As part of my primary research into Dr. Martens as a brand, I wanted to visit multiple of their stores to see how their spaces in different cities compare; their similarities and differences. In the UK, I managed to experience the Oxford Street London store, the Nottingham store and the one in Milton Keynes. When I was on my New York trip, I made sure that I scheduled in time to take a quick visit to one of the Dr. Martens stores in Manhattan.
Dr. Martens London, Oxford Street
The Oxford Street store has a unique store design concept and it is their first UK store to trade across three floors. The store has engaging wall elevations, spanning all three staircases which tell the story of the brand, from the beginnings of an icon, through to celebrating over five decades of Dr. Martens. Unlike any of the other stores I visited, this one showcases images from the 1960s to the present day; the installation marks the brand’s unrivalled cultural relevance with social tribes and music.
Dr. Martens Nottingham, High St
The Nottingham store is on one single level and is quite a small space, especially in comparison to the Oxford Street Store. The layout is quite crowed, with metal display stands down the centre of the store and wall displays covering every available space. Like the Oxford Street Store, the space is quite dark with spot lights directed at the displays. The classic collection and best sellers are positioned on the back wall on yellow shoe platforms, making them stand out from the other metal display materials.
Dr. Martens Milton Keynes, MK Centre
The Dr. Martens’ store entrance is similar to that of the Nottingham Store: transparent windows and glass frame with the bold logo above the door. Like the other two stores, the window displays have the same concept of the music stage and the Ice Metallics collection. The store is also spread over one floor and has the same metal, industrial-like stands and details. The kid’s collection has a space along one wall, making it easy to see the break from the adult range to the children’s. This is different from the Oxford Street store in which the kids range was simply displayed on a table stand by the till points.
Dr. Martens New York
Before I travelled to New York, I researched the New York Dr. Martens store and found some maps of the location. I was for some reason just expecting there to be one store. However, it turns out there are three situated across Manhattan: Herald Square, Soho and Union Square. I ended up visiting the store on Broadway and the one in Brooklyn because these were closest to the other activities we were doing.
I was anticipating the New York stores to be quite different to the UK stores. This is because I assumed that the American target audience for Dr. Martens would differ from the UK consumer base. Being overseas, New Yorkers appear to have a different way of life to that in Britain and therefore I would have expected them to have alternative needs and desires. Having said this, the Dr. Martens products had not been altered for the American target audience and the layout was very similar to the UK store: the colour scheme of the black and red block colours was constant, as well as the use of metal industrial-looking stands and shelving. The logo outside the store was the same, displayed in the same bold, white lettering above the door. There was likewise a continuous music theme throughout, similar to the other stores; music players, the juke box and music equipment cases.
The main difference that I saw was that the store was a lot larger and longer in dimension. This is possibly because of the size of the city, especially compared to Nottingham and Milton Keynes for example. Also, the store seemed a lot darker; the ceiling was painted black and had lots a spot lights shining down on the display stands, drawing attention to them. There were large gold frames surrounding some of wall displays which was also different and which added a warmer element to the space. The centre display stands in the UK tended to be across the room, however in this store, they were lengthways, making the room appear even longer.
Which Dr. Martens’ stores have you ever been in to? How do they compare to the ones I have described?