Retailers’ enthusiasm often also holds a secret folder, which contains an early dream of launching their own in house ready-to-wear brand. Their daily exercises advising clients with the mirror is the inspiration for that easily acquired confidence in thinking about diverting their business into further expansion. It is that attribute– knowing what really works for consumers– that allows them to focus and compress the vast amount of products that fashion offers into a briefer story through the transfiguration of a store and the role of artistic director.
We have always found this store’s type of governing voice rather enchanting when standing behind the changing room’s curtains. It often feels like the only place on earth where fashion is taken extremely sincerely. But what does it look like when the journey is reversed? In this case, what happens when the deepest inner soul of a slow-fashion brand challenges itself to become a post-pandemic physical store? And which cuts and details does this operation we all need more guidance and protection from, imply?
Rotterdam’s newly opened store, Devastator, is an example of this mutation. It is a case in point on how intersectional the split between designing their own leftover materials brand– Devastator Tailormade since 2016 –and searching for aligned partners (called partners’ transparent niche fashion brands) can be. It took some serious curatorial time for its founders Arij den Otter (market and face-to-face customer experiences wizard) and Erik Bosman (costume designer at Theater Rotterdam) to figure it all out before we heard about their definitive jump into retail.
Devastator is a true example of what a multibrand physical store should look like: no more than a few artisanal designers and plenty of narrative for touching the customer’s inner joy.
We all counted down and patiently waited for its opening as though it were the launch of a new book on tenderness and handcrafted beauty. The result opened on 02.02.2022 and there we learned of Devastator’s brand list or (to put it nicely) carte du sélection, a reference to the thinking involved rather than constant swings. In fact, the product selection you can see through their social media channels doesn’t give a damn about fashion’s thirsty spheres, which are constantly selling, to zombie shoppers. And that’s the point where we, as clients, get hooked on their selection: Arij and Erik spent time tenaciously editing upper brands, which are now available at their Rotterdam store:
NUDE: MASAHIKO MARUYAMA – Tokyo
TOOGOOD – London
THE VIRIDI-ANNE – Tokyo
ADIEU – Paris
JOE CHIA – Singapore
WERKSTATT:MÜNCHEN – Munich
JOUEZ LES ENFANTS – Amsterdam
MAD ET LEN – Paris
A.G. NAUTA COUTURE – Amsterdam
NISHIGUCHI KUTSUSHITA – Katsuragi
DEVASTATOR – Rotterdam
Amazingly, the grow-bigger-but-still-stay-small recipe seems to have perfectly fit what Devastator is trying to do in order to deliver real customer service to us all. That is, an eco-conscious, crossbreed space where the shop and atelier speak on behalf of its international partners combined with their own brand. All garments appear to be handmade around the atelier and not imported. Here, sustainability is not just a marketing strategy, but freshens the air along with other French fragrances to enjoy while inspecting their substantial racks.
Visit their e-store here!
Marcelo Horacio Maquieira Piriz
DEVASTATOR – @devastator_tailormade
Photos: © Deneuve