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"Shopping With Four Pins" is an ongoing series in which Amardeep Singh takes us on a tour of the country's best shops. See them all here.
Part I: Hostem
London's Shoreditch neighborhood can be considered to run parallel to the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn in a bunch of different ways: rents are steadily rising and have for years as more and more luxury developments spring up, there seems to be at least one hip, trendy cafe on each block, everyone walks impossibly slow and traffic, both pedestrian and automotive, is abundant. But Shoreditch proved to a slight upgrade over Williamsburg on a couple fronts as it definitely has a leg up when it comes to public transit and accessibility, and, more relevant to readers of this wonderful universe called Four Pins (it's not a website, it's a lifestyle), there are way more cool shops. You might already be familiar with some of them through their e-commerce sites. Goodhood, Present London and Sneakersnstuff all are great shops with storefronts in Shoreditch and are all within a 10 minute walk of each other. These shops mix a tiny bit of high end menswear with lots of good, familiar streetwear staples.
Within this 10 minute radius is another shop, Hostem, that caught my attention for a couple of reasons. Firstly, the brand list is very strong (and very high-end), especially when viewed alongside its Shoreditch counterparts. Classic high-end favorites (or at least, personal favorites) like Yohji Yamamoto, Dries Van Noten, and Raf Simons indicated that Hostem's team knew what they were doing in regards to setting a tone for the style and direction of the shop. Secondly, they have a very mysterious digital presence. It almost sounds trite to say, but it's still interesting, as well as fairly confusing, to think about why a clothing store, much less a clothing store in the heart of London's shopping district carrying the kinds of brands that Hostem does, isn't very widely known, even in their home city. Beyond that, Hostem doesn't even have their own webshop (their items are listed on Farfetch though). There's much more value placed on the in-store experience than the digital one. There are a couple of ways this can be taken by potential customers in my eyes: One can either loathe the shop for creating a difficult process to buy your highly desired wears, or you can applaud the shop for taking a much more personal, holistic approach to retail. Clearly, I fall in the latter category, especially after visiting the shop and seeing the brands and pieces carried. It feels as if this isn't so much of a mystery-for-mystery's-sake approach and more of an attempt at adding some personal value to clothing that already has a lot of financial value.
Aside from concept and execution, the physical store itself is a gorgeous one. With a fragrance and apothecary store in the back, a second floor full of womenswear and sun-filled offices on the third floor, there's a good amount of space—way more than many of its neighbor—to browse around and immersed oneself in the shop experience. The entire shop definitely feels very thought out and considered, in a very good way. If I had less qualms about using the term "well-curated" in 2015, I'd use it here. Unfortunately, I found the ground men's floor to be the most disappointing part of the store, as it's far and away the dimmest lit, with the second room displaying more than half of the men's styles being especially dark. Lighting notwithstanding, Hostem is a unique store that displays the same kind of attention to customer experience and detail as, say, a flagship store might for any number of high-end menswear labels.
41-43 Redchurch Street, London E2 7DJ, United Kingdom
+44 20 7739 9733