After being opened for merely a year, the peeps down at Apartment where ready for a change, something bigger, something bolder, something way more classier than anyone in the world could have imagined. Jetting their architect/designer (lucky for them, they didn’t have to look far from their own family utilising their sister, Lani to do the job) off around the globe to take inspiration from the most prolific and stylish sneaker stores the world has to offer. The end result is a breathtaking mix of futuristic lighting with a luxurious mix of classy shop fits, leather couches, cobbled slate brick walls and not to forget, the most premium street wear apparel and footwear that Australia has to offer. It is designed to make you take a fantasy ride through the ultimate sneaker store experience, yet the Apartment Dwellers have made this fantasy a reality.
Give us some background as to who is involved in Apartment and how you guys put it together?
We've collected quite a crew since we opened. At the start it was just the two of us, myself (Ben) and my brother Nick, workin 7 days. Now we work with Trent Barton and Shaun Restorick of the Zero Hour Collective & Young Vo, a skate photographer who has started up our skate concept. We also have a good team, The Apartment Dwellers, who run the floor. Shout-outs to Matty (the official streetcat) for his straight up mad hussle, Rio, Azz, and Aleks.......... and us, still working 7 days.
Congrats on the new store refurbishing, it looks amazing! This is a totally new store isn't it?
Completely new. It’s everything we wanted complete with office space, design studio, photographic studio, and a sofa bed.
The new location looks a lot bigger – how will this change the way you present your product?
Presentation is everything. A space 10 times bigger than the last store and already we've filled the store. Now it’s a lot more minimal. Not so cluttered. We've planned the space to be multi-purpose as well. We will be able to launch art shows and the like once the space is completely finished.
It looks like some cool nightclub with mirrors and dark ceilings.The brands you stock must be stoked with the environment you've created. I’d say it is really up there with the best stores in the world. Is that how you see it?
Doesn't it. We were actually saying we should have put in a bar. There's a store in NYC called Lounge that had a bar out the back. This space actually used to be a club too called Babylon. It was before my time but apparently they had guys like the Jungle Brothers play through here. From the start though, we were trying to create something that could be compared to the best boutiques in the world. Before this store was built a world trip was funded and we sent our architect/ designer (our brilliant sister Lani) with a brief to check out all the best sneaker boutiques including Alife, Nom De Guerre, Firmament, Solebox, Foot Patrol, Colette and D-Mop. So the response has been great so far and we're hoping that with the improved space we can convince a few more of the more exclusive labels to jump on board.
And will Apartment #1 stay open?
Apartment #1 was scheduled to be demolished. Now it will just be memories. We'll send you the video of the deconstruction. We took care of it ourselves.
Brisbane isn't the first city that comes to mind when it comes to streetwear. You guys obviously have a lot of confidence in your business and the support must be there for you to invest so heavily in the new store... has Brisbane changed a lot in the past few years?
Brisbane has changed and will continue to change at breakneck speed. Our city is still developing its own style and identity. Once we move past this fluoro obsession, hopefully you'll see some more high-end style coming out of Brisbane. It is a fine balance though. Brisbane is still predominately fashion driven style wise. We still have to be aware of the market that we are in. New York or Tokyo street-wear would definitely struggle here.
There’s such a beach/surf focus due to your location but I see you have some decks on the wall. Skate is obviously part of your new direction?
The response to our skate department has been mega. We have Young to thank for that. We always knew it would complement the product mix really well. We’ve always found the art and the lifestyle to be of great interest with a huge respect for the culture. Our intent is to do what we have always done and offer a hand-picked selection of the best in everything and now that encompasses skate as well.
What's the initial reaction from international brands when you contact them?
We're still getting the word out with that one. The brands that have seen it seem to like it though. Hopefully once they see it on the Sneaker Freaker site they'll really lose their shit.
Any up and coming brands we should keep an eye on?
Locally, there is a brand called Grand Scheme, designed by a Brisbane street-based artist. His new season is really impressive and he has a few designs that he collaborated on with Aussie artist Anthony Lister. You should see a few of his designs dropping before the end of the year. Whilst on the topic of local, coming out of the Apartment works soon will be APTMNT the label and you'll be wearing it sooner than you think. We've been working on this since the beginning on the 8th day of each 7 day week. Internationally, we must mention, MadeMe, designed by Erin Magee, who has worked with Supreme and Umbro by Kim Jones, two labels we're quite fond of.
Is the reality of it all a bit harder than the dream you originally envisioned?
Not really. We haven't had a chance yet to sit back and enjoy it. Things keep coming up, that as well as the fact that the store is still not finished to the degree that we want it to be. Definitely keep your eyes out for happenings for the rest of the year and years to come. We still have many cards up our sleeve.
And finally, give us a list of brands you’ll be stocking.
The list is quite large now. So I'm just going to go with my favourites at the moment. The new Wood Wood range is awesome. Rittenhouse's current season, Trainer Spotter, Umbro by Kim Jones, Alife's coming clothing range, 10 Deep's coming season is killer, the new Feits, especially the desert boots. Also check out the coming Ubiqs.
Thank you for your support,
The Apartment Dwellers
Check out all the Apartment happenings at their equally stylish and informative website www.aptmnt.com