With successful retail ventures in London and Tokyo, COMME des GARCONS‘ Dover Street Market is being established in another global fashion capital: New York City. Adrian Joffe, CEO of COMME des GARCONS, spoke in a recent interview about the joint decision to locate the store in an abandoned building, his thoughts on creativity, and the brand’s creative process. Together with Rei Kawakubo, Joffe has created one of the most celebrated and unique retail experiences with Dover Street Market. In this interview, he previews how this location may be the most surprising chapter yet in the store’s enthralling story. Select excerpts appear below while the entirety of the interview can be read here.
Congratulations on the forthcoming Dover Street Market. Tell me a little bit about how it came to be. How do you think it will fit into the current retail scene in New York?
A friend lives nearby and suggested that we look at this building. We saw it and fell in love with it. The size was perfect, the history interesting, and the building itself is dramatic and strong. I think there is nothing like Dover Street Market in New York right now, so we are hoping it will make a nice addition to the retail scene, although we are not too bothered about fitting in as such.
Much has been made of its unusual location, though DSM has something of a history selecting – and then elevating – unusual neighborhoods. Was the space chosen with this in mind?
I guess it was. We were not particularly looking in the neighborhood. We were open to all areas. We really decided this because of the building itself—although, I must admit the fact of its location and the absence of fashion here was an added bonus.
How will the New York Dover Street Market relate to its counterparts in London and in Tokyo, in terms of design and in terms of product?
We are now demolishing everything inside, and then Rei Kawakubo will visit and then start the design. We do not want it to be a mere version of the two existing ones. It has to be new and peculiar to New York. It is important for us to never “copy conform” but create new individual spaces whenever we do a shop—that takes into account the spirit of the city and surrounding area. London is very London and Tokyo very Tokyo. We aim for this one to be very New York, even in an abstract sense.