Jeans and tee shirts. All that you need and nothing more. That seems to be the concept of the recently freshened-up Cinch store in London’s Soho. When you swing open the frosted glass door and step foot into the sparsely merchandised space you are enveloped into the world of Levi’s Vintage Clothing. The funny thing is, there isn’t much to “envelop” you at that store, which is why I liked it.
The whole place (which is small — about 500 sq feet) is painted this amazing dull green, a color that reminds me of that antique furniture robin’s egg blue that you see at flea markets. The floors are raw wood with bits of copper trim scattered about. Jeans are hung on pegs and organized by fit and corresponding model year (e.g. the 1966 501) along the main wall. The model year was labeled above each pair of jeans with a Sharpie and some masking tape, a really low tech solution for a no frills operation. As you walk further into the store there are some shelves with stacks of white tee shirts, again labeled (using masking tape) according to what year / style they are based on. Opposite those shelves there is a long metal rack with a few jackets jackets. (Okay, so there is slightly more than just jeans and tee shirts.) Down a few stairs into an even smaller lower level and there are two changing areas and wooden shelves with more jeans. That’s it.
Sometimes with a company as American as Levi’s, it is easy to play that up too much, to over prop it to make it feel like some place in Kentucky in the 1940s. Make it feel like a movie set. I suppose that’s the give-away for brands that don’t have the heritage that Levi’s does. Cinch doesn’t fall into that trap. It looks like it could fit in anywhere from Belgium to Japan to Kentucky. It has a simple non-denominational feel that just says, “we make jeans and tee shirts, here they are.” It’s nice that Levi’s isn’t trying to over sell it, and as far as I am concerned they don’t need to. All I really want are some USA made historically accurate raw denim jeans. Pure and simple. All we need to do now, is move Cinch to New York.
— Cinch | 5 Newburgh Street London W1F 7RG | 44 020 7287 4941—