April 2012

Riverting Retail

Launched in 2010, niche retailer Wolf & Badger has since become one of the UK’s hippest hotbeds for rising design talents. On the eve of opening their newest outpost on London’s fashionable Dover Street, SVETLANA KNEZEVIC speaks with co founder Henry Graham about why Asia may be their next big step.

Every now and then, even in a glorious mecca of authentic shopping opportunities like London, there is a retail space worth shouting about. Wolf & Badger has already gained a steady reputation amongst the top British
and international journalists and buyers who are always on a lookout for the latest design talents, and have been frequenting this boutique on fashionable Ledbury Road in Notting Hill ever since it first launched in 2010. Conceptualised exclusively to house, promote and support up-and-coming designers, Wolf & Badger is the
brainchild of Henry and George Graham, two brothers who came up with the original idea of ‘service retail’, such as giving a retail space to talented, young designers for over a month for the same price as a weekend stall at some of the many
London markets. “In doing so, we have not only developed a much-needed support infrastructure for talented designers, but have also created an innovative and constantly evolving retail environment that has become a firm favourite amongst shoppers,” says George Graham, who was recently awarded the prestigious Young Entrepreneur of the Year 2011 at the CBI Growing Business Awards.
Only a few months after opening in 2010, Wolf & Badger were invited to host a pop-up in Selfridges, and the launch of their e-commerce site was soon to follow. In the summer of 2011, this unique retailer travelled for the duration of the high
season to their new store in Porto Montenegro, dubbed “the new port of cool” by the press. This month, an amazing brand new 2,000-plus sq-ft Wolf & Badger space is opening at 32 Dover Street, in the heart of London’s chicest shopping street – sharing a block with the likes of Rei Kawakubo’s game-changing Dover Street Market – making this a very accessible showroom and a gallery space for emerging brands.
The shop will feature a lower-ground floor space which can be accessed via a separate entrance with the interior designed by Augustus Brown, the architect of all Wolf & Badger’s outlets so far, including the coastal one at Porto Montenegro.
The Dover Street store will stock the best NEWGEN designers of recent years, including Lou Dalton, J JS Lee, Mark Fast, Bora Aksu and Jean-Pierre Braganza together with other carefully selected burgeoning luxury brands as well as a curated selection of independent designer ‘hero’ pieces from the innovative Wolf & Badger ‘Lab’ boutique in Notting Hill. “We are very excited to open our new flagship store on London’s Dover Street, a street famous for fashion forward retailers,” says Henry Graham. “Not only do we have a lot of clients from Asia, but we also stock some great brands from within the region including Heidi London [sunglasses] and J.JS Lee [womenswear]. There are a lot of outstanding designers coming from the Asian market and we hope to open a store in the region in the not-so-distant future, and as such, we are seeking a strategic partner for this expansion.”