The re-fit of the Chislehurst store was handled by a builder friend, as I didn’t have time to project-manage this one. I designed an industrial theme, with visible cable conduits and beautiful bespoke steel shelving (it needed to be beautiful at £60 a shelf)! The re-fit had a budget of £2300, and was completed on time in five weeks.
The first step was to strip out, back to a bare shell. The ceiling had been lowered about 4 times over the years, and I was delighted to gain metres of headroom as the false ceilings were ripped out and chucked in the skip.
It’s interesting to see trends change over the years – the thought of doing away with a beautifully high ceiling in a designer menswear store these days is weird! Whilst the refit was taking place I was reaching agreements with most of the brands I was dealing with, to stock the new store; Armani Jeans wanted to wait a season, and had to be signed off in Italy. I was able to stock Hackett, Lacoste Polos, D&G Jeans, Pringle (which I’d just picked up), and I was looking forward to arrivals from Diesel Jeans and G Star Jeans. But first, there was plenty of work to do: I had commissioned the creation of two fittings that would be the focal point for the new store, made from industrial RSJ beams, with chrome hanging rails. The shop ended with with a really fresh, bright “gallery” kind of ambience, and opened in October 2000, just in time for the Christmas build-up.
It takes a little while for a brand new shop-fit to look “lived in” as features are added, adapted and improved. It was probably a weakness of mine that I was always changing, face-lifting, decorating, which always had a cost. I firmly believe, though, that the store’s success was partly due to the constant adaptations and fresh looks that were created over the years.
Bagga Menswear – 2nd Store Opening – Autumn 2000,