From UK department stores doing things differently, to US festival pop-ups and co-creation labs, this month stores are leading the way in creating new and meaningful connections with their customers.
lululemon lab is a dual design and retail concept opened by the Canadian activewear giant in New York following the success of its Vancouver lab, which opened in 2009. The 270sqm boutique will act as an incubator site, where the brand collaborates with local designers big and small to create exclusive collections specifically for its New Yorker clientele, such as an all-black ‘commuter line’. All items are created in limited runs of 50, with successful products potentially incorporated into the lululemon main line.
What we love:
The lululemon lab has a completely different look and feel, signalling a step change between its main stores and the incubator site. Towards the back of the store designers work away in a sample-making area, allowing activewear lovers to get an insight into the design making process and share product feedback that may directly influence future product decisions.
Selfridges opened Body Studio, the department store’s largest ever department, dedicated to female fashion, fitness and wellbeing at the start of April. The 3,400+sqm space showcases over 150 brands and 5,000 products across lingerie, loungewear, sportswear, swimwear and sleepwear, a healthy café by celebrity sister home cooks Hemsley & Hemsley and a Daniel Galvin hair salon.
What we love:
To mark the opening of the new Body Studio department, Selfridges launched a 10-week ‘EveryBODY’ calendar of events covering everything from inspiring talks to immersive workout classes across eight different themes. We love that Selfridges continues to drive customer loyalty through a combination of education and entertainment, giving customers a reason to return again and again.
Harvey Nichols has revamped the 2,600sqm menswear department of its Knightsbridge flagship, replacing conventional concession spaces in favour of a discovery-oriented customer journey. The space has also integrated a barbershop, a style concierge with no minimum spend and bar and kitchen collaboration with Wallpaper magazine.
What we love:
We love that the department has been orientated around seven fashion boutiques: denim, smart casual, contemporary, tailoring (split into day, formal and eveningwear), accessories, international designers and shoes. This offers customers an intuitive journey of product and brand discovery based on style preference and need, rather than the traditional shop-in-shop department store layout.
Sponsoring the sell-out Californian music festival for the seventh consecutive year, H&M has created a number of parties, pop-ups and brand experiences, and 2016 was no different. The Swedish fast-fashion player created a ‘Desert Vibes’ pop-up shop, offering customers the ability to browse and buy products from the comfort of an air-conditioned tent complete with a interactive digital photo-booth.
What we love:
The desert photo-booth immersed festival-goers in a 360-degree desert scene, featuring a green screen backdrop that morphed into deserts and sandstorms, where they were able to film a series of five-second clips. This is the perfect experience for H&M’s hyper-visual Gen Z audience who will actively engage with those brands that offer creative tools with a personalised output that they can share with friends.
And look out for…
Opening on the 19th of May and running for 6 weeks, Peroni open its latest summer pop-up in the London Borough of Haggerston. With respect to the brand’s Italian roots, the experience will revolve around collaborations with three influential Italians – fashion designer Margherita Maccapani Missoni, world-renowned chef Francesco Mazzei, and award-winning mixologist Simone Caporale.
It’s reported that BMW and Mini have taken over a 2,000sqm warehouse space in Brooklyn and have plans to turn it into a creative hub: “co-working desk rentals, an accelerator program for startups trying to change cities through technology, a design academy, and a small Mini design studio”. Sounds exciting to us, we can’t wait to see the result.
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