French label makes Oz debut

 

-4French fashion brand, A.P.C., has joined a growing list of international retailers debuting downunder in 2014, with the luxury label opening its first store in Melbourne.

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Opening its doors to the public on Friday (March 21) at QV Melbourne, the flagship is the first standalone presence for the high end label in Australia.

A.P.C.’s local market debut is in collaboration with local business partner and Sydney-based fashion retailer, Incu. The clothing retailer has been the main stockist for A.P.C. in Australia since 2006.

“The store was something that we had always discussed [with A.P.C.]. We’re really confident that it will do well, it already does really well instore at Incu,” Brian Wu, director of Incu, told Inside Retail PREMIUM.

Incu was also responsible for the Topshop store within a store concept prior to the UK fast fashion powerhouse making its standalone debut in Australia.

A.P.C. stands for Atelier de Production et de Creation, which translates to the workshop of production and of creation, and is known for minimalist designs and simple patterns.

There are more than 50 A.P.C. stores worldwide including Paris, London, New York, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Berlin, and Seoul.

“Going to A.P.C.’s other stores around the world, we thought there was definitely a gap in the market for something like that in Australia,” Wu said.

Incu has been scouting for sites for the brand in both Sydney and Melbourne for the past 12 months.

“It took a while to find something suitable that was in line with A.P.C.’s offering. Melbourne just happened to come up first.” Another A.P.C. is planned for Sydney, however, a location is yet to be found.

“We’re still hunting for a suitable location in Sydney but it’s becoming quite difficult.

“It has to been in line with A.P.C.’s branding and shopping centres are a no go for the business, which makes the city kind of a write off because unfortunately it’s pretty much dominated by shopping centres.

“We have to find a location that sits with A.P.C.’s aesthetic that we’re happy with, and something we see as being commercially viable as well, so it’s a challenge. It’s all about finding a balance. At this stage we’re still looking, but it’s definitely on the cards.

“A lot of A.P.C. stores try and integrate with the local community so we have to keep that in mind. They usually try and blend with the local lifestyle of their surroundings, so to find a space that has a similar alignment to their brand is really difficult.”

Like its clothing, A.P.C.’s store design follows a minimalist approach. QV Melbourne will replicate the A.P.C’s global retail blueprint and will stock around 90 per cent of its current range, with price points ranging from $90 to up to more than $1500.

Although a challenge, Wu expects to open a second A.P.C. store in Sydney within the next 12 months.

“The main aim is to get Melbourne and Sydney both up and running and have one in each city for now. We’d like to open in Sydney within the next 12 months.”

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