Thursday, January 12, 2012

About the most sympathetic shop in Brussels

Do you have a friend who is so good-hearted, kind and mirthful you could not imagine anyone disliking them? One of those charming people who never cease to be joyful, except when they're angry, which they never seem to be without good sense and reason? For my part, I can think of maybe 2 or 3 people close to me who would fit that description. Flawless as they are, they're one of the grand mysteries of life. They're a bit like modern Jesuses. (Jesi?) You'd rather swallow a Nuremberg Chronicle in its entirety than intentionally upset them.

If by now you're thinking I'm trying to proselytize with all this religious chatter, don't worry. I'm not a very pious type of person. If Dante was even remotely on to something, the 6th circle of Hell is where I'll be spending my afterlife:
(Steam baths, alright! I can't wait.)

No, I'm merely expressing - in a clumsy metaphorical manner - my enchantment with LOwi, a shop in Brussels that is roughly the retail equivalent of the type of person mentioned above. LOwi is a relatively new store. The first time I visited was a few months ago at the occasion of the Modo Parcours. I mostly remember being enthralled by one of their beautifully crafted satchels.

The clothes left an impression as well. The selection (both for men and women) is small, but very nice. The brands (mostly Scandinavian) aren't your run of the mill standard names - you'll have a hard time finding them anywhere else in Brussels. The styles range from down to earth to classic to whimsical to sophisticated- whatever is to the owners' liking, basically. This might sound like utter style anarchy, but it all works great together.

I went to check out the sales at LOwi on my lunch break last week. Accessories and new selection excluded, everything was 30% off. (A small rack went up to 50%.) I found two beautiful woollen sweaters, one of them made by Mads Norgaard and knitted in Denmark, one of them from Maria Westerlind, a Swedish line that will soon be discontinued. It didn't carry a label of origin, so I asked the owner, Wietse, whether he knew where it was made. He deduced it was probably made in Portugal, which made it a-okay to me. I've barely taken it off since, it's so warm and soft and comfortable.

I explained Wietse my goal for 2012 and we had a great chat. I was glad to hear they get more and more customers with similar demands, and even more glad to learn that LOwi barely sells any brands that produce outside of Europe. While we were talking, I was once again mesmerized by the handbag that had caught my eye all those months ago. I asked where it was from, and he told me it was by Hester Van Eeghen, a Dutch designer. All of her work is designed in Holland and handcrafted in Milan. (I'll probably do a separate post on her somewhere in the future.)

I yielded. I've been on the lookout for a new bag, because I only have one right now. I love it, but it's not large enough to carry work documents. On top of that, I'm afraid it will wear out too quickly because I carry too much weight - my bags usually have a lifespan of 6 months. A vintage book satchel aside, my Sessùn bag was first real leather bag ever, and I'd like it to last. The Hester van Eeghen-satchel was designed to hold a laptop, so as far as size goes, it's perfect. It's sturdy, but dainty at the same time, thanks to its girly colours.

The bag wasn't on sale, but I still got a small discount, which I thought was a beautiful gesture. I sincerely think no one could wish for a better service than the one you get at LOwi. They're kind, humorous and most important of all: genuine. You're not just another number here. For example: I told Wietse my friend Eva (hi Eva!) bought a French Connection dress from them a little while ago. Not only did he remember her, he also recalled the friend accompanying her (hi Goele!), and when she was planning to wear the dress. Maybe it's just the workings of a good memory, but I'd rather think it's a sign of an authentic congenial approach to retail. One thing's certain: LOwi is sure of my affections.


  1. Hi Elke! Aaaa, you gotta love LOwi! Wietse is inderdaad supersympathiek. Zo cool dat hij zich Goele en mij nog herinnert. Ik wist trouwens niet dat je de LOwi met twee hoofdletters schreef - weer iets bijgeleerd vandaag!

  2. Hij heeft ook al verschillende keren pakjes voor mij aangenomen als ik niet thuis was - de DHL man kent hem goed, hij doet dat blijkbaar voor heel de buurt :) Good karma for LOwi! (is trouwens een samenstelling van de namen van de eigenaars)

  3. Replies
    1. Bovenstaande comment werd geschreven in een rokje van LOwi.

    2. Speciaal voor de gelegenheid? :)