Independent stores are also good for a city’s creativity index. Musicians, painters, film makers, artisans, designers, dreamers and schemers... the cultural contribution of a small group of individuals to even a giant city can be immense.
Twenty years ago, a small London streetwear store known as Bond International sprung up on Newburgh Street, (incidentally just off Carnaby Street). With a slogan that read “For the one percenters who want it one hundred percent pure”, Bond introduced many firsts into the UK, including Stussy, Fuct, Giant, Obey, Pervert, Supreme, A Bathing Ape and Silas amongst others.
Surprisingly it was the park bench outside Bond that became the real institution, a meeting place of some of the most influential young people in London today. Anyone who sat on that bench to shoot the breeze would vouch for that. Sadly Bond now exists only as an online entity, an example of the deeper malaise that has touched all in the biz.
Whilst it is true nostalgia won’t pay the bills and landlords have every right to profit from their investment, the closure of stores like Bond at bricks-and-mortar level is a tangible loss that goes beyond mere access to Stussy.
The communal aspect they foster is important as a breeding ground for kids on the way up, many of whom become entrepreneurs themselves. Others join the staff at corporations where they are able to add fresh opinion and street know-how into the mix.
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