Tuesday, March 22, 2011


Brooksfield is more than a just a retailer of sharply designed, good quality menswear. It’s also lifestyle portal for the discerning urban male.

The window display caught my attention whilst walking along Chapel Street on Sunday. I was busy snapping away on the iPhone, impressed with the “what’s your story?” concept, incorporating a noticeboard pinned with polaroids, pamphlets and maps covering everything from art, to bike parts, to a revealing shot of a woman sitting cross-legged.  The ever-patient boyfriend wandered inside for a closer inspection and thankfully I followed.

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The window concept has been carried right through the store. Each change-room, well lit with a stool, schoolboy grey curtains and large mirror also featured a pinboard with images tacked on representing the brand’s story. Another board fills a wall at the rear, where a large leather couch and chairs wait for customers to lounge. The backwall is occupied by an old timber plans cabinet littered with beautiful books for sale. The layout and visual merchandising scream “Ivy League Frat House hang out.”

The designers have cleverly integrated a mix of old Swedish furniture pieces with new fittings. Office lamps are cleverly positioned and pointed to highlight the product on shelves and racks. Accessories and books on design and art, amongst other things, have been merchandised into the range. They have taken every detail into consideration. Even thinking to turn around the rear mannequin in the window display so it faces back into the shop – a last ‘look’ for the customer to walk away with as they leave the store.

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Upon discussing the heritage of the brand with one of the guys in store, I realised I’d actually come across the label before. It was in a boring branded wall display in Myer Melbourne department store, pre renovation. And to be quite honest it looked and felt like every other middle of the range shirt and suit offering Myer presented. On Chapel St though, within this space, it really came into its own. 

This highlights the challenge facing young labels that are fortunate enough to picked up by a large retailer, but that don’t have a strong brand heritage. How do they differentiate their offering from competitors within such a small space? The importance of a flagship store in establishing brand identity cannot be underestimated.

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