No One Like Me is the ethos behind one of Sydney’s most exciting concept stores, NOLM. It started in 2017 as an online store run by four friends: Sasha Yu, Jimmy Liang, Rachel Song, and Tim Lo. Finding each other through mutual friends and Instagram, the four bonded over a mutual love for fashion.
The retail space opened in June last year and stocks some of fashion’s most innovative labels. Enter the store and you’ll find the likes of Ashley Williams, Martine Rose, SHUSHU/TONG, and 032c.
Located in Chippendale, NOLM is a feverish dream. With its neon lights, industrial metal, and concrete floor, the store is an ode to the next gen. “Rather than a particular space, we thought, ‘What more could represent the ultimate futuristic feel other than the movie Blade Runner?’” they tell us over email.
We connected with their head of Brand Communications, Rachel Song, to chat about the origins of the store, their brand vetting process, and the NOLM experience.
Hey Rachel! Thanks so much for taking the time to chat. First things first—we love the design of your retail space! What did you have in mind when you were designing it? Was there a particular space that you drew inspiration from?
Our taste and style/brands we select is more towards something we envision as “future-wear.” With neon and metal interior signature details such as our neon yellow PVC curtains and the metal cross-hatch panels We wish to transport our customer to the unexpected, to a futuristic dimension when they step into our store.
The online store has been in action since 2017. How has it evolved over the last two years?
We’ve originally started out as solely an online store, but we expanded to a physical store mid-2018. Our designer selection we have today compared to 2 years ago is a more mature curation that truly represents our aesthetic and how we see our audience dressing. We strive to keep on improving our online and physical store to keep our audience wanting more. We’ve also begun collaborating with global creatives, such as with store soundtrack curations—we’ve got Shanghai-based producer Scintii lined up. We’ve also got a special collaborative project coming out soon. It’s an exciting year for us.
You stock some of the most diverse and innovative labels around at the moment. How do you choose what you want to stock?
Jimmy, our co-founder, loves to read fashion news every day; it’s part of his daily routine. Once there is a new brand that is unique and interesting enough, we consider bringing them into our store. We also look through Instagram and graduate work from fashion schools around the world. The things we are looking for from a label is the uniqueness and innovative-ness of the design. Have we seen something similar out in the market or not? Will it sit well with our current brands list, and is there potential in the brand?
NOLM means No One Like Me. With this in mind, what sets your store apart?
We think something that sets our store apart is the brands and the styles we select. We don’t only focus on the trendy/hype brands and styles. Instead, we’re not afraid to introduce up-and-coming, exciting new designers and styles to [the] Australian market, in Sydney specifically. This means we have to educate our customers and give them enough time to understand the new designers we introduce. It’s a risky move, and we consistently need to find the right balance, but we strongly believe in our ethos. In addition, we don’t think there is a store in Sydney that is doing what we’ve been doing. Although based in Australia, we’ve got a heavy interest from China and Japan.
We believe style is like a personality. Everyone has their own unique, special style, so that’s why we want to help customers to explore their personal identity by giving them more choice.
Can you describe what it’s like walking into NOLM? What is NOLM’s soundtrack? What does it smell like?
When you first come in, you’ll feel like you’re entering a hyperreal, technological future fashion space. It feels like you’ve discovered a new experience. You’ll see a flash of neon lights against our metal walls, and our selection of products for your perusal. Our soundtrack cannot be described as one thing, it flows and changes into different moods. A Japanese incense stick is slowly burning on a thin gold holder. It is the smell of zen in the future.
Find out more about NOLM here.