Who said you can't walk into an online store? Great question proposed by the new retail concept store Sneakerboy by March Studio in Little Bourke Street, Melbourne Australia. Sneakerboy is only 80 sqm. Blink and you might even miss it, a hybrid between a retail model and an online store.
Conceived by the company's creative director, Chris Kyvetos, and designed by March Studio, it's a great example of the future direction of retail. Exciting concept and doesn't fail to deliver here from March Studio.
Sneakers by all the leading designers are represented, from Rick Owens, Lanvin, Yohji Yamamoto and Giuseppe Zanotti, with prices ranging from $150 through to $3000 for a pair of stingray and python high-backed sneakers by Balmain.
But unlike most stores, there are no price tags on the merchandise. Instead, customers tune in on their phones or iPads in store to find the price, size and availability.
Kyvetos is about to open another Sneakerboy store in Sydney's CBD.
For architect Rodney Eggleston and graphic designer Anne-Laure Cavigneaux, directors of March Studio, the brief was relatively undefined. Given Sneakerboy isn't the usual retail fit-out, with defined point-of-sale counter (every purchase is through a card or phone), the concept required looking ''outside the box''.
March Studio certainly delivered a one-off design, with thousands of components, including steel shelves. The main display area, visible from the street, is more like a sharemarket, with tickers informing customers about each sneaker. But past the main thoroughfare, the store morphs into a more private space, conceived as one large change room.
Even before you enter the ''inner sanctum'', referred to as the change room, a one-tonne steel door, lined with sneakers on steel shelves, closes, with just the tip of a finger. And here's where the real experience starts. Customers sit on futuristic pod-like chairs, complete with attached iPads. They can then explore the stock, which includes more than 300 sneakers, as well as T-shirts and sweat shirts. Those struggling with technology can ask for help from staff.
Kyvetos not only saw an opportunity to take a different direction on the retail front, but also on the fashion side.
The other trend has been to create retail environments that provide a sense of discovery.
In the case of Sneakerboy, the change room is framed with a wall of glass bricks. This allows for northern light, but also screens passers-by from looking in.
265 little bourke street
Photography © sneakerboy / March Studio