It would be easy to walk past Fabric’s new location on Teed Street in Newmarket. Besides the letters M, R, K and T and a small grated window bearing the word fabric, there’s nothing to suggest that a store lies behind the frosted glass doors at street front. “We’ll keep the doors open for the first few days,” said Marty, part-owner of Fabric, “but after that we’ll leave them closed.” It’s a cue taken from the Japanese approach to retail – at many of Comme Des Garcons’ flagship stores it’s seemingly impossible to find your way in, and if you can’t, the staff will leave you stranded outside. But I can’t imagine they’ll be that hard-line when it comes to the average Newmarket shopper. The M, R, K and T are pronounced Market (yes, as in Newmarket), and the store’s full name is MRKT by Fabric. “We didn’t want to just call this store Fabric,” said Marty, “and if we open any other ones in different locations we’ll call them all something different.”
Like the High Street store, you’re bombarded with the overwhelming scent of Comme candles, perfumes and incense the moment you walk in the door. It gives MRKT a lived in feel even though Marty and the team only opened for business this morning. The store itself is housed in the Hayes Foundry building next to Sunglass Bar and one over from Zambesi. It’s all polished concrete floors, exposed brick and copper pipes – far more industrial than High Street, so matching furniture was key. “Besides the white enamel boxes and tables, all the fittings in the store were shipped over to New Zealand from Los Angeles,” said Marty. “We bought them from a company specialising in original industrial pieces sourced from across the United States.” Make sure you check out the changing rooms – in true Fabric style they’re about four times bigger than normal and come fitted with a long seat running wall to wall. (Just long enough to take a nap on if you’re that way inclined.)
MRKT by Fabric will stock a selection of the same brands as the Fabric flagship (ACNE, Comme Play, April 77, Steven Alan and Red Wing among others, alongside magazines, accessories and fragrances, and they’re also the new exclusive stockists of Gubb and Mackie), but will specialise in denim for women and their specialised Americana style for men. “I counted and there are 10 stores for the fluffy-top wearing woman between here and Broadway,” said Marty. “So we’re not going to try and compete with them, we’re just going to do what we do and do it well.”
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