The Berlin-based cult fashion magazine-cum-fashion label 032c will unveil its first stand-alone store, dubbed “032c Workshop,” on Saturday, July 23.
Designed by husband-and-wife duo Joerg and Maria Koch alongside Davide Rizzo Architects, the space features a gallery in the front. This exhibition will display rotating work by artists and collaborators, starting with Sterling Ruby, the Gagosian-represented artist and the designer behind S.R. STUDIO. LA. CA.
It’ll be “culture in the front, commerce in the back,” said Joerg Koch.
Located in Berlin’s lively Charlottenburg district, the store will serve as a hub for 032c’s creative following. It’s part of 032c’s wider ambitions of becoming a bona fide fashion brand, gunning for a spot on the official Paris Fashion Week calendar.
032c has dabbled in brick-and-mortar through pop-ups with Soho House, as well as opening an exhibition space and small store below its office in 2017.
“It’s one thing to talk about the network of 032c artists and creatives, but another thing is to actually bring it to Berlin and display it,” said Koch.
The company is also looking to take on funding for the first time. So far self-funded, 032c is currently in talks with investors and fashion companies with eyes on raising by the end of the year.
Beginning with the launch of T-shirts and sweats in 2016, then ready-to-wear in 2018, 032c’s fashion sales now represent much more of its business — 80 percent — than revenue generated by the magazine. Still, there are synergies between the two segments: 032c clothing gives the biannual magazine upsized visibility, which has boosted advertising, according to Koch.
As advertising budgets shrink, many media companies have tried their hand at retail. Most recently, Hypebeast unveiled a flagship in New York and Highsnobiety opened a store in Zurich’s airport. Koch thinks 032c’s take is differentiated because of its apparel business.
“It’s not like we’re slapping our logo on something. We have completely built up the ready-to-wear atelier,” said Koch.
Physical retail will be a crucial part of 032c’s ongoing strategy. Next up is a store in Seoul, opening in September, and Paris next year.