It was a pinch-me moment for Heron Preston.
The streetwear designer was standing outside 55 Paterson Street in Causeway Bay with a crowd that had gathered to christen his new shopfront, the first physical store for his young brand.
“I think it was Supreme’s James Jebbia who said, ‘the brand isn’t real until you have a store,'” Preston mused. While the truth of that could be debatable in this digital era, there was no doubting the emotion it held for the designer. “It feels real now. Real-er than real,” he said.
New York might’ve been an obvious choice for a foray into brick-and-mortar for the American, but Preston pointed out how his shop sits near spaces for his friends: Virgil Abloh’s Off-White, Marcelo Burlon’s County of Milan and Palm Angels by Francesco Ragazzi.
“It’s become a good-luck city to launch in amongst my partners. Off-White, Virgil launched his first store here, Marcelo [and] Palm Angels, we’re part of the same group,” Preston said.
Before Thursday, the eponymous label had only been available online and through pop-ups. Preston let on that he was also searching for more real estate.
“Shanghai is a location that we’re looking at for the second store. And New York, that will hopefully be next year, as well,” he said.
Known for his penchant for rule-breaking, the designer also shared how he had been scouting around for counterfeit merchandise of his brand to repurpose into real product.
“They’re spelling my name ‘Herom Prestom’, mispelling it with an ‘m’,” he explained. “I’m buying those and putting an “n” over it in a clear PVC material. I’m asking friends out here, and a friend in Guangzhou [to get them] for me. I’m buying 20 to 30 at a time. Set the price point a little cheaper because the quality, you know, sometimes.”
It sounded like a headache for his legal team, but Preston smiled. “People’s minds are blown. That’s my whole take, my response on bootleg culture.”
Correction: A previous version of this article stated that Marcelo Burlon designs Palm Angels, instead of Francesco Ragazzi. Marcelo Burlon is the designer behind County of Milan.