5 designers that dover street market has championed
As its new Haymarket store opens to the public, we look back on 5 designers that DSM helped to break into the fashion stratosphere.
1. Andre Walker
Brooklyn-based Andre Walker had, of course, been designing clothes long before DSM was a twinkle in Rei Kawakubo and Adrian Joffe's eyes (he'd been serving as a consultant for Marc Jacobs, Louis Vuitton and Kim Jones for years). But it was at there -- at the opening of the New York store in 2014 -- that his designs first stood pride of place in an Actual Living Breathing Store after years of financial uncertainty. "They're crazy for including me!" he said. "And I'm supposed to be the crazy one." Have a read of our interview with him from the time here.
It's the ultimate DSM story: you're 20-years-old, you show Rei Kawakubo your designs and she doesn't pick them up to sell in the store, but gives you a job as a sales associate at Comme to keep you going. That's what happened to Simon Porte of Jacquemus and, six years on, his avant-garde silhouettes continue to be an important part of DSM DNA.
3. Molly Goddard
A relatively new addition to the DSM family, Central Saint Martins alumna Molly was enlisted to take over the window at its London flagship, as well as mount an installation in the New York store last summer. "We just proposed an idea and Rei Kawakubo approved it and then we could just go for it," said the young Londoner. "It's really nice that they are so flexible."
4. Simone Rocha
In what seems like a regular theme, Rei Kawakubo recognized the obvious promise in Simone Rocha when she visited the London Showrooms in Paris in 2012. The following year, the Irish designer was commissioned to create an installation for the store's spring reopening and the rest, as they say, is DSM history.
The Japanese brand's first retail outlet outside of Asia, Chitose Abe's DSM connection began by working with Rei Kawakubo at Comme and finished with a "shop-in-shop" at the London store in 2013. "Dover Street Market was one of the first stores to begin carrying my collection and I always loved the way the store displayed their merchandise as I felt it had great impact," says the designer. "The timing just felt right." Here's to many more years of breaking talent…
Photography Benjamin Fredrickson, Alasdair McLellan and Jason Lloyd-Evans