Shop Report: Afew Store Interview
Afew Store is back and better than ever! The German retailer has given their Dusseldorf store a major facelift and incorporated a stack of innovative new features. On the eve of the release of Afew’s latest colab, the ‘Highly Addictive’ Diadora V7000, we caught up with the store’s owners, brothers Andreas and Marco Biergen, to get the scoop on the new fit-out.
Nice bonsai tree. Do we suspect a little bit of Japanese influence in the new design?
There sure is! We are located in Duesseldorf’s Japanese quarter, so we are surrounded by Japanese influence every day. It definitely carried over to the store’s design. We have created a shop that combines traditional Japanese elements with modern innovation.
Speaking of Japan, you always seem to have something special for Japan Day. Anything planned for this year?
Since 2012, every Japan Day has been celebrated at Afew in one way or another. The highlight was the release of our ‘Koi’ ASICS GEL-Lyte III collaboration in 2015. We have another event and project lined up for this year, but at the moment our full focus has been on the re-opening of the store and the release of our upcoming ‘Highly Addictive’ Diadora V7000. You can definitely expect something special for Japan Day later this year, but we’re keeping that one a secret!
It looks like you’ve gone pretty high-tech with the new store.
After almost nine years, we decided it was time for an update. We tried to keep it very innovative and modern, to make shopping at Afew exciting and even easier. Now, our customers can help themselves with our new media stations. They can scan the shoe they’re interested in and see which sizes are available. They can even see how the shoe looks on feet! When they use the ‘try on’ button, the shoe is brought out to the shop floor. The other major feature in the new store is the introduction of magnetic walls. These make the store completely modular and we are able to change the layout of the entire store in just minutes. This makes it super easy to host events, parties and even concerts in our new flagship store.
The store puts off an insane glow at night! It’s not radioactive is it?
I am not sure about that… [Laughs] Only kidding! The glow-in-the-dark floor gives the store a unique look. At night it glows very strong, so we can do midnight releases and events without even turning the store’s lights on.
You’ve got some serious heat on the shelves.
At the moment the shoes are just for decoration, but we plan to open a consignment area in May. People can bring us their shoes, we will check them and then offer them for sale in the store.
You won’t be peddling Yeezys out the backdoor now will you? [Laughs]
Definitely not! We plan for the consignment area to offer older kicks that are hard to find. We will never offer shoes that have just been released.
Looks like you’ve already got some seriously rare vintage pairs in stock.
We love our vintage collection. Right now it seems that everybody is only looking for Yeezys and collaborations. We hope to show everybody who visits our store that there is more to sneakers than that. We hope to always keep the store stocked with plenty of vintage heat.
Why did you decide to branch out into consignment sales?
Our main business will still focus on the latest releases. The consignment sales are just a small addition of that. Nowadays, you can find the same shoes in stores all around the world. It isn’t as exciting as it once was to check out stores in other cities and countries, because most of them have the same product. For us, it has always been a highlight to visit places like Flight Club and KICKS LAB for example and to see some of our grails on the shelves. This was why we decided to introduce a consignment area to our new store too.
What other sort of product will the store be stocking?
Beside sneakers, we are selling some clothes and accessories. We have also teamed up with our friend Selim, who is one of the biggest toy and street art collectors in the world. Together we will launch a special Toykio area in our store, where will offer toys and art as well.
So, where can we find the store?
The store is located in Duesseldorf, Germany, right next to the city centre in the Japanese quarter. If you like Japanese food and lifestyle, we would recommend checking out the entire area when you visit the store. There are so many great restaurants and cafes around here, as well as some other good shops besides ours. We’ll be sure to give you all the best insider tips!