Perhaps it was inevitable. Apartment and Violent Green have such a shared history – from both getting their start in Elizabeth Arcade back in the 2000s, to most recently divvying up a lease on Albert Street – that maybe they were always going to make it official.
But Ben Chiu doesn’t see it that way. “It actually only came up not that long ago,” he says. “When we had to find a new space again because of the Albert Street move [forced upon Violent Green and Apartment because of Cross River Rail resumptions], we thought becoming one store could work for a number of reasons, one being that if we work together we can achieve more. Putting egos and our own individual success aside, we can create something greater than the sum of our parts.”
The result is Double Double, which was officially unveiled late last week (although the shop itself has been running since November). Ben and his brother Nick Chiu, former owners of Apartment, have formalised their collaborative friendship with Violent Green’s Simon and Kimberley Sun in an old first level tenancy above the Westpac bank on Queen Street Mall.
The new store, with its simplified layout and large windows overlooking the mall, is slightly bigger than the combined Albert Street tenancy. But Ben says Double Double is really about growth of a different kind.
“We wanted to grow the physical store but also the website side of things,” he says. “Working together, we can expand our resources and people power and work on achieving our goals together … [Also], with four of us at the top you can share the load a little more, to the point where we can actually have a few days off every now and then.”
For the Chius, Apartment was always at the centre of a bunch of different interests, including Ben’s Burgers and the A Love Supreme record store and club nights. Ben says Double Double will now take on that mothership role, with office space at the back of the store providing a place for the Chius and the Suns to work on different projects. “We’re trying to focus on community type projects and things like that with Double Double, as well as the music related stuff.”
Otherwise, the new store stocks many of the brands known from Apartment and Violent Green – think APC, Commes des Garçons, Stone Island, WTAPS and Neighborhood – but also a bunch of new names that come with the broadened purview, such as Paloma Wool, Baserange, Undercover, N. Hoolywood and Sunnei.
“It wasn’t tough to combine the stores. It’s been a good middle ground between where they wanted to go and where we wanted to go,” Ben says. “Violent Green and Apartment were individual but used to complement each other. Now it’s a matter of bringing that together into a single identity that works as a meld of the two.”
Level 1, 115 Queen Street, Brisbane
(07) 3210 2003
Mon to Thu 10am–6pm