‘You only get one chance to make a first impression,’ and Hans Bollen, owner of Antwerp’s Kings & Queens, sure doesn’t pass up that chance. He’s the kind of proprietor that always gives each customer a warm welcome, even when he’s busy helping out other customers. And with a combination of a distinctive 50’s style and the emerging biker-scene with the more contemporary fashion market, King & Queens reaches out to both hardcore enthusiasts and denim novices.
Kings & Queens is located in the beautiful city centre of Antwerp. The building has this typical Belgium ‘heritage’ look; the street is filled with old, classic buildings housing small boutiques, restaurants, galleries and such. First located in the well-known Kammenstraat, Hans moved Kings & Queens to this current location, which offers more space for all his goods. And it also draws in the crowd Hans is looking to reach.
The white wooden panels on the walls gives the shop a certain barn feel. This rather clean white look highlights all the garments and products that stand out and immediately draws your attention.
Despite its relatively small size there is a lot to see at Kings & Queens. In front of the store a table is filled with gear from Armor-Lux and Pike Brothers. And the merchandising of brands in this store is carefully balanced. Hans focuses on quality at a reasonable price. For under 200 euros you can get a great pair of jeans from some of the brands he sells. It doesn’t always have to be expensive, he explains. Since the denim-scene isn’t that big in Belgium, compared to the Netherlands for example, people are not that much into the denim – yet. He rationale is that if the prices are too high, people will not get into it in the first place.
Kings & Queens also carries a variety of accessories from Flying Zacchinis, Marshall, Cowboy Belts, Bell Helmets and The Great Frog and grooming supplies from as Murray’s, Blue Beards Revenge and more.
Kings & Queens is one of many must-visits when you’re in Antwerp. It offers a great variety of brands and gear, and it’s not just for the hardcore biker or the denim enthusiast. You get the feeling this this is a shop that is loved by the people who run it who have great passion for what they do.
Photo accreditation: Michael van Hal – Ouwe Paparazzi Photography.