Whilst initially launched as a menswear store, Nowhere is set to embrace the finer sex in their own inimitable way.
“As soon as I joined I was like, straight off the bat, we need to stock for women too. Why wouldn’t we?” Established in 2014, Aungier Street’s Nowhere has undergone something of a metamorphosis since the first opening of its doors. Seeing a gap in the Dublin market, Nowhere was originally created as an expression of man. An expression, which not only provided a commentary on the ideals of masculinity and celebrated talent and creativity but also, somewhere in between, sold luxury clothing and accessories too. Selling a tailored male identity to those who could cough up the cash, the store did emerge initially as a sort of mecca on the menswear scene. Aside from the ever-faithful, but often conservative Brown Thomas, Dublin was pretty much barren in terms of high fashion designer brands and €150 t-shirts for men. There was a niche to be filled and a narrative to go with it, so Nowhere was born.
Fast forward to 2017. The notions have been binned, the genders expanded and the store continues to thrive. Christine, who joined Nowhere as a buyer and manager over a year and half ago, expresses far more relaxed tones about the store than her predecessors once did. “The whole focus on the male identity has eased off,” says Christine, “A shop shouldn’t be for one person or another. After all it’s just clothes and whoever likes them likes them.”
And in the case Nowhere, whoever can afford them too. Regardless of our tone, there is no jest in the mention of t-shirts with €150 price tags. A weighty but not totally unwarranted amount, Christine explains that “We are an investment store. With regards to designers and collections we only stock the best.” A self-assured boast no doubt, but with the likes of A.P.C and Cav Empt expertly curated across their rails, Nowhere is indeed home to collections from some of the world’s biggest urban fashion houses, with the store often being the only stockist in the country.
“When it comes to the designers we carry, our focus is always on the highest level of quality across all boards. We are very conscious when filling our rails that we are not very repetitive and nothing is in fear of becoming redundant. If we stock a certain jacket, it is because it is the best jacket.” Christine declares confidently. “Our biggest strength at present is our brands and that is something we will continue to curate and build on.”
With the focus moving from the male to the meticulous, Christine states that the new concept is one of minimalism, which is mirrored in the store’s layout and curation. “We kind of have this idea that the store has everything that you could need to pack bag for 72 hours,” she explains. 72 hours of sophistication meets sports luxe, Nowhere is decked out in a conscientious collection of luxury loungewear, urban utilities and what can quite literally be described as some of the most exclusive pairs of sneakers in the entire country. The vibe has an undeniable metropolis feel to it, but we are informed that it has slightly more malleable features.
Talking me through the investment angle of their pieces once more, Christine brings up once more the notion of the clothing stocked being the best, but this time not just with regard to design but sustainability and wearability too. “We like to stock the one best pants, you know? That one pants, which is lined, breathable, waterproof, windproof, everything proof. You can get that with the likes of Artist of Alliance. They work with the guys who created gore tex. Their whole thing is that you can go from fishing straight to the office, so it’s the like the best pant, you know? We love that kind of thing, that’s what we respect. That’s what we align ourselves with.”
Of course being the best, is in some way, shape or form, a common goal familiar to every retailer. It is a simple ambition that all can relate to. “The goal is to be a unisex store and ever since we started stocking womenswear we’ve been moving closer and closer to that. Cav Empt is one of our first unisex brands and we are looking at developing more and brands like that in the future.” While a genderless direction is one many retailers are striving for at present, Nowhere’s latest turn though inherently natural, seems to be still viewed as slightly alien within the realm of Irish fashion.
“Some people find it in intimidating. We will get people who will ask if whether or not something is men’s or women’s and when we say unisex they drop it and run. They need it to be one or the other. And that’s fine, we’ll always get people like that. It’s not for everyone,” she says confidently, there is no hint of elitism in her voice just an air of matter of fact, “and we really don’t mind that.”
In a case of each to their own, Nowhere stands out proudly on the Dublin retail scene, happily serving up styles that are both unisex and exclusive. They stick to a line of being the quote/unquote best and have figured out exactly where they stand, not commentator, not a narrator, but a seller of clothes.
Words Sinead O’Reilly