Amsterdam has long been a destination of choice for cultured travellers seeking the new and exciting, and the latest must-visit attraction – for locals and visitors alike – is X Bank, a concept store that is so much more than a concept store. Describing itself as a ‘vault of Dutch talent’, X Bank is one of the most exciting creative spaces in the city, comprising retail store, exhibition hall and installation gallery, and acting as a meeting point for, as the team puts it, ‘anything and everything’ in the fields of cutting-edge Dutch fashion, design and art
‘X Bank is a place where you can get inspired and discover all the talent the Netherlands has to offer,’ says creative content manager Danielle Welling. Spanning an impressive 700 square metres, the multipurpose space aims to serve as an epicentre of Dutch design, with different areas supporting local talent through different media and platforms.
One thing that really stands out at X Bank is the extent of it all – not just the space, but the array of products, and even the information available
The ground floor of the building is predominantly used as an art gallery, playing host to small and large-scale exhibitions, events and gatherings that are open to the public. X Bank has an ever-changing roster of artists and provides a selection of new artwork every six to eight weeks to ensure that visitors are always able to find something fresh and exciting. From photography series to detailed charcoal works and even fashion installations, each exhibition is a unique glimpse into the best of the local art scene.
The first floor is home to a retail space that offers pieces by more than 180 Dutch labels, with a wide range of products from fashion to home accessories and original artworks. High-end and established designers sit alongside smaller local labels, with areas curated in terms of themes and concepts – it is important to X Bank that both long-standing and emerging talents are given the same platform, and the team is involved with every step of the process.
‘We do everything ourselves, from selecting the designers to creating a fashion fantasy in our store: everything is done in-house,’ says Welling. From local jeans label Denham, which offers chic and contemporary denim cuts, to shoes by United Nude, a luxurious and avant-garde footwear brand, each collection and designer is chosen on the same basis. ‘Designers have to be Dutch to qualify, and from that point on our buying and store team will decide whether the brand or product is the right fit for our concept,’ Welling explains.
The team is inspired by Amsterdam’s distinctive style when it comes to selecting products. ‘As the Dutch are very much about the practical, Amsterdam has a very down-to-earth fashion scene where people dress simply, yet elegantly,’ comments Welling. Simple is never boring here, however. ‘Amsterdam is all about denim, bold statements in ready-to-wear and an urban-chic feeling,’ she continues. X Bank’s selection ranges from the classic to the ultra modern, so whether you’re looking for a statement piece or simply a wardrobe staple, you’ll find something just right for you.
Labels to look out for include Anecdote, famous for its feminine and timeless knitwear, and Chasin’ Royal Attitude, a playful collaboration between Chasin’ and the Royal Netherlands Navy that repurposes old uniforms into fun fashion pieces. Bas Kosters, an artist and designer who has turned his hand to everything from fashion design to illustration, is another highlight of the collection. His bold, characterful clothing and prints burst with imagination.
One of X Bank’s most exciting offerings is its programme of exclusive design collaborations, which are created alongside budding designers and established names alike. Highlights so far include a capsule collection of semi-couture pieces with Dutch designer Esther Dorhout Mees, who is famous for her bold shapes, and a swimwear line with Daily Paper, one of Amsterdam’s most of-the-moment menswear labels. For the start of the autumn/winter 2017/18 season, X Bank exclusively partnered with Mercedes-Benz FashionWeek Amsterdam, showcasing an overview of looks straight from the catwalks of seven standout designers. The content of X Bank is constantly changing, and you never know what you’ll discover on your next visit.
One thing that really stands out at X Bank is the extent of it all – not just the space, but the array of products, and even the information available. With every piece so carefully selected, it’s no surprise to learn that the team is brimming with information on the provenance and inspirations behind each item, meaning clients can always be sure they’re buying something with a story behind it. And if information overload threatens, the building that houses X Bank is also home to the five-star W Amsterdam hotel, which has a luxury spa as well as a small lounge and a bar in which to enjoy the perfect end to an intense day of retail therapy.