Mark Batista, co-founder of new men’s lifestyle store Content & Co, used to work in Paul Smith’s warehouse, packing ties. That was in 1993. By ’95, he was part of the eight-man team that set up Diesel. That’s a good two years by anyone’s standards. His latest venture is his third menswear shop (he’s also behind Number Six on Brick Lane and The Content Store, which opened in Lambs Conduit Street in March last year). So you could say he knows men’s fashion from the bottom up (or the top button down, if you prefer).
It was at Paul Smith that Batista first met the creative director of iconic Japanese denim brand Rey Gautier – with whom he’s just opened this neat little spot on Exmouth Market, just a few doors down from Edwin Europe’s own HQ.
Occupying the space of the former and much loved Clerkenwell Tales bookshop (‘Don’t worry, we didn’t kick him out and burn all his books – he got married and moved to Canada,’ Batista says), the shop is bright, cool, understated. And undeniably manly, with a pale grey palette, functional shelving units, and no unnecessary design frills. A selection of jeans hangs from industrial metal hooks by the window.
‘Rey and I had the conversation about opening a store in April,’ Mark tells me. And a mere seven months later, a shop was opened – miraculous, in London retail terms. Content & Co is, essentially, a project born of two friends’ passion for clothes. And denim in particular. There’s a lot of it here, mainly from Edwin (of which this shop will be the prime stockist outside of its standalone store in Shoreditch), with prices from £80 for five-pocket jeans. There’s practically every type of denim imaginable for sale, from unwashed Japanese selvedge to Italian sanforized. And this is the kind of place that would appeal to guys who know what those terms mean.
As well as the blues, there’s a healthy selection of other stylish men’s garb, including fishermen sweaters from Danish brand SNS Herning (from £165), sturdy rubber-soled boots from Red Wing (from £199) and handsome Sandqvist holdalls (from £95). You’ll also find less easily available pieces – exclusive Edwin T-shirts and rare deck shoes by Japanese label Ayame. ‘The “& Co” bit of our name refers to the fact that we’ll be hosting collaborations here,’ says Mark. ‘This place is somewhere we can try brands out that are perhaps more directional than what we have in the other Content store.’
The cohesive aesthetic of the shop will be helpful to those chaps who are clueless about shopping. Every item looks as if it’s come out of the same closet, in a good way. It’s like walking into the capsule wardrobe of a very stylish man. Real attention has been paid to details, from the glossy lifestyle mags scattered around, to the little gifts on sale, like retro-packaged tubes of Marvis toothpaste. Sourcing products, Mark admits, is a bit of a guilty pleasure. ‘I’m nerdy. I’m basically obsessed with looking new products up on the internet.’ There are worse internet habits to have.
|Venue name:||Content & Co.|
30 Exmouth Market
|Opening hours:||11am-7pm Mon-Fri; noon-5pm Sun|
|Do you own this business?|
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