Rents are another subject close to any retailer’s heart. In central London, it appears that it’s now almost impossible for independent stores to exist, let alone prosper. Covent Garden, Soho, even the once-affordable East End is now gentrified to the point of excluding all but the most well-backed operators. That means more of the same-o same-o on sale-o with clusters of blue-chip fashion names glued together in the same pattern.
Jay Gordon from Bodega in Boston also agrees. “We’re living in a world that is becoming one giant corporate logo... Support your local sneaker stores and skate shops because wherever you live, there’s a chain store waiting in the wings to fill the void.”
Seventeen years after he wrote The McDonaldization of Society, George Ritzer’s theory is even more relevant. Diversity is the key to the health of any eco-system and London seems to be the bellwether of a global epidemic.
Forty years ago, Carnaby Street was the epicentre of swinging London. Five years ago, it was a haven for stores selling punk and junk to continental tourists, excited by the unique UK flavor of this weirdly eclectic street. It had a youthful vibrancy, but it wasn’t cool either, certainly not by today’s streamlined standards. Today Carnaby Street has been ‘pedestrianised’ – it’s an immaculately paved street populated by concept stores that can be found anywhere in London, and the world for that matter.
Like many places it has lost any sense of having a unique identity.
Check out our next feature: HOW TO LACE YOUR SNEAKERS!