When asked if he was nervous about opening his first store, the freesports mogul Franck Bywalski replies in typical daredevil style:
‘Not really. It’s like surfing – if a wave comes, and you don’t commit, you will fall off the board. I was confident it would work.’ He has made the unusual move of setting up a store dedicated to the freesports lifestyle in the middle of Shoreditch - miles away from anywhere you could lay a surfboard, much less a snowboard. But this compact store in the heart of medialand is selling much more than waterproof cameras and surf dvds - it's selling the lifestyle to a bunch of media dudes that never really grew up. They come in looking for laid back denim shirts, for gadgetty things to attach to their phones, for a sit down with a nice screening of waves crashing in black and white celluloid. ‘I came to Redchurch Street three years ago, and I fell in love with it. I came out of a bar with my young son, a guy was doing a graffiti and he asked if we wanted to have a go. I took the can, never done it before. I felt like a child!' Explains Franck: 'There is a sense of freedom, so it’s perfect for us. You can’t get on a surfboard here – and we don’t sell surfboards – but we can sell the dream.’ Every brand here has a film that tells its tale – like Rain (a Danish rainwear brand). Each label display has an Apple screen to show a film on loop. Rain's is a beautiful short of hunky Danish chaps facing the elements in style. The store welcomes the idea of pop-ups, store takeovers, movie launches, and the furniture and fittings are all designed to come away quickly and provide a blank canvas for new projects. Exactly the kind of laid-back, creative mentality that will chime perfectly with the advertising/publishing/new media demographic.