The DRG retail index: Nyden’s tribes, H&M’s modestwear, Jigsaw’s new destination, Zara’s robots

Fornasetti display at The Shop at Bluebird concept store Covent Garden

Here’s our latest monthly retail round up celebrating experimentalism and innovation on the high street. From the latest social campaigns to exciting new collections and retail formats, we’re watching – and shopping.


Nyden Dua Lipa

Just when you thought influencer-commerce had had its day, something new comes along.

H&M’s newest ‘streetwear’ brand, /Nyden had a soft launch (on social media anyway) back in February, with email teasers sent out to early adopters talking about ‘tribe building’ and rewards for your community. Now we see why. With seasonless drop-culture at the heart of the influencer-slash-celebrity themed collection, H&M is pitching /Nyden as a community brand. Via collaborations with music or sports talents such as Dua Lipa (above) and Justine Skye as designer co-creators, the influencer-reach is inbuilt among their legion of fans. “What I really liked about working together and collaborating with /Nyden, is the fact that they allowed me total creative lee-way to create things that I wanted; to make something that I would want to wear, things that I think my fans would really like,” Lipa told Vogue.

And like Lipa and Skye, everyone has the ability to build their own /Nyden community – with incentives such as up to 50% off depending on the size of your tribe. Is this a new era of inclusive influencer fashion lines?


The Zara Westfield Stratford store uses RFID and click and collect services to tempt millennial customers

Smart mirrors and robotic delivery systems are the unlikely shopping tools du jour for fast-fashionistas at Zara’s newly revamped Westfield Stratford mega-store. Here Zara is emulating Amazon’s ruthless online shopping efficiency in a physical location with convenience top of mind. Say hello to frictionless payments at self-service kiosks, same-day order-online and pick-up in-store and the fastest click-and-collect service we have ever experienced.

“Customers don’t differentiate between ordering online or in a store,” Zara spokesman Jesus Echevarria Hernandez told Bloomberg. ‘Every garment is fitted with a radio-frequency identification tag. The technology lets Zara check a store’s inventory in two hours, a process that used to take about three days, Hernandez said.

The bigger question, is how has Zara raised the bar for personalised shopping in-store? Even faster expectations for product deliveries? Will customers welcome the idea of ‘scanning’ a garment in front of a smart mirror as a type of browsing? One thing is sure – the more retailers know about our shopping habits, the more we are likely to find what we want, when we want it!


H&M LTD Collection modestwear floral tunic

H&M has joined the modestwear party. Launching its first modest fashion line called LTD Collection in time for this year’s Ramadan festival in mid-May, the Swedish retailer said the range is designed “to offer something for everyone,” according to Pernilla Wohlfahrt, head of design. “Today H&M is present in 69 markets and we want to be diverse and inclusive to all the markets where we operate,’” she told Glamour. “We have seen a growing interest in modest fashion in general for a long time, and wanted to create this collection as an option to our customers that are interested in modest dressing.”

Collection highlights include embroidered flowing dresses, coordinating tunic and trouser sets and kaftans with shimmery details. All pieces feature long sleeves and hems. Hot pinks, electric blues and pastels demonstrate the collection’s focus on colour.



The Shop At Bluebird Covent Garden

The Shop at Bluebird has relocated its King’s Road destination to a 19th century Grade II-listed building, Carriage Hall in Floral Street Covent Garden, and it’s the most delightful boutique department store destination, complete with a light and airy atrium and sweeping staircase. Fashion, interiors, beauty and art are spread across three floors with a mix of high-low designers such as Chloe, Alexander McQueen, Peter Pilotto, Victoria Beckham, Racil, Ports 1961, alongside contemporary labels like Isa Arfen, Rixo London, Studio Nicholson and Forte Forte.

An as-yet-unnamed restaurant partner will open with a roof terrace on the top floor this summer, while Italian lifestyle brand Fornasetti (top) and Avery Perfume Gallery have dedicated spaces on the first and ground floors respectively. A wall of artworks features on the first floor, curated exclusively by William Ling from the Fashion Illustration Gallery. The Shop at Bluebird is owned by the same people as Jigsaw, so naturally there is a good size Jigsaw just next door too.

“Our success story until now is the foundation of our new home in central London, where we have created a whole new chapter for the brand and taken experiential retailing to another level,” explains Claire Miles, buying director of The Shop at Bluebird.


This column is contributed by DRG retail editor, ALISON FARRINGTON. Read her previous posts on Disneyrollergirl and discover more of her retail insights on her blog, The Retail Planner.

WORDS: Disneyrollergirl/Alison Farrington
IMAGES: The Shop at Bluebird, Nyden, Zara, H&M, The Shop at Bluebird
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