From Depop’s first IRL initiative to wellness newcomer Anatome, Zara’s fresh digital concept, Gucci’s maximalist Manhattan shop and our very own The Shop at Bluebird flagship, these are the stores we loved most in May.
Gen Z favourite and retail disrupter, Depop has opened its first physical outlet in Silver Lake, Los Angeles.
What we love
It’s set to galvanise the Depop community. More clubhouse than store, it comes complete with a photography studio that sellers can rent out to shoot their products and hosts free lessons for things such as ‘learning how to style fashion and lifestyle photoshoots, source vintage, build a brand and other skills to help them grow into creative entrepreneurs,’ as says the press release. Depop also invites its most successful sellers to host pop-up shops in the space on a regular basis.
The careful edit. No, the store is not just about selling, but Depop has chosen a few ‘iconic’ items to sell in store. Essentially it acquires the product from popular Depop users, then resells it taking a 10% commission when sold. Depop promises it will be much more reasonably priced than similar items available in LA vintage shops.
It’s a great form of marketing. Yes, the brand is dominating the second-hand fashion app space, however this transition into bricks and mortar will enable it to reach a whole new customer as well as cement loyalty among existing users. If executed well, this space could be Depop’s most important form of marketing, and as the brand has already admitted it’s not hoping to turn a profit from the store, let’s hope it will be.
The Shop at Bluebird
Next up is one we designed! Cult luxury boutique The Shop at Bluebird has moved from the Kings Road to Covent Garden’s historic Carriage Hall.
What we love
It’s the start of a fresh chapter. By relocating right into the heart of London, The Shop at Bluebird is repositioning itself as a brand for a wider and probably more international demographic. The space itself is exceptional, with the departments circling around a three-story atrium and room for a restaurant at the top that’s accompanied by an impressive outside terrace.
It really is a playground of wonders. We’re very happy with how the ‘Playground of Wonders’ vision has turned out. The dramatic space is only elevated further by the use of whimsical prints from Timorous Beasties, luxe metallic finishes and artistic details that create a truly spectacular interior. It beautifully complements the whimsical and playful Bluebird personality, lending the boutique a wholly less stuffy vibe than the usual luxury store.
The amazing edit. The buy centres on hand-picked gems and, as a few editors remarked at the opening party, “It feels as if you are browsing someone’s very chic wardrobe rather than a normal store.” The Shop at Bluebird really is a smorgasbord of delights filled with pieces from big labels like Alexander McQueen and Victoria Beckham as well as contemporary brands like Ganni and Bella Freud, and avant garde designers such as Isa Arfen.
Gucci‘s creative director, Allesandro Michele abhors the idea that Millennials are an online-only generation and insists they are simply bored with the typical luxury experience… enter its new-look Manhattan store.
What we love
It has the younger generation at its heart. In order to make the retail experience more exciting Gucci has done away with the things normally associated with luxury stores – there’s no stern security guard, cross merchandising between the super-expensive and relatively cheaper items. Millenials (even very rich ones) value inclusivity and dislike snobbishness more than previous generations, this store reflects that.
The interior reflects Alessandro Michele’s aesthetic. Since Michele’s arrival, Gucci has transformed aesthetically from slick and grown up to maximalist and young, however, its stores were not reflecting this. Though this store, with its exposed brick walls, factory-style beams and industrial light features, has a low-fi vibe that’s very modern and contrasts with the whimsical prints, OTT clothing and dazzling accessories beautifully.
It’s inclusive. Gucci’s chief executive Marco Bizzari doesn’t want this store to alienate anyone, he wants it to feel “inclusive”. Customers are encouraged to pick up and feel the items themselves and sale assistants called ‘connectors’ have been hired for their ability to tell Gucci’s story well. Designed to look like a candy shop, it delights at every turn and encourages exploration.
Hailed as Zara’s first ‘store of the future,’ this new Westfield Stratford mega store builds on the features we discussed here.
What we love
The use of technology. Zara has been investing in technology over a number of years and is committed to ensuring all its stores are optimised to provide a more technology-led experience. The main features include the designated click-and-collect area, self-service checkouts and interactive RFID mirrors that reflect garments and provide outfit suggestions in the mirror.
The tech is also about driving online sales. Zara hopes that by making it really easy to collect in store, this will encourage more people to buy online and come into store to collect their purchases, creating a completely modern, multichannel experience.
The ultra-clean, confident interior. In an era where stores feel the pressure to ‘go viral’ and be crammed with Insta-bait moments, Zara has stayed true to its simple white box aesthetic. The thing is, Zara is in a unique position where its trend-led product is a big enough draw to get people in store, so rather than investing in retail theatre, Zara recognises that a seamless shopping journey may be more beneficial. If it can pull off this new digital-led experience, Zara’s high street dominance is sure to continue.
Brendan Murdock, the owner of successful men’s grooming chain Murdock barbers, has now launched Anatome, a store dedicated to wellness on Redchurch Street, Shoreditch.
What we love
The services. The brand’s motto is ‘nutrition and emotional balance is the pathway to a healthy lifestyle’ and it aims to help customers achieve this beyond just offering health products. In-store nutritionist Winder Ton is available to help with women’s and men’s health as well as offering overall wellbeing advice, and the brand also offers corporate wellness days throughout the year that can be booked through the website.
The carefully sourced and curated products. A lot of work has gone into creating the extensive range of organic products on offer. This includes a series of essential oils created with perfumer Anastasia Brozler as well as bespoke teas, juices and protein shakes that customers are invited to taste while they browse. There’s also a careful edit of sports clothing, equipment and books.
The apothecary-inspired interior. Earthy tones and natural materials give the store a nostalgic, pharmacy vibe, with a smattering of green pot plants completing the look. Jars of grains and spices, and vials of oils line the walls, while bohemian Berber rugs punctate the floor and industrial lights and shelving units provide a sleek contrast.