Australian fashion label Jac+ Jack has opened its first international store in inner-city London.
Lisa “Jack” Dempsey, who founded the luxe-knitwear label more than 10 years ago with friend and business partner Jacqueline Hunt, says the reception to the store has been, “Very supportive and very encouraging” since it opened in April.
The new Jac+ Jack outpost is located in Ham Yard Village, a new precinct developed by Firmdale Hotels in a previously neglected patch of Soho. Attached to the luxury 91-room Ham Yard Hotel, the store is perfectly placed to expose the label to a new set of international customers.
Jac+ Jack was invited to join Ham Yard Village’s 12 other boutique stores by Firmdale, which was looking for brands not readily available in London to fill the carefully curated retail strip.
“The Ham Yard Village centres around a leafy courtyard anchored by a bronze work by Turner Prize-winning artist Tony Cragg,” says Dempsey. “The stores are an eclectic assortment but a considered one, from an artisan tea store also selling fine handmade Italian ceramics and a specialist eyewear store, to a Japanese restaurant and a Brazillian swimwear brand.”
Among its new Ham Yard Village neighbours is another favourite Australian brand doing well on the global stage, Dinosaur Designs. It’s a “happy coincidence” that the two Aussie labels – which have collaborated on past projects – share the same Great Windmill Street address.
Sydney interior architect George Livissianis provided the design for the Soho store. Livissianis, who designed the interiors of Jac+ Jack’s Australian stores, used a neutral palette and high quality materials to create a space Dempsey calls “calm” and “intimate”.
“George describes the store as innately Jac+ Jack,” she says. “He draws inspiration from the brand and product and worked with a familiar material palette including Arabascato marble, birch ply wood, blackened steel and concrete all softened with grey Belgian linen, echoing while evolving the feel of our Australian stores.”
The brand’s expansion is a welcome piece of good news for the local fashion industry, which in recent times has suffered a series of high-profile closures. Dempsey says it’s difficult to explain precisely why the brand is defying the downward trend in retail.
“It’s hard to say exactly. We try to be consistent,” she offers. “We’re quietly obsessed with quality. We want to make pieces people love to wear, and wear. It must be working.”