Shop of delights: LN-CC

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

In London's East End, a group of buyers are pushing the boundaries of traditional retail. Harriet Walker meets them

Everyone knows the thrill of discovering a new shop, but it's rare that you step into one so well considered and thoughtfully curated that it feels a bit like revisiting something you've seen in a dream. East London's LN-CC (it stands, somewhat esoterically, for Late Night Chameleon Café) is just such a place: since it opened in 2010, it has become a refuge for clothing cognoscenti and sartorial subcultures alike.

It takes the notion of a concept store into new territory, blending a show-space (masterminded by set designer Gary Card) with an online boutique to create a sense of exclusivity and a warm welcome. "We had a space, we made it look how we wanted it to look and then we filled it full of things we really like," says co-founder John Skelton, 30. "That's our concept. And twinned with the website, it's a viable concept."

Nestling in a block of studios in London's hyper-cool E8 Dalston postcode (designers Peter Jensen and Emma Cook have workspaces in the same building, while Christopher Kane and J.W. Anderson are just down the road), the LN-CC is housed in a Victorian former boxing gym. What sets it apart is its appointments system and stock rotation: visitors must email ahead, book a slot and choose what they want to see online before they arrive. "This space isn't geared up as a retail space," admits Skelton. "To be quite frank, it's terrible as one, so you've got to put the groundwork in on the site."

Skelton grew up in Middlesbrough and had his first encounter with fashion at the age of 15, having dragged his mother out to buy the same Calvin Klein jeans that his friends all had. "I started wandering around the shop and I came across this stuff called Dries Van Noten and was like: 'Mam, have you seen this? It's amazing'. And my dad, he's the most amazing man in the world, but he said: 'John, £450 for a jumper? You need to give your head a shake.'" But by the age of 20, he was buying menswear for Selfridges nationwide; by 22, for Harrods and by 26, he was creative director of cult e-tailer Oki-ni.com.

"It was brilliant," he says, "but it got to the point where it was just an office and a chequebook and I thought: 'I've got to have a go now'." The result is the LN-CC, an adventurous amalgam of Skelton's and his business partner Dan Mitchell's insider knowledge and joint love of fashion and design. The shop itself functions as an exhibition space. "If you want to come at three in the morning and we know you're serious, we'll be here," says Skelton. You'll be shown around the store, its library, even its club – complete with a soundsystem once used by the Sex Pistols to record an album. Usually the tours are taken by his brother, Michael, who manages the shop. "He's very good at making people feel comfortable. One of the first things we say is, don't feel pressured to buy anything."

If this sounds like no other shop you've been to, that's because it isn't. The clothes hanging on the rails are only a small portion of what the team have bought: they are rotated regularly to keep things fresh and there are iPads dotted around the space so customers can browse pieces that are not on show. Each room contains a mixture of mens- and womenswear, carefully selected by Skelton and Mitchell, with the aim of introducing new labels and casting well-known designers in a new and different light.

"This is what we would class as household names, even though they're not really," says John Skelton of the shop's main space, where Balenciaga, Comme des Garcons, Jil Sander and Haider Ackermann all hang. There are two other rooms: one for young designers, such as J.W. Anderson, and Asian streetwear brands, and one for avant-garde names such as Rick Owens, Ann Demeulemeester and Junya Watanabe, as well as plans to open two more this year. "I'm not scared of buying the odd lairy piece," says Skelton. "Our look is unique but it's not flashy or showy. I don't pay too much attention to everyone else."

This is key to the LN-CC and key also to its success: Skelton and Mitchell do not select the sorts of pieces you find in many other places. "If we wouldn't wear it, we can't buy it," he says, "If something sold very well last season, we won't buy it the season after because it's not what we want to wear. We were wearing that a year ago."

The LN-CC: 18 Shacklewell Lane, Dalston, London E8 2EZ - 0560 1190 162 - appointments@ln-cc.com

PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
News
Rumer was diagnosed with bipolarity, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder: 'I was convinced it was a misdiagnosis'
peopleHer debut album caused her post-traumatic stress - how will she cope as she releases her third record?
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvOnly remaining original cast-member to leave long-running series
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
life
Voices
Holly's review of Peterborough's Pizza Express quickly went viral on social media
voices
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
Sport
A long jumper competes in the 80-to-84-year-old age division at the 2007 World Masters Championships
athletics
Life and Style
Walking tall: unlike some, Donatella Versace showed a strong and vibrant collection
fashionAlexander Fury on the staid Italian clothing industry
Arts and Entertainment
Gregory Porter learnt about his father’s voice at his funeral
music
Arts and Entertainment
tvHighs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
Life and Style
Children at the Leytonstone branch of the Homeless Children's Aid and Adoption Society tuck into their harvest festival gifts, in October 1936
food + drinkThe harvest festival is back, but forget cans of tuna and packets of instant mash
Sport
Lewis Hamilton will start the Singapore Grand Prix from pole, with Nico Rosberg second and Daniel Ricciardo third
F1... for floodlit Singapore Grand Prix
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Fashion

    KS1 Primary Teacher

    £100 - £150 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Qualified KS1 Supply Teacher re...

    KS2 Teaching Supply Wakefield

    £140 - £160 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Qualified KS2 Supply Teacher r...

    Year 1/2 Teacher

    £130 - £160 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Qualified KS1 Teacher required,...

    Primary Teachers Needed for Supply in Wakefield

    £140 - £160 per annum: Randstad Education Leeds: Qualified KS1&2 Supply Te...

    Day In a Page

    Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

    Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

    Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
    Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

    Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

    The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
    The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

    Scrambled eggs and LSD

    Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
    'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

    'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

    Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
    Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

    New leading ladies of dance fight back

    How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
    Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

    A shot in the dark

    Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
    His life, the universe and everything

    His life, the universe and everything

    New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
    Reach for the skies

    Reach for the skies

    From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
    These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

    12 best hotel spas in the UK

    Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
    These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

    Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

    Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
    Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

    Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

    His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam