An edited version of this article first appeared in Drapers Magazine.
2019 will hopefully bring some stability and confidence back to the market – if we can resolve the uncertainty over Brexit and find a vision to address the various social, economic and environmental issues facing us in the future. Politically, socially, economically and environmentally we are in the most challenging position I can recall in our lifetime. But, despite these very real challenges, Fashion marches on, and could even be said to thrive in times of uncertainty.
We will see more flexibility in formats as landlords and brands find the right balance of rent and lease agreements. Shorter, more agile arrangements will be more common and brands will evolve more agile and flexible concepts to fit those spaces. Ease of exit will be part of the brief at the outset. If I leave in two years?..what can I take with me to the next iteration of my retail proposition. If I decide to sell something different or sell that product in a different way, how does the store design anticipate that? These are the new challenges to designers, to think smarter, more responsively.
The customer will continue to demand a balance of convenience and experience, fast and slow, easy and immersive. It will be intriguing to see a new generation of stores that are truly responsive and ‘live’ at all times.
In terms of ‘design’ trends in the traditional sense, nobody cares. Nobody is talking about the latest trend in flooring or wall covering. There are trends, but clients no longer care about that, they trust that will come, but are more interested rightly in what design can do for them, not what it is built from. That’s a major shift.