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Shop Small Saturday: Arena Menswear

In the bustling seaside town of Worthing in East Sussex, you’ll find renowned menswear boutique Arena Menswear.

At the heart of the store since it opened in 1994, Mark Davies knows a thing or two about menswear. Since taking over as store owner from being a Saturday boy in 2004, he’s taken the boutique from strength to strength, responding to ever changing trends and watching brands come and go. What’s stayed the same? The loyal customer base who have been shopping in Worthing’s trendiest menswear store for years.

From heritage brands like Barbour and Calvin Klein to streetwear favourites Gramicci and Kavu, this is where the best dressed men on the south east coast of England come to shop.

“I often joke that I have never had a job interview in my life. I started working at Arena when the store opened in 1994 and I’ve never looked back. From starting as a Saturday boy, I bought the business from its first owner in 2004. We had a very strong first week from memory and the business has grown ever since. We have also seen the industry change a lot since then with so many memorable brands coming and going along the way.  Menswear is ever evolving, which is one of the things I love about it. Over the years I’ve built some great connections and friendships with people in the industry.

We’re based in Worthing, a really cool seaside town in West Sussex. The last 10 years has seen such a growth in the town, dubbing us 'The posh Hackney on Sea’ by the Times and ’the best seaside town to move to in 2023'. We have had a brilliant surge of great independents successfully opening in the town from gift shops, coffee shops, micro breweries, green grocers & Masterchef winning restaurants… It's definitely a brilliant place to be.”

“As we’ve been here for 29 years now, it's fair to say we have a great loyal customer base. If you’re a regular, chances are that when you walk in it's just simply a case of letting us know what you want - we know your size, so it's a quick recommendation and off you go. Easy shopping, no messing around, which we know is what most of our customers want. We’re always here for a chat and a catch up, and are often brought coffees and gifts - it's a great community. We always have treats at the ready for the dogs too. We have one regular pup who makes his way in way ahead of his owner and just turns up at your feet behind the counter, waiting patiently for his treat - he's a legend; as is our own own shop dog 'Rafferty Santiago’ who is rapidly approaching his first birthday!

Thankfully, we have an amazing team both in store, and in our office and warehouse. Everyone enjoys a laugh but works hard and is committed to our number one ethos of excellent customer service and superior stock knowledge. It's something we pride ourselves in and sets ourselves apart from the competition, which has led to us, not only surviving the pandemic but making the following few years our best yet.”

“Over the years, as the store has matured, so have the brands and our target audience. We started out retailing some ‘90s menswear classics like Peter Werth, Ben Sherman, Duck & Cover, Urban Stone, French Connection, C17 & Arturo to name a few. As the industry trends changed dramatically over the years, so did our customer base and our current brand mix is looking the strongest it has in years. Staff favourites include KLATTERMUSEN, Filson, Gramicci & Fjallraven. We also have one of the strongest selections of footwear on the whole of the south coast as we stock a huge selection from Karhu, Birkenstock, Danner, Red Wing, Flower Mountain, Clarks Originals, Novesta, Saucony & Keen just to name a few.”

Arena Menswear's Heroes:

What brand is on your radar right now?

KLATTERMUSEN - It’s basically Fjallraven but on steroids. Another outdoor hiking & trekking outfitter from Sweden but on another level. Key pieces from them include the ALGIR range of hip packs and the ASYNJA jacket that has more buttons and whistles than one of Elon's rockets.”

What are your key pieces for SS23?

“The key piece for this spring and summer is definitely 'The Forest Rules’ pack from Karhu. It’s this summer's concept pack, based upon three main areas of focus to protect the wilderness: wildlife, safety first and preservation. Each style within the Forest Rules Pack is set apart from the main collection as they have the strongest colour ways for the season and feature limited edition insoles and individual branded boxes. The Legacy 98 and Fusion 2.0 are staff favourites.”

What else is coming in 2023?

“Something else special for SS23 is the collaboration between Danner & Mystery Ranch. The limited-edition, versatile trail hiker is inspired by the vivid, rich, layered colours of the Big Sky Country sunsets of Montana. A lightweight mesh upper and GORE-TEX waterproof liner provide breathable protection from the elements, keeping feet comfortable in all conditions.” Trusted Site