Words: Angela Skujins
Pictures: Courtesy A Flat Shop
With movie nights, a reading corner, refreshments
and the owners doubling as photographers, browsing
and buying from vintage fashion store A Flat Shop is
best done offline.
“Do you want a glass of water?” Nathan Peacock asks from the other side of the service counter. I’m in A Flat Shop’s light-filled Frome Street pop-up. Nathan, who’s wearing a beige knitted jumper and slacks, is one of three owners. He has a big, bright smile stretching from ear to ear.
With my tiny tumbler, I walk around. The racks are full of rippled fabrics, sheer tops and bubbly bags. I touch a COMME des GARÇONS embroidered blouse with a frayed edge. Nathan notices me feeling the garment, and says it’s coming apart on purpose.
Tables nearby feature coasters and small stacks of fashion and culture magazines. Patchouli and lemongrass hangs in the air. D.K.’s DROP thrums in the background.
Nathan says his partners – Angela Carrig and Christopher Arblaster – often think about the visitor experience (this is their preferred term, over “client” or “customer”). They want people in the store to feel comfortable, like they can hang around as long as they want. Occasionally, one of the owners will ask to take a visitor’s photo.
“There are lots of people that come in that are very fashionable,” Nathan says. “It’s exciting for us. We’ve got three cameras, we all have our own, and it’s, like, ‘Here’s my set of photos for the month’.”
I once had my photograph taken at the shop. It felt similar to being snapped at a gig or nightclub. That moment is frozen in time, now a springboard for my memory. I remember what I did before and after the photo was taken, and why I was at Flat in the first place.
“It’s a community-building thing,” Nathan says of the photographs. Like the sounds, smells and garments that fill the thoughtfully curated store, the visitors and owners of A Flat Shop make its material experience.
“Most of the people I would consider friends now I see at the shop quite a lot, and it feels like there is a community of people,” he says.
This article first appeared
in our Spring 2022 Fashion
Edition, on streets now.