Flagship Stores

Decoded Fashion - Weekly Stories - JW Anderson Workshops
Image source: JW Anderson Workshops, Ace Hotel Londons

True to his reputation for going against the grain, Irish fashion designer J.W. Anderson has suspended plans for a flagship in favour of opening a gallery-inspired, revolving showcase of collaborative projects. He intends the projects – dubbed ‘workshops’ – to reflect his own passion for crafts, culture and overall experimentation.

An endeavour between himself and “kindred spirit” creators at east London’s trendy Ace Hotel, the Jonathan Anderson Workshops were inspired by the Omega Workshops (an early 20th-century literary/painting collective founded by members of the UK’s Bloomsbury set), and experimental Japanese fashion designer Issey Miyake.

From January 28, the 250 sq ft space will showcase projects including ceramics, music, photography and more to the public, featuring a different visual ‘editor’ each month. Anderson has only committed to “selling items occasionally”. A fashion photography book by Spanish magazine publisher Luis Venegas, featuring J.W. Anderson archive pieces, kicks off the proceedings.

The new concept underscores Anderson’s staunch views on the role of brand flagships. He believes luxury labels need to consider cultural context and more personal modes of behaviour. “[We live] not in a luxury world, but a cultural world — where we have to create more experience,” he told The Business of Fashion. “The luxury environment just isn’t personalised anymore.”

Guest post Stylus.com by Katie BaronStefanie Dorfer

Decoded Fashion - Weekly Stories - Bright-New-Things
Image source: Selfridges

For the 2016 edition of its annual Bright New Things (BNT) talent showcase, British department store Selfridges has collaborated with London’s Centre for Sustainable Fashion to promote the most exciting new names in sustainable fashion.

Now in its eighth year, the brand offers mentorship to all nine participants, plus a £30k ($43k) bursary to just one winner, announced at the project finale at the end of February 2016. Their work is currently being showcased in hidden pop-ups throughout the store, as well as the main Oxford Street windows.

Notably, Selfridges has chosen not to group all of the designers in one space under the umbrella of sustainability. Dispersing them throughout the store instead allows consumers to discover them on their own merit, as they would any other brand. However, for those keen to track the initiative, a printed map at each pop-up spot directs visitors to the others, like a treasure hunt.

Beyond the BNT programme, 30 established sustainability-focused brands, such as Swedish denim brand Nudie Jeans, are also flagged up. The nine BNT designers are also reflected in a dedicated section on Selfridge’s e-commerce site, including a surreal fashion film by London-based fashion filmmaker Marie Schuller that reimagines the BNT products.

Selfridges’ topical, activist stance shrewdly caters to a growing consumer appetite for eco-ethical consumption. Indeed, 76% of UK adults alone now pay attention to the ethical/green credentials of products, including manufacturing and distribution processes, as well as the reputation of companies or brands (Mintel, 2015).

Guest post Stylus.com by Katie BaronStefanie Dorfer

Decoded Fashion - Weekly Stories - Heals Digital Discovery
Image source: CloudTags

British furniture retailer Heal’s has just revealed the results of a year-long near-field communication (NFC) trial in its London flagship. The tablet-oriented Digital Discoveries service was part of a wider mission to understand consumer behaviour across all its platforms, and help shoppers move between them smoothly.

Oliver White, director of e-commerce, said: “While Heal’s has been excellent at understanding its customers’ behaviours on its website, in-store has admittedly been a real blind spot. Given most customers prefer to view in-store before purchasing online, it was essential to create a more seamless integration between their physical and digital spaces.”

Visitors can scan RFID (radio frequency identification) tags on products via in-store tablets to unlock additional information such as where the product was made, availability and complementary items. Selections can be added to a wish list and emailed for future reference.

The project also boosts connections to related marketing thanks to its underlying partnership with British ‘remarketing’ specialists CloudTags. When consumers click any of the product URLs in the wish-list emails, CloudTags is then able to re-engage them via targeted display ads on other sites.

Within the first week, 20% of customers used a tablet, 30% emailed themselves a wish list and 75-80% opened a link. Collaborating with UK-based real-time marketing platform Fast Thinking resulted in a click-through rate of 11% – 16 times greater than a standard online-only remarketing ad campaign. This contributed to 30% greater spend compared to Heal’s average online customer.

Heal’s partnered with Google’s Nexus on the tablets and is currently installing the NFC technology across its five other UK locations in preparation for the Christmas shopping season.

Guest post Stylus.com by Katie Baron

Decoded Fashion - Weekly Stories - Harvey Nichols' Reboot
Image source: Harvey Nichols, Birmingham

British department store Harvey Nichols has reopened its Birmingham store after extensive refurbishment with a design that trades on cutting-edge digital technologies and design cues borrowed from the hospitality sector.

Located in upscale shopping mall The Mailbox, the flagship, which was designed by London-based agency Virgile + Partners, spans 45,000 sq ft. The entrance features a 39ft-long ‘immersive tunnel’ of LED screens showing seasonal imagery, such as sunny meadows and autumn leaves.

Another key digital element is its ‘360-degree’ changing-room mirrors, which enable consumers to record their look from all angles as a video, replay it and share via social media for advice.

Drawing on the hospitality sector to ensure the digital elements transcend gimmick as part of a more holistic redesign, the store offers concierge services such as valet parking and a cloakroom. There is also a restaurant headed by local Michelin-starred chef Glynn Purnell. Shadi Halliwell, group marketing and creative director at Harvey Nichols, said: “Customers have told us they love going into hotels, getting rid of everything as they walk in and having it all taken care of.”

There are no concession stores, till points (iPad-equipped staff take payments anywhere in the store, excluding the beauty department) or defined walkways for consumers to follow, refocusing the journey on a more serendipitous style of exploration. Carlos Virgile, director of Virgile + Partners, comments: “We thought it unnecessary to have such rigid walkways and ways of guiding people through the store. We have given them more freedom to explore. People can move in any direction and will always find something interesting at the end of that journey.”

The opening coincides with the launch of Harvey Nichols’ loyalty app. It encourages consumers to collect points for money spent in-store, which can be swapped for personalised rewards such as experiences (a champagne dinner at London’s Oxo Tower, for instance) or gift vouchers.

The new design concept will soon be rolled out to other Harvey Nichols stores – including the seven-storey Knightsbridge flagship in London in spring 2016.

Guest post Stylus.com by Marta PodeszwaKatie Baron

Decoded Fashion - Weekly Stories - Dior, Seoul
Image source: Dior, Seoul

In a bid to strengthen its influence in the Asian market, French luxury fashion house Dior has opened its latest flagship in Seoul’s affluent Cheongdam-dong shopping district. This will allow the brand to tap into South Korea’s $8.3bn luxury market, now ranked as the third largest luxury market in Asia behind China and Japan.

Designed by French architect Christian de Portzamparc, the six-storey building – which is already becoming a local landmark thanks to its curvaceous, bright white façade – is the brand’s largest flagship in Asia to date. The elegant interiors take design cues from the brand’s iconic Montaigne flagship in Paris and mix traditionally luxurious materials such as leathers and wood with high-gloss and textural surfaces. The interiors were overseen by NY-based architect Peter Marino – the man behind the flagships of sister brand Louis Vuitton.

To enrich the in-store experience and show off all aspects of its brand personality, Dior has opted for a hybridised store concept that brings retail, hospitality and culture all under one roof. The top floor boasts the Dior Café, helmed by French pastry chef Pierre Hermé, while the lower floors feature a Palace of Versailles-inspired VIP lounge and a gallery, as well as housing the brand’s full collection of products including bags, shoes, watches, jewellery and ready-to-wear. A separate menswear department is located in the basement.

The launch is accompanied by an exhibition at Seoul’s Dongdaemun Design Plaza dubbed Esprit Dior, which showcases Dior’s designs, both historic and current, alongside collaborations with Korean artists such as Lee Bul (who also designed a crystal, glass and aluminium installation for the Seoul flagship).

Guest post Stylus.com by Marta PodeszwaKatie Baron

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“Next week, Burberry will open the Burberry Kerry Centre, its eighth store in the city of Shanghai. The flagship store’s exterior has an animated facade that reacts to changes in natural light and weather. Inside, select merchandise will have RFID technology that will trigger runway footage and product information in the dressing room, as mirrors turn into screens.”

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Decoded Fashion - Fashion Tech Daily - Burberry Flagship Shanghai