Mixed Use

Over the past 2-3 years, there has been a noticeable uptick in the amount of "mixed use" shops you may run into walking around NYC.  Maybe 10 years ago, Club Monaco Flatiron was the first such place that we noticed, which housed a flower shop sitting in a room displaying books for sale, connected to a coffee shop, all belonging to their original, clothing store.  All types could be seen there mid-day, browsing the books, admiring the flowers, and ultimately, chatting while sipping a coffee.  Maybe one day they would buy a sweater.

I've written previously about the crossover at the Public Hotel, where Ian Schrager has clearly established a go-to spot for just about anything - stay, work, play, eat...  But these smaller street level shops are beginning to morph as well, to capture one's attention with one of their many offerings.  They're creating a buzz, exuding a certain lifestyle, in the hopes that they will develop a devout following of people who like what they're putting out there for one reason or another.  These companies are paying attention to their store design, graphic design and branding, and of course, social media.  Cafe Kitsune and Aime Leon Dore are two notable examples of this trend.  Aime Leon Dore, created in 2014, this year gained a partner in LVMH.  Pretty impressive for a little LES shop.  It caught or attention about a year ago, as we had to find our way through a lingering crowd spilling out from their doors onto Mulberry Street in front of their pretty white storefront.  At that time, we had no idea who they were or what they were doing.  Once we were finally able to peer in, we saw that they were mostly a streetwear store, with of course, a hip coffee shop imbedded inside.  It was a see and be seen type of vibe.  

As designers, we are glad that brands like this are becoming a bit more savvy with their visual presence, after about a decade of lesser calculated, piecemeal approaches taken by many who wanted to invest much less time, money and effort, to open a place.  People are stepping it up, and we are here for it.  

Aime Leon Dore

Cafe Kitsune

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