RETAIL REVIEW: Feal Mor Boutique, Los Angeles
“A bad economy is a big chance for creativity.” Helmut Lang
The high consumerism of the early 2000′s produced hundreds of copy cat, uninteresting boutiques across the entire retail market. As the economy quickly plunged, so did the majority of these stores. Unfortunately, we also saw many long term retailers shut their doors leaving a huge gaping hole in the retail landscape, which consequently left a wide open market for newness in the retail concept.
At The Sche Report, we believe that there is a revolution happening in retail. Consumers are looking more and more to be engaged by the retailer through an open and creative relationship of connection, inspiration and trust. Long ago are the days where all retailers had to do was open their doors and stand at the cash register. Today’s retail landscape challenges owners to push beyond the retail scene of the last 20 years and go back to the days prior where creative connection and individuality reigned supreme.
A new creative lifestyle boutique recently opened in Los Angeles that caught my eye and confirmed my predictions on the future of retail.
Feal Mor represents this new retail concept by combining objects, clothing, aesthetics, history and personality to create a tightly curated “world within a world”. In this case, the curator is J.P Plunier, an artist who has worked very successfully in music, architecture, photography and design. Currently a resident of Claremont, CA, JP was born in Beirut but spent the majority of his childhood traveling all over the world from India, Thailand, Hong Kong, Bombay and Japan to his hometown of Brittany, a peninsula in the north west of France.
Growing up in Brittany, JP developed an extreme interest in its history on the Sea and soon started to collect “Brittany” sweaters which had been worn by local sailors since the 1890′s. This traditional striped sweater with buttons at the shoulder is what inspired JP to start his first Feal Mor collection in 2005 which focused on reinterpreting the classic Breton stripe sweater and other nautical influenced pieces. The first few seasons, he sold only in Brittany until last year when Colette sold the line exclusively. Currently, the line is sold at Union and Lost and Found in Los Angeles, Mollusk in Venice, The General Store in San Francisco, and Hemisphere in Paris.
Feal Mor translates to “no land, no borders, only faithful to the sea”. The buttons on his sweaters also give a nod to Brittany’s heritage by using traditional skull and crossbones as a detail. According to JP, Brittany hails to have had the first pirates to sail under the skull and crossbones moniker in the 1700′s and despite it’s graphic over-usage he says, “I’m taking it back!”
JP opened this store as a way to connect to the things he loved as a child. Growing up, JP dreamed of surfing and was infatuated with Southern California beach culture after meeting surfers from La Jolla while living in Japan. He also had a passion for cycling, another sport Brittany is famous for. Throughout his life, JP has been a collector of things from his past as well as his future in California. He currently has a few warehouses where he stocks his collection of vintage surfboards, bikes, military gear, games, pottery and many other highly curated collections. In addition to his knitwear collection, his store is a platform to showcase his years of vintage collecting and the space will serve as a rotating exhibit as he brings in new things along the way.
JP also supports many of his friends by showcasing their products in the store. His friends include artisans and craftsman who hand make everything from surfboards to pottery and woven sandals. The idea of bringing in handmade products is all a part of what inspires JP and his surroundings. He says his store reflects the World at large as told through California’s rich history of architecture, design, surf culture, music and bohemia.
JP has the exclusive for these handmade unisex sandals from Paris sold at $150 a pair.
JP also has the exclusive to Amsterdam wetsuits which is the top custom wetsuit maker in Japan.
Custom handmade surfboards by Gato Heroi, a small Orange county craftsman.
Judy Augur creates patchwork scarves with Japanese indigo denim renderings.
See more of her work here.
What we love most about Feal Mor is its unique aesthetic and the energy that is combined to create its originality. There is literally something for everyone in this store and the unisex line of sweaters and jackets can be adorned and worked within every type of style out there. There is a strong resurgence to Classicism in the fashion world, and this boutique is a perfect example of how history and classic items can be appreciated forever. The combination of sporting equipment with vintage collectibles, clothing and accessories brings a new take on the California lifestyle. When you enter, you feel transposed into history and all the objects around you enable you to feel connected to the World at large through the eyes of someone that has been almost everywhere.
JP decided to open his store as a nod to himself and his childhood, and he didn’t go into it in hopes of becoming the “next big thing” or to make a mark in the fashion world. His only mission was to produce something that told a story of his life and his passions, and if other people appreciate it too, all the better. At The Sche Report, we believe that when you produce from the heart, with no other aim than to create an extension of yourself, success is limitless. We admire you JP and hope that more people follow your lead…
Feal Mor is located at 165 South La Brea in Los Angeles. www.fealmor.com