From its inception in 2006, Concepts has been known for an unparalleled brand mix – and the relationships it has with those brands. The company brings its customers experiences that represent a contemporary luxury and embraces the most exciting elements of contemporary lifestyle. There is no hierarchy of aesthetic or interest in the Concepts brand, to hear Tarket Hassan, owner and founder of Concepts, describe it.
“Concepts has always had a broad perspective,” said Hassan. “We were watching the snowboard boom of the ‘90s, but also seeing sneaker culture root globally. We understood the mix of extreme sports, skate and sneaker culture immediately. We also knew that there was an inherent luxury to it all – something that gave us permission to stretch the
boundaries of accessories and, as we’ve grown, our brand mix.”
It seems only fitting then that the New England company would have such a strong connection to New York City, which thrives on blending cultures and setting trends.
“New York moves fast. It creates trends; it supercharges trends,” said Annie Morgan, who oversees the Concepts Brand and label. “New Yorkers are attuned to shifts. The city has an incredible sense of heritage — its shoppers innately understand classic style. Understanding this and having willingness to embrace the avant garde, makes the scene very exciting.”
Setting itself apart, Concepts has always worked to create a “full package experience.” Packaging to the team behind Concepts goes beyond a sneaker box to how they show up in their retail stores or at a launch. Put simply, the Concepts team wants to create a memory for the consumer.
And these interactions have become part of the conversation, Deon Point, Creative Director for Concepts told Footwear News. “There’s nothing better than hearing from our consumers that they remember coming to us for a specific launch. When we make a shared moment, there is a nostalgia attached to both the experience and the product. Concepts is dedicated to landing that mix.”
“We understood coming into NYC that there was competition,” said Morgan “We also knew there was space for authentic connections to be made. That is our specialty. We want to have a conversation. We want to educated people about what we bring into our stores. We love being storytellers. The ways we do this go back to looking at the behaviors not only of customers, but by looking at contemporary lifestyle culture. Merging that — how people learn, live, and shop — is how we find success.”
When the company opened its first NYC location it was after years of planning, waiting for the correct time and the correct space, Hassan told WWD.
“The Tribeca store was originally designed as a showcase for our collaborations,” said Point. “We opened it as a gallery, something that could change with each product and tell a deeper story. The experiential nature of the space definitely helped us gain a footprint in NYC.”
From opening in New York City with New Balance as its partner to its current location at 99 University Place, Hassan said collaborations have been integral to deepening the brand’s relationship with consumers.
“Our Union Square store reflects our heritage,” said Hassan. “Skate-focused and university adjacent. We understand the high/low dynamism of streetwear. And New York expects that knowledge, but also embraces evolution. Giving space to our private label in the store, for example, was a perfect way to share our growth and secure our story over 25 years.”
Notably, longtime friend of the company, skateboarder and NYC-native, Vinny Ponte, was influential in the Concepts’ introduction to the New York Skate scene is where the team first got its footing.
“The people who come to Concepts expect a story,” said Point “They are invested in the experiences. We’re lucky to work with great brands. Thinking about Nike, we’ve been able to do things with Nike SB, like the Holy Grail project, and with Nike basketball.
The diversity of those projects speaks to our interests, but also matches the holistic interests of our fans. They are not one dimensional, and Concepts collaborations allow us to really underscore that.”
In fact, after working in partnership with Nike for decades now, Concepts will be furthering its presence in New York City in its latest collaboration with the brand as it will be expanding the experience of the Air Max 1 launch partnering with NikeLab at 21 Mercer and SNKRS pass.
For Concepts, the collaboration represents another opportunity to share its vision in difference spaces. And with 21 Mercer being a sort of hallmark of New York City for global sneaker culture, it’s also a chance to bring the brands unique style for ideas and storytelling to the forefront.
“Over the years, we’ve been progressing our partnership with Nike,” said Hassan. “What was first delivered through Concepts is now delivered across multiple platforms. We share belief in the power of a physical experience. Similarly, we are able to push best-in-class digital experiences together.”
Always looking to evolve and progress in partnerships, Morgan said with Nike it’s a shared mantra of ‘no finish line’ that will “mix our mutual excitement for storytelling and reflect on the unique energy of the city.”
Beyond bringing New Yorkers an experimental experience, a fun aspect of the partnership, Deon Point said, will be the element of surprise since Concepts always strives to push boundaries.
Inspired by the “revolution” that took place when Nike first released the Nike Air Max 1 in 1987, consumers visiting the NYC NikeLab can expect Concepts to bring the “energy of that time” and its out-of-the-box perspective to blend heritage with a consumer experience that “totally bends the mind.”
Concept’s NYC Must-See’s
Hungry Ghost Coffee
Created by Turkish immigrant, Murat Uyaroglu, since 2012, Hungry Ghost Coffee has welcomed New Yorkers with a sense of community that is joyful, focused and proud. The quirky yet charming coffee shop offers satisfying Stumptown coffee and lattes as well as teas and kombucha, but a must have on the menu are the amazing pastries.
The Vig Bar
This cozy bar is exactly what you’re looking for in Nolita with its intimate atmosphere, low-key elegance and great music. Ideal for a small group of friends for a late-afternoon drink or happy hour with co-workers as the bar prides itself for a long list of cocktails that are both classic and creative.
Born in Brooklyn, this Italian sandwich bar is family owned and operated. Designed to bring New Yorkers a bit of “Old New York” experience, the owners strive to bring a part of their family’s history to the menu with each sandwich named for a member of the family they want you to know. True to the family recipe, nothing is processed and each sandwich is made with what the call “the best” from Sullivan Street Bakery and mozzarella from Loni’s to imported essentials from Italy.
A favorite for New Yorkers for being fun and homey, the bar’s eclectic surf-shack décor and funky furniture make visitors feel as though this bar has been around forever. Not to be missed is the golden skateboard that hangs on the wall. (The friendly co-owner Adam Himebauch has been rumored to deliver the kitchen’s Mediterranean food through the lower east side on skateboard.) Visitors can be sure to have a good time.
Perfect for a low-key dining experience, Dudley’s was designed to share the quintessential Australian corner pub-and-bistro with its guests. It’s a place to meet for drinks or share a casual meal with friends on a busy Saturday night and on a quite Tuesday. New Yorkers can enjoy the inviting menu that has something for everyone (from light bites and sandwiches to filling entrees) with an indoor or outdoor experience.
Mamoun’s staked its claim as the first falafel restaurant in New York in 1971 as well as becoming one of the first Middle Eastern establishments in the United States. Still family-owned and operated, the restaurant has stayed true to a philosophy of serving fresh, authentic Middle Eastern cuisine in a fast, casual environment – everything is made from scratch and the finest imported spices add a special touch to each dish. New Yorkers come to enjoy the restaurant’s rich tradition and the best falafel around. Mogador is a favorite for brunch among the cool-kids, so visitors hoping to try the Middle Eastern breakfast should plan to get there early.
Created by John Seymour and backed by Nas, Sweet Chick serves Southern love the Brooklyn way. Since 2013, the Sweet Chick team has followed a philosophy to “have fun, eat well and spread love” that New Yorkers can’t get enough of. Known for fried chicken and waffles, the menu also offers “rustic but modern” American comfort foods and cocktails. Plus, be sure to check out the daily specials.
Having been around since 1983, Café Mogador is a sort of institution of the Lower East Side. Those who know even credit the family-run Moroccan and Middle Eastern restaurant for being an early pioneer in the NYC restaurant world and downtown cultural hub. Today, Café Mogador is a favorite for brunch among the cool-kids, so visitors hoping to try the Middle Eastern breakfast should plan to get there early.