Shaftesbury reveals A State of Nature as winner of Soho retail ‘Incubator Project’
London landlord Shaftesbury has today announced A State of Nature as the winner of its Soho ‘Incubator Project’ competition, giving the upcoming British label a rent-free pop-up shop.
Located at 99 Berwick Street in Soho, the 658 sq ft pop-up will open on 2 December 2022 for a period of three months.
The Shaftesbury competition gave budding young brands across fashion, fitness, beauty and lifestyle the chance to pitch for their first real shot at retail in what is perhaps London’s most sought-after retail destination.
All entrants were judged upon their sustainability credentials, strength of business, social media and marketing plans, creativity, design excellence and consumer appeal.
The judging panel was made up of Grazia Shopping Editor, Julia Harvey, Contributing Editor at TheIndustry.fashion, Tom Bottomley, Creative Director at RÆBURN, Christopher Raeburn, Shaftesbury Retail Director, Samantha Bain-Mollison, Shaftesbury Head of Retail Activations, Emma Steele, and Shaftesbury Head of Sustainability, Matt Smith.
Shaftesbury Retail Director, Samantha Bain-Mollison, said: “We are delighted to welcome the winner of ‘The Incubator Project’; A State of Nature. When looking to bring brands into Soho we are always looking for different and exciting concepts that can also offer sustainability and inclusivity credentials that are important to us here at Shaftesbury. We are excited to see how A State of Nature will progress in Soho in the already thriving retail mix.”
A State of Nature was founded in 2020 by Nick Eisa and Barbara Fidler-Wieruszewska, and its unisex collection includes outerwear, shirts, trousers and accessories, all ethically handmade in London by skilled craftspeople using premium British and Italian cloths.
The designs are inspired by traditional workwear, with a focus on comfort and loose fits. Hero products include 100% silk screen printed scarves designed by illustrator and printmaker Mark Hearld, herringbone weave waistcoats and eight-wale heavy cord trousers and gilets, with clothing prices starting from £95.
Nick Eisa commented: “It was such a thrill to hear that we'd won the competition, especially since we were competing with so many equally deserving young brands. Barbara and I both cut our teeth in the bespoke world of Mayfair and Savile Row. We started A State of Nature because we wanted to provide the high standard of quality we had learnt at a lower price point. So, we're really excited for the opportunity to reach a new audience at this amazing location!”
Matt Smith, Head of Sustainability at Shaftesbury, said: “The overall standard of the entries was incredibly high, and many entrepreneurs have sustainability at the heart of their business. We were particularly impressed by A State of Nature’s sustainability credentials; all their products are handcrafted in London from ethically sourced materials, with a focus on quality and durability.”
TheIndustry.fashion Contributing Editor, Tom Bottomley, added: “The level of the finalists was certainly high, but for me A State of Nature was the stand-out early on. It looked the most complete brand out of the lot, with a clear design vision and focus. Most importantly, it looks the most ready for retail.”
The Soho pop up will be offering the opportunity to purchase products which will be made to order, and it will host regular practical workshops with industry experts, competitions, and themed talks.
A State of Nature will sit alongside a host of independent and flagship brands in Soho including RÆBURN, Supreme, Oliver Spencer, Universal Works, BLEACH and Misan Fabrics.