There is a sign hanging above the doorway. It is simple and so fits with the quaintness of Bath. A white wooden sign hanging from an old-fashioned iron rivet off of the stone wall of the storefront, it swings gently in the cool breeze. The wood, though painted white, has the tinge of brown that comes with Bath’s tendency to attract rain. Written in a pleasingly plain type is the word Found, the store’s name. The O is smaller than its accompanying letters and is emphasized by a sharp line just beneath it. It is a fitting name for such a store; it is a concept store. It is fitting, for every piece in the store is hand-picked and collected as if it came from a traveler’s suitcase. Yes, there are the well-known cool pieces of the likes of Kenzo and Comme des Garçons, but also designs from less well-known labels such as Dead Ponies from New Zealand, who the two owners, Nik Blake and Olivia Brewer, have come to love and support.
When talking to Nik and Olivia, I asked why they named their store Found. Olivia turned to me and then looked at Nik and said that they were sitting on the couch one day and just decided it was the one. That was their story. They smiled at each other and then looked back at me. I would suggest that Found was chosen because all of the pieces are found, in a sense, from their own travels, loves, and passions. They talked about how they loved the feel of New Zealand and Amsterdam. How both, like Bath, had a certain simple and unique sensibility. Somehow all of the clothes, although in an array of brightly colored tones, fabrics, and cut, complemented one another. Each piece is unique on its own, but put together they evoke a delightful mix of print and color that would appeal to our more playful tendencies.
Found, I stumbled upon when my best friend and I had the day to ourselves in Bath this past summer. That day, there were banners lining the street a parade of people walking down the road. To avoid the crowd outside, my friend, Francesca and I, ran into Found because I liked the sign that hung above its doorway. And as we walked in and saw some interesting pieces, and as I asked around, I realized it was a concept store, I talked to Nik and Olivia and I bought a dress. I liked how they talked about clothes. How they had a story behind discovering different brands and why they decided to open up a store in the first place. Francesca and I, then, after trying on all different kinds of outfits, and snapping pictures of Nik and Olivia for this very post, ran outside and sat at one of the little coffee shops with our shopping bags at our feet. It was one of my favorite days of the summer.
There are stores you travel to shop at and there are stores that you find on vacation. When I was in Venice I found Micromega, a cool sunglass shop of limited edition sunglasses that are each made using the designer’s, who I met, own creation of the lightest glasses frame in the world. When I was in Mexico, I found this little shop that sold traditional dresses, and when I was in San Francisco I went to a store called Paxton Gate, where they sold ethereal rings by the designer Susan Ritter who, on her travels and foraging trips, finds stones to incorporate into her designs. Finding the cool and interesting “spots”, by walking the streets and letting yourself get lost in them, allow you to develop a relationship with the city or town on a different level. You have a story of the place, and a story to tell. I want to tell the story of my clothes the way both Nik and Olivia did: smiling. Nik and Olivia were charming people. Their store charmed me and the clothes in it did the same. Bath is an altogether charming place; one of the small treasures in the world and if you visit Bath, see if you can find Found.