MEET THE STORE #9: Kings & Queens

Today the 9th episode of the topic Meet the Store. This topic Meet the Store shows you the best (denim) stores. The stores you need to know to find the right pair of jeans, the most durable boots, an outstanding jacket or your new favorite denim item.

This new edition of Meet the Store is with Kings & Queens from Antwerp, Belgium. A great store filled the most beautiful brands, there’s also a special Red Wing Shoes shop-in-shop in the back of the store. Thanks for sharing your story Hans!

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Hans Bollen

kings and queens

  • Name: Hans Bollen.
  • Living in village & country: Antwerp, Belgium.
  • Age: 50 years.
  • Instagram ID of the store: @kingsqueens_store.
  • Number of Instagram followers of the store: 1.885 followers.
  • Website: www.kings-queens.be.
  • Daily work: Owner of Kings & Queens and running the store and webstore.

Can you introduce yourself (who are you and what are you doing):

Hi, my name is Hans Bollen and I would describe myself as a tough tall guy who likes a glass of wine while I’m having a chat with my friends. Besides that, I love to walk my Great Dane Marcel whenever I’m not on the road driving my motorcycle.

Since 2009, I’m the founder and owner of Kings & Queens which is a denim, Red Wing & workwear store located in the beautiful city centre of Antwerp in Belgium. Recently, I started the Kings & Queens webstore which allows clients to be easily updated about new collections. All clothes which can be found in my store are selected by myself. To find inspiration, I often travel around to check out what’s happening and which trends are emerging in my market segment. In this way I regularly visit clothing events and I like to pass by colleagues all over the world. This allows me to discover beautiful people and stuff while I’m probably driving my motorbike.

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Hans in front of his Kings & Queens store.

In our shop, we try to create an unique vibe which you will tell all your friends about. We do this by offering our clients the complete shopping experience. First of all, we give them the touch, the possibility to try out and good service. This allows us to focus on the physical experience which is very important to differentiate these days. Besides that, we only sell authentic brands with an eye for detail which are made in Europe. A good contact with the designer or owner of these brands is an important requirement to start our ‘partnership’. In this way I try to follow my ‘buying local’ vision which is very important to me. It allows me to give honest advice and to tell the true story behind the products which is becoming rare nowadays.

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kings and queens

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kings and queens

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Can you tell a little bit about the history of Kings & Queens:

We started in 2009, so this year we will celebrate our 10-year anniversary. Over this period, the shop evolved in the same way as I did personally. The longer I’m going, the more I get to know about the brands, fabrics, etc. For the store counts the same because the products which are being offered are getting better and better.

What are the core/most popular products at Kings & Queens:

Since a few years we are selling the entire collection of Eat Dust which is a local brand from Antwerp. The 2 owners, Rob Harmsen and Keith Hioco became very good friends since we started working together. We often ride our motorcycles together or go for a casual drink which proves our close contact with partners. Pike Brothers is another brand which I really love. Later this year we will do a collab because of our 10-year anniversary. We have one of the biggest Red Wing Shoes collections in Belgium which is another core product that we are selling.

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Hans with Rob and Keith from Eat Dust at the Eat Dust HQ in Antwerp, BE.

What are the most popular brands at Kings & Queens:

We like to work with Armor Lux . They are based in France and focus mainly on wool sweats. Blundstone the Australian Chelsea Boot or Ondura with their handmade leather products are some other brands where people often ask for. The last popular brand is Indigofera denim from Sweden. We really love their fabrics and iconic products like the Fargo shirt.

What’s the most popular denim brand and fit at Kings & Queens:

Important thing to know is that we only sell raw denim which means ‘no washings’. When I talk about the fabrics, I would say we really love the Bloodline of Eat Dust. This is their black denim line with pants and tops which fade extremely well.

What’s the most iconic item available at Kings & Queens:

What’s Iconic ?

For me, the 875 Red Wing boot or a straight fit selvage denim that you have worn every day until it has adjusted to you. It tells the story of your life so in fact each single item in our store can become the most iconic one.

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The classic Moc Toe style by Red Wing Shoes.

Look at Marlon Brando, a denim cuffed with black Engineers and a classic t-shirt which is still rock & roll. Or Clint Eastwood with a classic denim shirt or Steve McQueen. They are all very iconic and stylish in denim.

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The Red Wing Shoes shop-in-shop in the back of the store.

Where is your inspiration coming from as owner of Kings & Queens:

As I earlier mentioned, I get often inspired by travelling and meeting passionate people. For example, last time I did a workshop where we learned how to make our own knives. Dimitri, the founder of ‘Studio Blade’ is such an inspiring guy. Another example is the local fisherman who I met during our last holiday in Thailand. He didn’t speak English at all but he offered me a coconut to drink. We didn’t speak to each other but the way he smiled created such a great connection which you can’t describe in words. It gave me an intense feeling which I really enjoyed!

Each good review about my store gives me goose bumps again. This is because most of these people become good friends that I’m helping, not selling products to.

What’s your personal favourite denim brand and fit:

I almost always wear the Eat Dust Fit 73 in blue and the black one which is called the Bloodline as said earlier. After 6 years, I started last Autumn to wear the new Pike Brothers 1937 blue black because I really love that colour and feel of the fabric. If I’m not wearing denim, I often take the Pike Brothers 1932 Engineer, what a great fit!!

What’s your favourite denim city:

I can show the craziest faded jeans from the hall of fades: here are some details of the Eat Dust Fit 73.

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eat dust

Shots of Hans’ worn Eat Dust fit 73 jeans.

What can we expect in the future of Kings & Queens:

In 2019, we will celebrate our 10-year anniversary with in-store events. Soon, 2 new brands will enter our store. We will have a pop up day with Red Rabbit which is silver jewellery from the United States. Their collection is inspired by Fred Harvey and pre 1920’s jewellery. Our 10-year anniversary party will be celebrated on Saturday 4th of May with some unique collabs. For more info, check out our Instagram page or website. In Autumn 2019, we will have our Pike Brothers day which makes that our agenda is pretty filled!

We are really looking forward to 2019 and hope to see you all in Antwerp soon!

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Read also the previous editions of Meet the Store;

Oeben’s Mercantile in Utrecht (NL): here.

Concrete Matter in Amsterdam (NL): here.

Red Wing Shoes in Amsterdam (NL): here.

Cultizm (online store): here.

Black & Blue in Nijmegen (NL): here.

Denoism in Rotterdam (NL): here.

Arborator in Maastricht (NL): here.

Tenue de Nîmes in Amsterdam (NL): here.

Written by Wouter
I'm the founder of Long John. Next to running this daily magazine I'm working as a freelance marketing specialist for brands and retail. Specialized in denim.