The owner of a brand new fashion business where customers will own their own unique design after shopping in the store, told MyLondon he doesn’t want people to tell what he’s doing from the outside , seeking instead to bring creativity and uniqueness to the streets.
Couture, a fashion and alterations shop on Deptford High Street is owned by Richie, 27, or, to use his brand name, Köl. The designer makes unique pieces from his own models, in addition to offering repair and repurposing services. He can also adjust your clothes and always creates a new design for any item, rather than just fixing it as it was.
He said: “Local creatives will come, they’re super intrigued by what’s going on. I don’t want it to be obvious what’s going on. I want people to stop and come see. I want people to say : ‘What is the problem?'”
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Richie runs the shop, which has only been open for three and a half weeks, alongside partner Summah Richardson. The couple spent a month renovating the premises before opening their doors. Richie said: “We spent the whole first month renovating, it was a bit of a mess. We had to change from construction manager to electrician to carpenter. The idea behind the design of the shop is that there’s no faff, there’s just the clothes.”
Summah is an architecture student and designs furniture, so she designed all the furniture in the shop herself. She often keeps Richie company and is on hand to cover business while he visits fabric stores, markets, and haberdasheries.
Richie said, “The shop is made up of handmade designs and some of my own designs as well. There’s a rack that people can buy from.
“I also offer repairs and repurposes, which has taken off a lot in the neighborhood. I think because of the market here, people are going to buy second-hand items and bring them here to shine a little bit. The repurposing side of things, if people have old jeans that they don’t wear, we’ll turn them into a bag, a jacket, really anything.”
He added: “If you buy something, you basically own that pattern with that color scheme. And like, if they don’t drape the way you want, I can retail it or sell it in your size. If you buy a piece here, you won’t win. I don’t see anyone walking down the street with the same fabric and design.”
Couture already attracts people of various ages through its doors, but young professionals seem to be the core of its clientele: “It’s surprising. I feel like young people may still be guessing what the vibe is. come in and they’re probably the most interested in the products. With repairs and modifications, it tends to be 30-40+ years.
‘Köl’s’ mother comes from Argentina, where shops reusing and altering existing clothing are far more common than in the UK. According to the designer, he has also received a lot of support from the local Nigerian community.
“The Nigerian community has been really supportive of me. I have a friend from Nigeria and I think it’s because it’s quite common in Nigeria to have things like that. They seem to have a little more vibe .”
Running the shop as a couple, Summah was modest about her contribution: “I’m just here to keep her company basically.”
But Richie said: “She’s like a store lucky charm. It’s just me here making things right now, so it’s nice when someone else can be here. She’s been my rock.”
Richie added that he hopes other young creatives will join him in opening stores aimed at the younger population. His store opened just as Rent, Rent, Rent presenter Phil Spencer said Deptford was the best place to move in London right now.
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