RETAILER TO WATCH
“The best is that our fashion clients don’t really care about fashion.”
Interview for Sporstwear International Magazine
by Juliette Tafreschi — June 27, 2017
In 2013 Andre Ramos and Silvia Pinto Costa decided to quit their jobs in architecture and photography and face new challenges. They opened a concept store named scar-id in the heart of Porto where they show whatever they like: from Japanese inspired ceramic to urban furniture and their own brand ATER. The mix is unique and worth a visit!
What’s the story behind your store? When and why was the shop opened and how did it develop?
We opened scar-id on a Friday night, 13th December 2013. We like to see our store as our place in the city. It started with the idea of presenting our identity, our vision, our concepts, our tastes to a bigger audience, our city. scar-id is a design store, but we see it as a place where we can show whatever we like: from Japanese inspired ceramic to photography, fashion videos or flowers, architectural projects or parties to celebrate design.
Four years ago we were quitting our peaceful jobs in architecture and photography, to start a life that is all about discovering, enjoying the process and having the feeling of conceptual liberty.
How would you describe your assortment and what makes it special?
We work with fashion and jewellery, but also with ceramics, notebooks, magazines, leather bags, homeware, skin beauty, concrete urban furniture…this mixture is what makes scar-id special. The selection we offer, from a wide range of areas, and to create a complex but coherent collection of products is where we ´differentiate´ ourselves.
Which brands and styles are your bestsellers right now?
We are very happy with our own brand, ATER by scar-id, a leather accessories brand that is performing quite well since its launch a few months ago.
Comfortable coats and sweaters from Carla Pontes and Susana Bettencourt, ceramic plants germinators from Lagrima Studio and jewellery with unusual materials like the 3D printed plastic necklaces by Wek, are our bestsellers.
Which new brands did you add to the assortment recently and how did you discover these?
We have recently added a new ceramics brand. Estúdio Hakémé is a young sculptor that is creating Japanese style ceramics who invited us to visit his atelier and we got very enthusiastic about his search and process. We re-started to work with Daniel Barros, a fashion brand we were working with when we opened the store.
We like to help a brand to grow, so we normally have new brands, some with unique pieces or very limited editions sold exclusively here at scar-id. The research process is very interesting.
Where do you order your products (showrooms or trade shows – which ones)?
Since we don´t work with mainstream brands, we can allow ourselves to have a direct and personal contact with the designers or the brand managers.
We can visit showrooms or trade shows, and find new things there, but the next step is always about a conversation with the persons, finding out concepts and ideas behind the brands and figuring out what can we do to establish a positive partnership, which for us is always more than about trade.
Which trends & looks do you think will dominate in fall/winter 2017?
Layer over layer, mixing seasons, mixing styles. The trend is yourself and your identity. People should use whatever they feel like, but their look must reflect themselves, their own personality, their own lifestyle and not someone else´s style.
How often do you redecorate the store, how important is the interior?
Our concept for the store´s interior architecture was to create a void white space with some black displays, taking advantage of the wide windows and adding a lot of ice white light.
In a weekly or even daily rhythm we change product places, sell a few, add new ones. Since we work with several different areas, one day we could talk about fashion and jewellery, another day we are in an ´offline´ mood and we highlight magazines and notebooks. Last week it was about ceramics.
So we are constantly “redecorating” the store, not with architectural gestures but with products.
What is special about your fashion customer?
The best is that our fashion clients don’t really care about fashion. Like we do, they care about products, and design, and ideas and, especially, about themselves.
We work for a niche audience, passionate and savvy customers that are seeking that special piece, they know they will find at scar-id store.
How do you interact with your community?
Porto´s Art District, the place where we are based, is a place for cool stores, art galleries, where a few creatives are still living. When we launch a new brand or collection in store, we always make a public presentation, gather some friends and some design enthusiasts.
scar-id is also very present on social media and we have an online shop, but we are more and more interested in being ´offline´, doing things directly for our clients, in store, in the storefronts for the city.
What have been the biggest challenges in leading the store so far?
scar-id is an independent store. Our business model is very simple. We search, select and sell. We have no investors and we´re not using community funds, we just do everything with passion.
Who works in this way has a daily challenge, which is called survival. We have to be always a step ahead, trying to figure out creative ways to develop tomorrow.
Which person – celebrity or not – would you love to welcome in the store one day?
We actually feel very pleased when someone from the neighbourhood, who never looked at our store with attention, finally discovers a product in the storefront that makes him enter for the first time.
We had quite ´famous´ architects, designers and musicians coming to scar-id anonymously.
In one of Anohni´s professional photos, she is using a piece from Susana Bettencourt that she purchased here on the day of her concert. We would like to welcome her again.