Machine-A Unveils Refurbished Futuristic, Double-sized London Store

LONDON — British multibrand fashion retailer Machine-A on Tuesday unveiled its renovated and upsized store on Brewer Street.

Expanding into the basement level of the original store, which used to be a massage parlor, the new Machine-A store is double in size of the previous one, with a layout reconfigured by interior designer Peining Lu, who is also the mastermind behind the concept for Machine-A Shanghai.

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A new and futuristic-looking logo, designed by Paul Hetherington, is also revealed.

Speaking to WWD, Stavros Karelis, founder and buying director of Machine-A, said the expansion of the London store was inevitable after it formed a partnership with Tomorrow Group in 2020.

It’s understood that Karelis has been exploring many options to scale up in the nearby area, but nothing felt quite as right as the original spot, which was conceived a decade ago as the first fashion retailer on a street that’s predominantly known for selling sex toys. Since then Brewer Street has become a popular fashion retail destination with tenants including Palace, Wood Wood, Heaven by Marc Jacobs and JW Anderson.

The added space allows Machine-A to host more projects with closely associated brands, like the current installation of the Kvadrat/Raf Simons Shaker System, as well as further supporting emerging designers and brands and showcasing them in a more impactful way, according to Karelis.

Machine-A has also teamed with Nick Knight’s Showstudio for an interactive question booth, where guests can play a round of quick-fire questions on Wednesday and Thursday in-store. The responses will be shared on social media.

Moreover, Karelis believes that the interior of the new space was created in a way that signals the next decade of the store. It will serve as the foundation for expanding the brand mix and create synergies that further push the retail experience.

“It is much more evolved in what we feel is luxurious and it creates a feeling of fluidity and isolated exploration of a customer journey. Even though it is quite futuristic, it has maintained many of the original elements that tell the story of Soho, and highlight the rich culture that attracted us in the first place here 10 years ago,” he said.

Stefano Martinetto, chief executive officer and cofounder of Tomorrow Group, added, “For us, Machine-A represents a well-crafted ecosystem built between independent, creatively led brands and the store’s loyal and committed customers. Beyond this, working with a passionate, talented leader like Karelis and his team is an added pleasure.”

CL and Stavros Karelis attend the Machine-A 10-Year anniversary party during London Fashion Week February 2023 at Fabric on February 20, 2023 in London.
CL and Stavros Karelis attend the Machine-A 10-year anniversary party during London Fashion Week at Fabric on Feb. 20, 2023, in London.

Karelis noted that the firsthand experience he had in China for the past two months has been extremely valuable in setting the tone for the revamped London space.

“At this stage, even though we are exploring other expansion plans in different markets and cities, the main focus is to allow our audience to experience what we have already built this year and maximize each platform’s potential.

“Part of this strategy has been the fact that I spent almost two months in Shanghai and dived into an incredible culture and extremely inspiring crowds of creatives, designers and entrepreneurs, which allowed me to understand better how we can as business grow successfully with honesty and respect internationally as well as locally,” Karelis said.

A key takeaway is that “China has cracked the code of incredible production of complex design pieces at a much more affordable price,” and it led to “a much more conscious spending behavior that seeks to shop from brands and designers that are unique, have storytelling, and are culturally relevant but also financially accessible,” according to Karelis.

“There is an army of super-talented designers located there that we can create many synergies together in Shanghai and in London. I also think that offering a true cultural experience to your audience pays off in a big way,” he added.

Machine-A, Shanghai
Machine-A in Shanghai.

Founded in 2013, Machine-A has become a tastemaker among fashion lovers in London and beyond with its unique brand selections, offering high-end directional labels like Raf Simons, Rick Owens, Maison Margiela, Comme des Garçons, Y/ Project, JW Anderson, Lemaire and Paco Rabanne, as well as emerging designer labels including Paolo Carzana, Olly Shinder, Pronounce, Samuel Guì Yang, Craig Green, Alyx, Peter Do, Richard Quinn, Paula Canovas del Vas, Kiko Kostadinov, Delada, Martine Rose, Namacheko and Ottolinger.

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