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Dover Street MarketPhotography Paul Phung

“A Fantastical Family”: The Inimitable Magic of Dover Street Market

As the iconic store unveils its Autumn/Winter 2021 collections, we caught up with its current employees – from the shop floor to the head office – to find out more about what DSM means to them

Lead ImageDover Street MarketPhotography Paul Phung

Since its opening in September 2004, London’s Dover Street Market has been – in the words of founder Rei Kawakubo – a home of “beautiful chaos”. The legendary high-fashion store has been disrupting and redefining the way we shop for nearly two decades now,  placing fresh-off-the-runway designs next to vast, multi-sensory art installations. Its success over the years has inspired a global cult of devout followers, with branches now open in over seven different cities around the world. “We wanted to appeal to everyone who wanted a new, inspiring, invigorating shopping experience, without borders and definitions,” said DSM co-founder Adrian Joffe, in a 2019 essay written for AnOther. Unlike other luxury fashion stores, DSM has become known for its anarchic experimentation, but also for its potent community spirit – according to Joffe, it is a space for “people can meet each other and exchange ideas and show their individual vision”.

This sense of camaraderie is felt most strongly among the current staff, as well as the alumni, who often lovingly refer to DSM as a family. So, to celebrate the recent unveiling of the store’s Autumn/Winter 2021 collections, we caught up with a variety of its current employees – from the shop floor to the head office – to ask them one simple question: what, after two decades of pioneering retail innovation, does Dover Street Market represent to them?

Enza Middleton, Store

“To me, DSM represents expressionism. Being able to run wild in a space and find items that truly allow you to express whoever you want to be … It stems from the designers it stocks to the incredible team of people assisting you in the store. It truly is in a league of its own!”

Beverley Devonish, Store Director

“DSM to me is a bright burning light that never fades, a lighthouse to all other brands. It has an energy that always moves forwards and never stops.”

Daisy Hoppen, PR

“At DSM we are the sum of all, a fantastical family that we can all be ourselves in.”

Rachel Connolly, PR 

“I don’t think you can say it better than Rei Kawakubo said herself: beautiful chaos.”

Kirby Koh, Store

“DSM remains a mystery every day, where calibrated intentions changes in methods of hues and greys.”

Stelios Stylianou, Store

“DSM is a new age poets’ society where creative individuals unite and reunite to be inspired, exchange ideas and discover novelty.”

Shenggy Butler, Store

“DSM is Comme des Garcons and the spirit of Rei Kawakubo.”

Molly Bridgwood, Store

“DSM is a safe space for anybody that embodies anything in-between.”

Kamel Belkacemi, VIP

“Once upon a time, a magazine called Dover Street Market the best shop in the world. 17 years after and we can all agree with that.”

Georgia Herman, VIP

“Just as they say in quantum physics, out of chaos comes order and out of order, chaos …”

Christina Ioannidou, VIP

“DSM for me represents individuality and ongoing innovation. It is a fascinating cosmos that embraces creativity with a fresh eye, and a space where we can all express ourselves for who we are and be part of great common goals and values.”

Davinder Matharu, Store

“For me, Dover Street Market is about creative energy, freedom of expression and new possibilities. Once inside, one’s mind is opened to a wonderful new experience.”