Jack Spade started out with just one product: the ‘dipped coal’ bag. The tote-style sack was (and still is) hand-dipped in latex, and originally sold through hardware shops. That was back in 1996 – since then, the brand has steadily grown into a small chain of cult US stores and, in the last two years, created a strong line of men’s apparel to join its collection of bags and accessories.
Its only European boutique has just opened in London and succinctly demonstrates why Jack Spade has been such a hit in the States. Immaculate styling is the first thing that strikes you. Every item is arranged just so, with precision-placed products on reclaimed, utilitarian tables. That’s not to say it has the feel of an intimidating designer showroom: it’s actually quite a warm, accessible atmosphere with trendy and smiley staff to boot. The theme – mid-twentieth-century hardware store – runs throughout the fittings and stock. Peg boards (usually used to display hammers and bags of bolts) carry check shirts, two-tone polo T-shirts and casual blazers. Workman’s boots (given a gentlemanly twist) are arranged alongside durable bags for laptops and satchels for the style-conscious urban working man.