Tuesday 3 October 2023 - Monocle Minute | Monocle

Tuesday. 3/10/2023

The Monocle Minute

House news / Global

Hello, good buy

The out-now October issue marks the launch of Monocle’s Retail Awards. We have a simple ambition: to spotlight the 25 people and places delivering best-in-class experiences and products. But it is also about how retail can hold a neighbourhood together, offer fledgling brands the chance to shine and create moments of interaction that elevate the everyday. Over the years, Monocle has championed the cause of good retail because, at its best, it anchors communities, champions the well-made, supports local businesses – and people – and creates spaces where a multitude of events and moments of inspiration can take place. So, why now? As many big US and European cities are struggling to keep their malls and shopping strips vibrant, we wanted to shine a light on some best practices around the globe.

Who has that special touch when it comes to service, atmosphere and products? Pick up Monocle’s October issue, which is out now, to find out.)

Looking good: classic menswear at The Decorum in Bangkok

Image: Natthawut Taeja

The Decorum’s co-founder Sirapol Ridhiprasart (middle) outside the elegant shop

Image: Natthawut Taeja

Design / Copenhagen

Big drawers

For many years, the headquarters and shop of Frama have been housed in a historic pharmacy in Copenhagen’s Nyboder neighbourhood, where the design brand’s furniture and homewares are showcased against 19th-century apothecary drawers.

In 2020, keen to show its wares in action, the brand opened Apotek57 – a café-bakery that instantly became one of the city’s chicest hangouts. Last year, Frama’s footprint expanded again when it took over the shopfront next door. Instead of putting it to use for more offices or retail, Frama decided to dedicate the space to pop-ups and exhibitions by other brands.

Images: Jan Søndergaard

The former butter shop features two street-level rooms linked by an arched doorway and now looks like a gallery with minimal furnishings. For the first pop-up, during Copenhagen Fashion Week, Frama hosted a Berlin-based vintage company; for the rest of the year, the calendar is mostly kept open for spontaneous collaborations with friends of the house. In this corner of Copenhagen, you can’t help but be drawn into Frama’s world.

Fashion / Tokyo

Young at heart

If you find yourself in the unfortunate position of losing your suitcase or simply want to nail Tokyo’s high-low fashion style, we suggest that you head straight to H Beauty & Youth in the Aoyama neighbourhood for a one-stop restock. An arm of the country’s United Arrows fashion empire, this spacious shop for both men and women is perfect for those seeking clothes that will update their wardrobe without leaving them looking like a fashion victim.

You’ll find an ever-changing array of imported labels, some given a gentle collaboration twist or a limited-edition colour. The shop’s tireless team of buyers has done the hard work, ruthlessly editing and making sense of brands from around the world. Nightwear, grooming products, swimsuits and sports attire are all covered and there’s a vintage section with plenty of denim. As a reward at the end, there’s a branch of Daikanyama restaurant Pizza Slice below.

Image: Tom Ross

Books / Melbourne

Passion project

Melbourne independent bookshop chain Readings has served the city for more than 50 years. Customers have embraced the flagship shop in Carlton, an inner-city suburb near the University of Melbourne, with such a passion that a decision a few years ago to revamp the interiors divided opinion. “Some customers didn’t like the renovation,” says Joe Rubbo, Readings’ managing director. “The bookshop has become enmeshed in Carlton’s vibrant community and it’s really become a product of its place.”

Rubbo has been in the top job for just a few weeks – a rare passing-of-the baton at this Melbourne institution. His father, local record vendor Mark, had helmed the shop for almost half a century: established in 1969 by Ross and Dot Reading with Peter Reid, Mark took over in 1976. Under his stewardship, Readings grew from a single shop to eight addresses across Melbourne.

Retail / Monocle Retail Awards 2023

And the winners are…

1. Top emerging fashion outpost: The Decorum, Bangkok.

2. Most versatile offering: Frama, Copenhagen.

3. Best Asian expansion: Tsutaya, Kuala Lumpur.

Japanese bookshop chain Tsutaya’s inaugural outpost in Kuala Lumpur

Image: Paulius Staniunas, Natthawut Taeja

Tao Bin’s dream team is always on hand to refill its vending machines

Image: Paulius Staniunas, Natthawut Taeja

4. Australia’s top literary outpost: Readings, Melbourne.

5. America’s leading bookshop: McNally Jackson, New York.

6. Top vending-machine maker: Tao Bin, Bangkok.

7. Asia’s top print-media outlet: Thambi Magazine Store, Singapore.

8. Europe’s best newsstand: Le Kiosque de Paris, Paris.

9. Top magazine store: Casa Magazines, New York.

10. Most considered market makeover: Hakaniemi Market Hall, Helsinki.

11. Sharpest in-store experience: Nonfiction, Seoul.

12. America’s most-focused mall: NorthPark Center, Dallas.

13. Most-considered retail designer: David Montalba, Los Angeles.

14. Best new concept: Graphpaper Tokyo, Tokyo.

15. Best shoe shop: John Lobb, Paris.

16. Best new specialist retailer: Tekla, Copenhagen.

17. Best design shop: Chanintr Craft, Bangkok.

18. Top (indy) department store: Hirshleifers, Long Island.

19. Freshest fashion buyers: Marc Llorens & Olivier Salette, Rendez-Vous, Toulouse.

20. Best independent supermarket: Apolónia, Algarve.

21. Lifetime achievement award: Carla Sozzani, Milan.

22. Best shop reboot: The Conran Shop, Tokyo.

23. Best DIY department: The BHV Marais, Paris.

24. Best in-store service: Jogging, Marseille.

25. Top one-stop shop: H Beauty & Youth, Tokyo.

Find the complete Monocle Retail Awards in our October issue, which is out now.


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