Open real estate does not last long in New York City. SoHo and Tribeca, once the home of industrial textile and food warehouses, have seen these abandoned spaces fill with artists in recent years. As an apropos exclamation on this migration, London’s Drake’s clothing store is moving in to maintain and to uplift this aesthetic.
Taking inspiration from artist studios, functional fittings at Drake’s are not hidden, but incorporated into installations at this new open concept Canal Street setup. Over a green and white Grand Harlequin-tiled floor, displays spin, slide, and pivot, creating a versatile approach to shopping at an iconic London retailer in the Big Apple. Industrial trolleys, platforms, and storage units — fabricated specifically for Drake’s newest store — serve as displays for seasonal collections as well as for a curated schedule of exhibitions featuring local artists and artwork.
Besides the Big Smoke (where the brand also manufactures most of its offerings), Drake’s features stores across world capitals: Paris, Seoul, Tokyo and now, New York City. Founded in 1977, the outfitter is known first for its fine, high-end neckwear. Drake’s also offers a healthy range of men’s accessories and ready-to-wear threads. The store’s goods make it worthy of a visit for anyone interested in upscale gentlemen’s tailored clothing. As of this October, this will also include a diversity of arts and crafts from local, New York artisans.
“New York has always felt like a second home and a constant source of inspiration for us at Drake’s,” Drake’s creative director Michael Hill said upon launch. “To be able to open a space on Canal (Street) and work alongside some of our favorite artists and collaborators is hugely exciting.”
The first artist exhibiting work is Brooklyn-based b. chehayeb, whose contemporary visual work orbits themes of memory, identity, and time. Her installed paintings — gestural abstractions that reference the histories of people, places, and sounds — will be on display at Drake’s “Open Studio” space through Nov. 21.
A look back through time sounds appropriate for joining the critical mass of galleries and real estate titans bringing life back into the not-vacant-for-long buildings upon their creaky tongue-and-groove wooden floors. SoHo and Tribeca, like so many parts of big cities, have gone through booms and busts, from early twentieth-century vitality to abandonment in the early 1960s to artists moving in only to abandon the place again for a few brief years in the 1980s.
According to the New York Times, there are now at least 41 galleries in TriBeCa, compared with fewer than 20 galleries two years ago. With still more set to move in, it’s a great time to visit Drake’s, whether for its classic style, for the industrial chic, or to take in just one of the many visual creatives who’ve reshaped and revitalized a vacated urban space.
Travelers from near and far can find Drake’s New York at 361 Canal St.
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