music event.

The next one was going to be my father’s (he wanted to do to exhibit to help our project). We were planning the event for about a month and then suddenly he passed away. As we were intending to do the exhibition, we decided to still go ahead with it. We did the exhibition on the day we planned originally. We had a lot of help from my dad’s old friends and it was a lovely warm exhibition.

-Have you had a strong influence from your father Christopher Nemeth? And do you have a plan to launch your own brand?

I got a lot of inspiration from him, not just from what he makes, also from his philosophy. At the moment Andrew and I have our own Primitive brand, but in the future I would like to have my own brand or help my father’s brand.

-Is there any designers or brands you are keen on at the moment?

We always try to look for something which is just near to us. We try to look at everything that we see in everyday life.

-Tell us the brands or labels you currently stock. And what are the points when you pick the labels?

Brands we stock are :
London: Primitive, Ava Catherside, Nadir Tejani, Joseph Nigoghossian, Dave Baby, Strnge, Dobedo, Bergman Neceva and Ruri Tayama.
Tokyo: Banzai, Giza, Balmung, Ambush, ilil and Dead Kebab.

We try not to think about trends and collections. We showcase what we think it’s amazing. We try not to choose what we would wear but what we like as a piece of artwork.

-At the “THREE” exhibition, you collaborated with Kita-Kore bldg in Koenji, Tokyo. Do you have a plan to have a event or exhibition in collaboration with Tokyo culture?

We would like to collaborate with Tokyo as much as we can. Lui is born in Tokyo and Andrew has lived in Tokyo a year and a half, so we both love Tokyo and we would like to bring amazing things from Tokyo and to be seen by as many people as possible.

-Can you tell us what will happen in the future around PRIMITIVE LONDON? Any upcoming news?

Our next installation/event will be by one of our favourite labels Ava Catherside who are two Italian designers based in London – we are very excited to see what they come up with.

Currently we are working on our online shop so that customers in Japan and around the world can browse and purchase our unique and individual goods. And we would like to collaborate with artists, and other creative people that are not necessarily doing fashion as well.

We want to eventually open a shop in Tokyo. We are also working on developing our brand and producing a lot more pieces.

Interview:Masaki Takida Text:Yasuyuki Asano

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