Here’s our latest 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.
TOMAS MAIER X UNIQLO…IS COMING SOON
Tomas Maier, aka king of luxury loungewear is the latest designer to collaborate with Uniqlo on a capsule collection, hitting stores this May (above). Cue a Maier vision that riffs on fashion’s current love affair with sportswear but channels a more sophisticated resort-wear vibe.
“Our new collection is designed to work in many different ways. Beach attire can turn into lounge wear, casual cover-ups paired with polo shirts can easily be worn in town — this is the concept of my brand,” says Maier. Uniqlo.com has a preview of the collection, so we’re counting down the days until it drops on May 17th (and summer arrives).
INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY: EMPOWERING E-COMMERCE COMMUNITIES
All the brand campaigns around International Women’s Day (IWD) have become very commercial in terms of dedicated product selling. However, a couple of e-commerce initiatives stood out this year for their clearly defined empowerment messages. Online beauty specialist FeelUnique hosted a series of Facebook Live panel discussions around the theme of #InspiringWomen. One session focused on female confidence and mental health issues with influencers such as pop star, Tallia Storm and YouTuber, Grace Victory, while another filmed series explored how ‘power pairs’ find inspiration from each other. Watch them here.
Meanwhile, away from its online audience, ASOS took an in-house approach this IWD with a programme of internal empowerment activities at its London head office. Highlights included a talk by Olympic medallist and hockey captain Kate Richardson-Walsh on how to be successful as a team; a panel discussion on Everyday Activism with speakers including Food & Lycra founder Kim Ngo and Black Girl Festival founder Nicole Crentsil; plus a ‘learn-to-code’ session for teenage girls from a local school. We love how ASOS is nurturing its staff – current and future – and not just talking about empowerment messages with its customers.
JOHN LEWIS MEGASTORE & MADEWELL DEAL
John Lewis has unveiled a 37,000 sq. ft. womenswear floor at its new west London megastore within the extended Westfield White City location. It’s trialling a number of womenswear concept spaces at White City, including the futuristic-looking Style Studio pod where personal shoppers are on hand to offer style advice. (The good news is, they’re trained by ex-Vogue fashion director, Lucinda Chambers). Next, say hello to the Loved&Found fashion and lifestyle boutique, where the buying teams have had free reign sourcing indie or contemporary labels and vintage finds around the world, alongside beauty, homewares and tech.
John Lewis has certainly upped its own-label game recently with in-house brands such as Modern Rarity, Kin and And/Or sitting alongside exclusives such as Hush and Boden. Now there’s a new brand creating destination retail envy. J. Crew’s sister label Madewell (above) has joined the fray with a curated edit of best-selling denim and knitwear pieces – only at White City.
BENETTON ON OXFORD STREET AGAIN
We think it’s about time iconic 80s brand Benetton got its style mojo back. There’s something in the air alongside Burberry’s ode to chav-chic for its recent runway show and Insta accounts such as Wavey Garms celebrating similar 80s and 90s vintage brands. So, it’s good timing for the brand to be opening a new (relocated) London flagship on Oxford Street (below). The store designers have invested in both retail theatre and a heavy focus on digital. Make sure to visit the distinctive ‘knitwear theatres’ on the ground floor, where Benetton’s core products are displayed via specially designed store furniture. These areas feature interactive touchscreen tables showcasing information on garment construction, while giant LED screens at the entrance show video content produced by Benetton’s in-house research centre, Fabrica.
H&M Studio channelled Japanese dress codes for its premium line shown during Paris Fashion Week earlier this month. H&M is sponsoring the upcoming Japonismes exhibition (November 18 2018 – March 3 2019) at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris, which served as the perfect show venue. Inspired by the influence that Japan is currently having on fashion, the SS18 capsule collection features plenty of kimono sleeve detailing, obi-style wrapping, colour pop graphics and utilitarian khaki separates (below). H&M has found its feet with its runway See Now Buy Now offer that usually sells out in a few days. There are still some pieces available online.
In other news, H&M displaced recent reports of a global sales slow-down by announcing plans for a bigger focus on tech in its store experience. “We know the industry is undergoing a huge shift. The catalyst for this transformation is technology… and that includes artificial intelligence (AI), augmented reality (AR), robotics and more,” H&M’s Karl-Johan Persson told The Current Daily. It’s phygital all the way.
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WORDS: Disneyrollergirl/Alison Farrington
IMAGES: Uniqlo, Madewell X John Lewis, Benetton, H&M
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