While clothing and accessory brands have scrambled to make the move to e-commerce platforms in the last decade, Korean sunglasses brand Gentle Monster has gone the complete opposite direction.
What started as a company that simply wanted to offer frames with a better fit quickly garnered attention worldwide for the fantastical design concepts of its brick-and-mortar stores.
This summer saw the opening of Gentle Monster’s Beijing flagship, the first store in the Mainland, under a concept titled Secret Apartment. Walking into the Taikoo Li North space – set up as an over-the-top flat – there are as many display details to discover around the shop’s hidden corners as there are sunnies on sale.
The brand’s designs are varied, ranging from chunky plastic shades to delicate metal, and for the most part, are under 2,000RMB. Those who go bold with eyewear will find avant-garde styles, including collaborations with American labels Opening Ceremony and Hood By Air.
Across Gentle Monster’s flagship stores worldwide, shoppers find themselves in a dream-like world: the Seoul store is designed to look like a vintage laundromat; Hong Kong’s looks like a retro train station; and the New York City flagship was dreamed up by an aquarium designer
While it’s easer than ever to order clothing online in your underwear from the comfort of your couch, we love Gentle Monster for reminding us how fun it can be to buy products from a playfully arranged display – especially when that display is a walk-in meat refrigerator.
By Ellen Schaft