View all Lifestyle in Issue B

B-STORE

Founded as a footwear line in 2001 by Matthew Murphy, José Neves and Kirk Beattie, b Store has grown not only to encompass men’s and women’s collections so delectable you’re not sure how your wardrobe coped without them; but also a magazine, and of course the store itself, which just so happens to be Savile Row’s coolest hangout.

TWENTY6 caught up with founder and creative director Matthew Murphy and b Magazine editor Dal Chodha to learn a little more about the brand that just keeps giving.

Interview with Matthew Murphy - founder and creative director.

How did you meet Kirk and José and what led you to collectively launching b Store?

I met Kirk in almost what seems a prior life. We both lived and worked in Kent. Our paths crossed over mutual likes and inspirations that our friends and peers thought were odd. We became friends through 'not fitting in' and built a relationship from that point. We then went our separate ways, but picked up a few years later, after my chance meeting with José and a joint decision to start b Store all together. Our roles have changed since the initial stages of b Store but currently Kirk runs the retail operations and designs the menswear with myself, José is the founder and although still our partner, due to other business commitments, has become a non executive, which leaves myself with the bold title of b Store brand/creative director!
 

What defines B Store's take on fashion?

‘High end fashion' has never been a concern of ours. Individuality is a key to our ethos. I feel we exist on the fringe of the high end as the distant relative. We always wanted to create a brand and store that was independent from trends and fashion fads; that was able to appeal to a wide variety of people.

How does the shop itself represent your philosophy?

b Store is a flagship, it is our way of communicating our message, representing and showcasing the things we love and which inspire us, that we believe our consumer will also find inspiring. Direct contact with the b Store consumer is the most important thing. We have to understand who this person is, their likes and needs, to ignore this means you are only really creating for yourselves.

What inspired you to launch B Magazine?

We wanted to create a way of documenting all the amazing people we have met along the way, to give those creatives a vehicle to express their thoughts, a voice. I truly think through the great work that the team have achieved with the magazine, it has an independent voice, opinion and outlook to most current titles.

Talk us through the AW b Store collections....

The men’s is a continuation of our original ethos, to create a staple, wearable, modern man's wardrobe. Each season brings new ideas but fundamentally the silhouette and foundations of the collection don't dramatically change, they just evolve.

Our intention is never to challenge but to inspire. Each season has a design inspiration point and AW came from Gus van Sant's My Own Private Idaho. The inspiration was a direct aesthetic reference to both River Phoenix and Keanu Reeves’ characters in the movie; from double breasted cotton twill blazers and boiled wool biker jackets, to western denim jackets with shearling collars and beaten up biker/desert boots.

The women’s collection was more complex. It has to re-invent itself each season but with an underlying consistency that creates a signature look. AW inspiration came from a starting point of the 'provincial goth girl'; moody, cool and hated and loved in equal measures by others. She wears, with slouchy confidence, a mustard wool jersey maxi dress, black velvet, fake astrakhan oversized coats, heavy wedges and flat monkey boots.

What, to you, defines London style?

Individuality, opportunity and risk taking

Where is your favourite place in the city?

Soho...it was my introduction to London nightlife and culture and holds many fond memories.

What one item of clothing should exist in every wardrobe?

A white t-shirt

Whose wardrobe would you most like to raid?

Late seventies to mid eighties David Bowie

What's next for b Store?

A bright future—New store, international pop up stores, collaborations with Gloverall and Underground shoes, a huge tenth anniversary party, the launch of the 10 for 10 project, the fifth issue of the magazine and an exciting fashion project with Absolut.

What were your ambitions and aspirations at the age of 26?

To stay awake at work on Mondays after partying from Thursday evening!

Pick a word beginning with the letter 'B' which best sums you up...

Blessed

For each letter of the alphabet, pick a word that inspires you.

A - AIR
B - BOWIE
C - CUNNING
D - DRIVEN
E - ELOQUENT
F - FICTION
G - GRACE
H - HAPPY
I - INTERESTING
J - JAPAN
K - KLEIN (blue)
L - LOST
M - MOVEMENT
N - NICHE
O - OPPORTUNITY
P - PERFECT
Q - QUALITY
R - RETROSPECT
S - SILVER
T - TONIGHT
U - UNEXPLAINED
V - VOID
W - WATER
X - XTC
Y - YESTERDAY
Z - ZODIAC


Interview with Dal Chodha - Editor of b Magazine.

How and when did yourself and fashion editor Jason Hughes get involved with b Store and b Magazine?

Jason has worked with Matthew and Kirk on the store's menswear line since its inception several seasons ago.  Today the b collection has grown so much to include womenswear and small leather accessories and with the increased number of books being sold at the store, it was natural that the brand would move into publishing its own magazine.

I have known Jason for a number of years as I worked with him on SAM Magazine as Features Editor. Both Jason and myself have worked in the industry for a number of years and both contribute to other magazines too, we pitched the concept of creating a magazine to embrace the b Store lifestyle to Matthew and Kirk and they left us to it.

We love the magazine, especially its focus on real, inspirational people and the worlds they create. Does the magazine have a philosophy in terms of content?

Jason and I were very clear from the start that we weren’t trying to ‘reinvent the wheel’ – we just wanted to make a great magazine and cut through all of the pretentions you see on a lot of magazine shelves today. Who needs another fashion magazine!? Our message has always been to expose the b world. It’s not just clothing – it’s music, it’s art, it’s architecture. The b Store has been a hub for so many creative conversations and we wanted to cultivate those conversations and present them as something more tangible.

We don’t need to use the magazine to sell products – we use it to inform. The fashion direction has to have a level of approachability to it also and we’re inspired by the different people we see coming into the store, wearing the label in different ways. That’s who the b boy and girl are – YOU.

Who is the b Magazine reader?

As I said above, they’re someone with aesthetic maturity and a thirst for more and there is a real restraint in what we do with the features in the magazine. As Editor, I don’t want to tell the reader EVERYTHING. There has to be a point where we pass the onus onto you. For example, if you liked the sound of a book we may have mentioned, we won’t show you what the book looks like – you should want to go and seek it yourself. Everything is so available now and in some way, the magazine tries to hold back in being a ‘show all and tell all’ fanzine.

What, to you, sets London apart from other capital cities?

London’s a cultural, social and political mess and with all of these disparate elements converging, so many exciting smells, colours and experiences arise and that’s hugely inspiring to all creative people living and working here. We also have a uniquely diplomatic fashion scene – you see people running up Savile Row into Lanvin with Primark and Topshop carrier bags, which in some way really creates an exciting landscape. We also have some incredible art collections that cost nothing to explore.

Who or what inspires you?

Hardworking creative people who continue to create work that has integrity and impact inspire us. A lot of the people we speak to in b Magazine are hugely successful but known only by a select few, so our challenge is to increase awareness and understanding of their work but without loosing that sense of uniqueness, which is paramount.

What were/are your ambitions and aspirations at the age of 26?

To be happy, with a roof over my head and at least three Marni shirts in the closet.

Pick a word beginning with the letter 'B' which best sums you up...

Buoyant

For each letter of the alphabet, pick a word that inspires you.

A - AZZEDINE ALAÏA
B - BUTTERFIELD 8
C - CAMILLE PAGLIA 
D - DENIM
E - ERYKAH BADU
F - FASHION
G - GUY BOURDIN
H - HITCHCOCK
I - IAN BATTEN
J - JUDITH WATT
K - KENNETH WILLIAMS
L - LILLIAN BASSMAN
M - MARNI
N - NAKED
O - OPINE
P - PUG
Q - QUALITY
R - RIBALDRY
S - STATIONERY
T - TIPPI HEDREN
U - UNISEX
V - VERMILLION
W - WHITNEY HOUSTON
X - XOXO
Y - YVES SAINT LAURENT
Z - ZEPHYR

Shop online at shop.bstorelondon.com  Buy and view past issues of b Magazine at bstoremagazine.com

INTERVIEWS/LAURA CLAYTON
Images courtesy of b Store, b Store Magazine and Coville-Walker