Two years ago Comme des Garçons started what trendwatching.com called the “pop-up retail concept” with the opening of a for-one-year-only Berlin store space. To date, CDG pop-up shops have appeared in Tokyo, Barcelona, Singapore, and other cities. In New York, Imitation of Christ and Isaac Mizhari have experimented with the concept, and this season more labels are launching guerilla stores during and after New York fashion week. In November, Surface magazine has a planned two-week Sapphire-inspired store, a collaborative space with Bombay sapphire that will sell one-of-a-kind objects at an undetermined address. As Four, the controversial design collective, is set to open a week-long pirate store called As Four Denim (452 Broadway). The trio will surely welcome a fresh discussion about their label — other than their current “as three” status. The enigmatic design team (Gabi, Adi, and Ange) talks to JC Report about the guerilla-store trend, what they hope to achieve with the store, and As Four’s positioning in the commercial world.
JCR: What is the aim of the As Four denim store?
AF: To give people the best of As Four at the best price.
JCR: If it is successful, are we likely to see more As Four denim stores?
AF: Yes, we want to offer this experience in every city. All over the world.
JCR: Describe how pop-up retail is in line with the label’s overall concept?
AF: We have always planned to have an As Four store. This temporary experience is the first step into our future store, Adventure.
JCR: What about permanent boutiques?
AF: We would love to open a permanent As Four environment, where we would offer As Four clothing, As Four accessories, and other As Four products: As Four food and As Four drinks, As Four music — a complete As Four lifestyle.
JCR: The store is called As Four denim. Is denim clothing all we’re to expect?
AF: Yes. We edited the best items from As Four in two qualities of denim: a washed 14-oz used on the reversed side and an unwashed 10-oz on the indigo side, and jersey T-shirts.
JCR: Considering your recent collaborations with Colette [perfume] and Kate Spade [clothes], and now denim at an approachable price point, is it correct to suggest that there’s a commercial intent with this venture?
AF: Yes we are focusing on having/making As Four available to everyone.
JCR: Is the implementation of this guerilla-retail concept an attempt to control what, how, and where As Four goods are sold, to ultimately preserve the label’s creative vision?
AF: The pirate store is an opportunity for us to learn about our customer. It is a chance for us to offer the As Four world to our customer. We can offer our environment along with our products.
JCR: You’re not the only brand in New York this season with a guerilla store. Is there a collective message being sent to the established retailers and to the fashion industry as a whole?
AF: This pirate store is not at all an implementation of exclusivity. The collection will only be at the store exclusively for the first season. It is a promotional move, a first peek, a little taster for our customers. But As Four denim will be available through other retailers next season, and we are now taking buyers’ appointments.
JCR: What does this pirate store need in order for it to be considered a success?
AF: Raise awareness for As Four.
JCR: Trend forecasters say guerilla stores are one of the hottest retail trends in recent years. Are we seeing the initial stages of what may become a full-blown shopping movement?
AF: We hope so. It makes sense.
This interview was conducted by Robert Cordero
Photo: A selection of As Four images