Brewer Street in Soho, London, offers a truly eclectic range of what the middle-aged advertising men dressed like teenagers who throng the area would term "retail experiences". A smattering of sex shops, an organic supermarket in which a packet of sausages costs approximately the same as the downpayment on a house in Ireland, a boutique that offers several hundred varieties of the same baseball cap, and an establishment dedicated entirely to the left-handed: all human life is here. But most startlingly for relentlessly chichi-fied central London is the fact that it contains two independent hardware shops, where you can purchase nails, hinges, hammers and other accoutrements of carpentry, plumbing and masonry. It really is astonishing that neither has been rent-hiked out of business and turned into coffee bars. And now the casual pedestrian could be forgiven for assuming that a third hardware shop has come to Brewer Street. For this store is lined with wooden shelves, along which trundles a movable ladder, and is sprinkled with beaten-up metal worktables on which its utilitarian wares are displayed. And the walls are decorated with saucy glamour-girl pictures stuck up with wiring tape. It is not an enormous stretch to imagine it staffed by a brown-coated Ronnie Barker in search of fork handles. But instead of four candles, this shop sells attractive belts, bags, clothes and wallets, and is staffed by young men with vogue-ish facial hair. It is the first British outpost of Jack Spade, a seven-store chain that has become one of America's coolest menswear companies. Jack Spade was invented in 1996, when an American advertising man named Andy Spade recruited an industrial designer to help him create a pared-down men's bag that was more butch (and cheaper) than "fashion" bags, but more attractive than nylon sports gear. The resulting wax cotton and canvas messenger bags went on sale in a Manhattan hardware store and quickly became cult items. The company grew and was sold a few years Mulberry ago to an American conglomerate named Fifth & Pacific. Spade himself has moved on to other, similar(ish) ventures - he helped the company J Crew open a men's "liquor store"-styled clothes boutique, and recently said of his work: "So much depends on the context. " Jack Spade's designer is Cuan Hanly, a charming chap who used to work for Paul Smith. Like the interior design, his clothes often reference the functional gear worn by work and tradesmen (reflective orange often lines zippers), and sometimes the military, too. Though peppered with whimsical, witty little details, these are, at heart, carefully conceived versions of blue-collar clothes for 21st-century white-collar men. Lots of them are great: particularly the chinos, and the waxed canvas bags (as pictured below). When I called them "basics", though, Hanly (reasonably) bristled a bit, saying: "There's a difference between basics and simplicity of design; it's actually quite tricky to produce a simple product that functions really well, and lasts, and breaks in beautifully. " And according to Jack Spade aficionados, Hanly's products do precisely that. As well as those pin-up girls, the Brewer Street shop is decorated with artfully scattered Eighties calculators, old car adverts and cookbooks dedicated to red meat recipes. It's all a carefully conceived masculine theme park - Spade's "context" - designed to appeal to highly paid "creatives" who might sit in front of a computer all day, but who quietly wonder if perhaps they shouldn't wield a hammer for a living. As such, Jack Spade is a perfect addition to 21st-century Soho. If you want four candles, however, just walk a few yards further down Brewer Street.