The owner of a brand new fashion business in which customers will own their own unique design after purchasing from the store, has told MyLondon he doesn’t want people to be able to tell what he does from the outside, instead seeking to bring creativity and uniqueness to the streets.
Couture, a fashion and alterations shop on Deptford High Street is owned by 27-year-old Richie or, to use his brand name, Köl. The designer makes unique items from his own patterns, as well as offering repairs and repurposing services. He can also adjust your clothing and always creates a new design for any item, rather than merely repairing it as it was.
He said: “Local creatives will come in, 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 in to see. I want people to say: ‘What’s the deal?'”
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(Image: Elizabeth Haigh)
Richie runs the shop, which has been open just three-and-a-half weeks, alongside partner Summah Richardson. The pair spent a month renovating the premises prior to opening their doors. Richie said: “We spent the whole first month just renovating, it was a bit of a mess. We’ve had to change heads from construction to electrician to carpenter. The idea behind the shop design is there’s no faff, there’s just the clothes.”
Summah is a student of architect and designs furniture, so designed all of the shop’s furniture herself. She often keeps Richie company and is on hand to cover the business while he visits fabric shops, markets and haberdasheries.
Richie said: “The shop is made up of handmade designs and some from my own patterns as well. There’s a rack for people to purchase from.
(Image: Elizabeth Haigh)
“I’m also offering repairs and repurposing , which has taken off quite a lot in the neighbourhood. I think because of the market here, people will buy second hand stuff and bring it here to get it snazzed up a bit. The repurposing side of things, if people have old jeans they don’t wear we’ll make it into a bag, a jacket, anything really.”
He added: “If you buy anything then basically you own that design with that colour scheme. And for example if they don’t drape like you want them to I can retailor it to your size. If you buy a piece here you won’t see anyone walking down the street in the same fabric and design.”
Couture is already luring people of various ages through its doors, but young professionals seem to be the core of his customers: “It’s surprising. I feel like young people may still be sussing out what the vibe of it is. Late 20s to early 30s are coming in and they’re probably the most interested in the products. With the repairs and alterations it tends to be 30s, 40s plus.”
‘Köl’s’ mother comes from Argentina where shops that repurpose and alter existing garments are far more common than in the UK. According to the designer, he has received a lot of support from people from the local Nigerian community too.
“The Nigerian community has been really supportive. I’ve got a friend from Nigeria and I think it’s because it’s quite common in Nigeria to have things like this. They seem to get the vibe a bit more.”
On running the shop as a couple, Summah was modest about her contribution: “I’m just here to keep him company basically.”
But Richie said: “She’s like a shop lucky charm. It’s just me in here making the stuff for now, so it’s nice when someone else can be here. She’s been my rock.”
Richie added he hopes other young creatives will join him in opening up shops targeted towards the younger population. His shop opened just as Location, Location, Location presenter Phil Spencer said Deptford is the best place to move to in London at the moment.
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