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Soho Speaks: Other/shop

While Soho is rightly famous for the many brands that make their home there, it’s important to remember that the area also has many small independent shops, to whom the bigger brands look for style direction. One such is the award-winning The OTHER/shop.

When SEEN visited recently, as part of the Soho Speaks series, it was to see a wonderful installation by talented artist Mehrnoosh Khadivi in the window – an intricate macramé throne entitled WHEN WE WERE QUEENS, and to hear an inspiring call to action by founder Matthew Murphy who feels passionate about a small retailer keeping a presence in the rapidly changing Soho environment. While it’s true to say that OTHER/shop has a thriving online presence, Matthew is keen to nurture a real relationship with loyal customers and collaborators alike who physically visit the shop. It’s as much about fostering a real community spirit as it is about selling cutting-edge design.

It is literally not just all about the money. It was SEEN’s impression that Matthew and partner Kirk Beattie took the idea of sustainability to the limit. Not just in the ethical sense about suppliers and working conditions but also nurturing the talented designers who sell their wares in their shop. The clothes are well-made, destined to be in wardrobes for years. This is witty, understated, androgynous chic that will endure. SEEN particularly loved the denim.

You have the sense that the OTHER/shop will remain a small but perfectly formed enterprise, perfectly able to reinvent itself with the times, but fêted in the same way that bigger and perhaps less accessible brands are. Where else could you go into a clothes shop and talk in such an informal way with the founder? SEEN found it very refreshing, this combination of indie design and down-to-earth approachability. Let’s hope others adopt the model, it’s what gives Soho its unique character, despite the inroads made by bigger brands in recent years. Long live OTHER/shop.

3 Berwick Street