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Ra

Ra, named after co-founders and business partners Romain Brau and Anna Kushnerova, has been shaking up the retail status quo in Antwerp since the groundbreaking multi-level space opened in fall 2009. Loathe to call it a “concept shop,” Brau and Kushnerova envision Ra as a platform for young artists, combining the many talents of rising stars in the fields of literature, design, music and more to create a dynamic retail environment. While clothing is arguably the focus, the store also includes a DJ booth, a cozy storefront café, a selection of books and a long entryway that plays host to rotating art exhibitions.Kloosterstraat 13, 2000 Antwerp
Tel: +32 (0)3 292 37 80 


A cornerstone of the Ra experience is shared space. Weather permitting, old Persian rugs and tables are placed in front of the store, enticing passersby to enjoy something from the café, chat with friends, and engage in a shared experience. If the persistent Belgian rain shows up, customers can head to the cozy café, a similarly informal setting with magazines and newspapers strewn about. Additional spaces behind the store and in the upstairs garden reinforce Ra’s philosophy of engaging, educating, and nurturing the customer.


Ra’s womenswear selection spans from whimsical and feminine to angular and avant garde. While the upstairs space is dedicated to more affordable, casual lines like Peter Jensen, Henrik Vibskov, Stine Goya and Makin Jan Ma, the ground floor features the often sculptural work of Louise Golden, Rad Hourani, Gareth Pugh, and Richard Nicoll, among others. Hard-to-find lines like Akira Naka and Hannah Marshall demonstrate a love of detail while wearable basics by French favorite Kitsuné ensure there’s something to suit all tastes and wallets.


The menswear selection at Ra is equally eclectic, with a similar demarcation in price point and style divided between the upstairs and the ground floor. While Cosmic Wonder Light Source, KTZ [Kokon to Zai], Bless and more comprise the edgy street-wise section upstairs, the downstairs hosts Juun J, Frank Leder, Ute Ploier, and Tillmann Lauterbach, along with unisex tailoring by Rad Hourani, knits by Damir Doma and Kitsuné separates for the guys.


Ra’s exquisite vintage section reflects a love of fashion history and a respect for established labels. During Stylesight’s visit, the section included tailoring by Thierry Mugler and Azzedine Alaïa, dresses by Yves Saint Laurent couture, Cerruti, Lanvin, 20th-century great Maggy Rouff and more. Well-preserved shoes by Yves Saint Laurent and Hermès are a nice complement to the plethora of vintage hats and gloves on display.


Not one to shy away from the bold and cutting edge, Ra’s accessories selection reads like a who’s-who of some of the best emerging names in the field. Raphael Young’s sculptural heels, Fleet Ilya’s figure-flattering belts and bags, and Opening Ceremony’s casual-cool shoes are just some of the brands available alongside Men’s footwear by Givenchy and Damir Doma.
 
 


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