Dec 01, 2015 9:28AM

Introducing Lessons, Australia's Biggest High End Streetwear Store

Steez school.

Lessons Concept Store is a Perth-based online/real life retailer that's home to some of the world's steeziest brands. Opened just over a year ago by Dani Mercer her financé Conor Mercer and her brother Jake Polce, the store is all about repping innovative, international labels.

The Lessons team only stock brands that they're personally into, with a focus on shared vibes/values. This makes for a carefully curated, highly personal shopping experience that's coming to a city near you, with plans to make appearances Sydney and Melbourne next year. These locations will be home to cult labels like Hood by Air, Nasir Mazhar and VFILES Sport Plus+.

We caught up with the whole team to talk streetwear and obsessive customers before we drop all our cash on their fresh goodies.

Lucy Jones: How would each of you guys sum up what Lessons is?
Conor: From an overall point of view, lessons is a high-end streetwear store. We stock exclusive brands from around the world and we have a concept store that's based in Perth. We also have an online store that ships to Australia and worldwide.
Jake: We try to create a pretty relaxed vibe in store and we like our customers to have that sense of freedom when they're shopping and explore the brands without any added pressure.
Dani: And we like to create an environment that I guess we all enjoy shopping in.

How did the online and the real life stores initially come about?
Dani: We all wanted to open a business together and all shopped pretty heavily online, from overseas brands that weren't available locally. So we saw that as an opportunity to put all of our favourite brands under one platform and be the first in Australia to do it.

And how did you guys all meet?
Dani: Well, Conor is my fiancé and Jake is my brother, so we're all a little family [laughs].

Do you guys perform quite specific roles or do you work pretty collaboratively?
Jake: I'd say we all do everything together and that's what makes it work so well. We all know each others' skill sets, we all have strong points and weak points and that's where we pick up on each other.

Can you guys remember when you first got into streetwear style?
Dani: I was a dancer for about 15 years so I was exposed to all kind of fashion pretty early on.
Jake: I've grown up with streetwear and it's grown as I've gotten older. I always wanted to create my own style as I was growing up and wanted to wear different stuff to all my friends, so I put a lot of hours into researching and studying the fashion industry.
Conor: For me, it's something that develops over time it's still probably developing now every day. I can't put an exact time on it but being able to travel to Paris and New York and over the world for fashion weeks has probably given me the most exposure to fashion and the industry in the shortest amount of time.

How have you set up the partnerships with the labels you stock exclusively?
Conor: Yeah, that's something that's taken a lot of time, probably the most time in setting up the store. Forming the relationships with brands is something that doesn't happen overnight. We're lucky now that we work closely and directly with every brand that we stock. And I think that we're lucky the brands understood our concept and vision, and who we wanted to be in the market place from early on. Looking back, now that we've been open for about a year and a half, the brands put a lot of faith in us from the outset and that's something that we always keep in the back of our minds.
Dani: And as we travel to fashion weeks, the more we're getting to know these guys on a personal level and we even call some of them our friends now.

A lot of the labels have cult followings, do you get a lot of obsessive customers coming through the store?
Conor: Yeah, definitely. When collections are going to be dropped we get calls in store all the time and a lot of emails… but definitely they have a huge cult following overseas and we're seeing this grow even more in Australia now.

So are there any kind of categories a brand has to fulfill in order for you guys to decide to stock it?
Dani: We all have to be into the brand first and foremost. We're all about being the first to introduce a brand to the Australian market so that's always a plus. On top of that, we look for brands that are really innovative — they have to have an original aesthetic, we like brands that are fairly young and we like to know that the team behind them has a similar vibe and vision as what we have.

How have you seen that interest in those brands grow since you've been open?
Jake: I think these brands definitely had a large following before we stocked them, but since we started stocking them we've put a lot of effort and time into producing our own original content for every brand, we do editorials and things like that. So we push this pretty hard through our Instagram and our other social media channels. 
Dani: And as social media's growing, so is the awareness of the bands in Australia.

So as well as having that online presence, how important is the IRL store?
Jake: It's really important to us because we've been the first to introduce so many of the brands we now stock into Australia. So a lot of people here wouldn't have had the chance to interact with these brands on a physical level. On the flip side on that, we still learn from our customers every day when they come into store — we see what they're wearing, what their style's like. So yeah, I think it's really important.
Conor: Yeah, and we plan to engage with our customers in Sydney and Melbourne next year on the same level that we engage with them in Perth.

Where do you guys see your place in that wider Australian fashion world?
Dani: We really want to be the go to store for high-end streetwear in Australia, and be an integral part of growing Australia's fashion scene.

Lessons Concept Store is located at Basement, 1 Pakenham Street, Fremantle  WA.

Photos: @lessonsconceptstore

Lucy Jones