Polish designer Aga, directed me to a tiny trove of treasures in Soho, where owner Yifeng Yin and his staff, so kindly welcomed me with patience, and attentive service.
Yifeng owns Concept Store Y. Originally from Shanghai, he studied International Business at St Andrew’s, and never once thought he would find himself working in fashion.
What piqued his interest however, were the fashion-conscious friends he found himself surrounded with, as well as what he describes as the “chemical reactions” that occur, when different cultures, meet.
Concept Store Y is “4-months old… still a baby,” said Yifeng.
The idea driving his store is to stock and showcase young, independent, emerging brands for both women and men. Yifeng likes bold designs. He likes colour and playful prints.
His customer is “modern…looking for unique pieces” to complement existing style, and wanting beyond what the High Street predictably offers.
Glancing around too quickly, Gen X might make the mistake of dismissing the store as too hip, or too young.
But if one bothered to peruse, there are sly pieces that could easily work in a daily wardrobe.
Agaroszak (above) for instance, caught me by surprise, and accompanied me to Paris. Never once have I ever imagined myself at 45, with a sliver of midriff exposed!
Then there is Ukulele (below). I like that prettiness is expressed so economically.
Devon London, another London-based brand that Yifeng presents, show an almost effervescent take on embroidery and decoration.
Yifeng’s greatest worry is for Concept Store Y to be, “out of trend”. He explains that his is a platform to encourage pioneering ideas, and not one to necessarily follow runway trends. He defines his most special and successful moments with customer satisfaction- “When a customer has fallen in love with the store…wearing outfits from the store…returning to the store, stopping by to say hello…”
His greatest hope is for Concept Store Y to become a distinguishable brand. Plans for the future include a cafe that marries his ideas of independent fashion and food, and then at some point, venturing back to China, and taking on the demands of the Asian market.
- Concept Store Y, 57A Brewer Street, London W1 9UL http://www.conceptstore-y.com