Sky-high rents mean that land developers have a vice-like grip over retail space in Hong Kong. Identical mega malls and luxury shops dominate the city skyline, but independent fashion stores of note are still few and far between. Somewhat of a hidden gem, then, is this multi-brand menswear boutique Delstore.
Located in a tiny, obscure alleyway in the Wan Chai district, close to the Queens Road East artery of Hong Kong Island, Delstore is impossibly hard to find. But since opening in 2011, it has attracted a word-of-mouth cult following among Hong Kong fashion aficionados, who are drawn to its tightly curated selection of (mostly Japanese) independent labels, like Arts & Science, Yaeca, Kapital, and Comoli. These are sartorial pickings for the thinking gent—specifically those who know their way around artisanal apparel with a provenance. You’ll often see fashion-industry types, designers, and architects browsing the unassuming two-story space (think clean lines, poured concrete floors, metal construction rails, aging driftwood), which, like the clothes on the racks, exemplifies quiet masculinity.
In addition to the focus on craft and concept, mystery is a big selling point for Delstore, which deals in under-the-radar labels that let impeccable cutting, unique fabrications, and playful, slightly off-kilter proportions do all the talking. “We are quite selective about the brands and pieces that we pick up,” says founder Derrick Leung, the former head of menswear buying at Lane Crawford, whose signature black uniform is accented with thick-rimmed specs and a ponytail parted in the middle. “We have a very, very narrow edit.” Key finds include subtly innovative outerwear from Kolor/BEACON, designed by Junichi Abe (who is married to Chitose Abe, the creative director of Sacai), and beautifully constructed, raw-edged woven jackets by the small Japanese label Avialea, which is so understated that no labels are stitched into its pieces.
Along a barren wooden shelf next to a worn patterned rug are painstakingly handmade shoes from Yuketen, an American brand designed by Yuki Matsuda. Upstairs, sea-faring knitwear from S.N.S. Herning, which traditionally made cover-ups for Danish fishermen, hangs near soft indigo button-down jackets by the British label Tender, all hand dyed with woad and made in England. Glass cabinets display vintage books and quirky magazines from Leung’s frequent travels.
Distinctive, quality-crafted men’s fashion might not sound new, but Delstore’s winning formula suggests that exclusivity without pretension is still not commonplace.