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Mr Start, London

Retail outlet

Situated in the heart of Shoreditch, Start is a labour of love for owners Philip Start (founder of established men’s store Woodhouse) and Brix Smith-Start (former member of legendary band The Fall).

Originally a stand-alone boutique on Rivington Street, the Start name has rapidly expanded along the street since opening in 2002. It now comprises a separate menswear and womenswear store, an online boutique and most recently, a men’s tailoring emporium, Mr Start, which is located where Deltalight’s London showroom once stood.

However, it was not Deltalight but Microlights that was specified by designer and long time collaborator with Start, Philip Oakley, for the new ‘Made to Measure’ store. With direction from Start to continue the clubby, eclectic feel of the original Stark store, Oakley went about sourcing furniture and lighting that would achieve this.

“The big problem with menswear is that suiting is generally black/navy/brown/grey and it’s often very difficult to see the colour of the fabric and also the quality. On the other hand you can easily put so much light into a shop to give you the right amount of light that it looks like a supermarket,” explains Oakley.

Indeed many tailors, including those on Saville Row, fail to provide enough light fearing the supermarket look that is such anathema to their brands. This leads to tailors having to take clothes out of store in order to show customers. Not an ideal scenario for high-end fashionistas!

In order to overcome this Oakley specified a range of lighting to give it an intimate feel but with good colour rendition and high levels of light on the product. Rails are lit by ceramic metal halides (track mounted Microlights Wafer 35W CDM-TC spotlight in black, complete with medium beam reflector and honeycombe louver), mannequins and displays by pin spot halogen and the shelves are fitted with fluorescents. The walls are either painted dark red or are exposed to reveal red brick whilst the ceiling is black which limits the reflected light. This results in no ambient light which contributes to the gritty yet comfortable feel of the store. Something that is distinctly Shoreditch meets Saville Row!


Mr Start, London Mr Start in London, one of Microlights’ retail projects
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