Fashion, often the most forward-looking and savvy of retail marketers, offers many valuable lessons to the rest of the retail industry. Fashion’s latest tutorial in the art of drawing a crowd could yet again be of great service to retailers who are ready and willing to learn, regardless of category. What’s the lesson you wonder?
A handful of pioneering fashion designers and brands, have started to put emphasis not only on designing new collections, but also on the way their latest ready-to-wear lines will be presented. Departing from the conventional use of mannequins in store displays, they’ve been outfitting each collection with its very own art installation. Simply put, it’s no longer only about the spectacle seen during Fashion Week in Paris, London or New York, but also about spectacles created directly in the retail stores in Chicago, Berlin or Shanghai. Why stray from the tried and true approach of merchandising, you ask?
As all retailers know, the competition between online and in-store traffic is growing increasingly fierce. Drawing consumers out of their homes and into your store now requires more and more marketing muscle. What the fashion industry has found is a new way to compete with online retail by providing irresistible experiences that can only be found in the physical stores. In addition to producing their own ready-to-wear collections, emerging fashion designers like Paris-based Simone Rocha or Tokyo-based Julien David have become known for taking on the additional creative task of designing their own store and often even the all-important window displays. Their installations reveal the designers’ conceptually driven motives that go well beyond the expected and have become a phenomenon fashion bloggers and journalists have started to eagerly anticipate.
London-based Selfridges and Dover Street Market, Paris-based Colette and Le Bon Marché, and Milan-based 10 Corso Como are among the department stores that have become known for pioneering the approach of presenting their collections as ever-changing art forms. Fashion designers are given free rein to design store spaces and window displays that are true experiences, drawing shoppers and social media attention even after closing hours.
In fashion, the name of the game is no longer only about new products, but also about new spaces – two equally strategic partners and one enormous force. As our eyes go to London, Paris and Milan for inspiration and appreciation, our marketing minds and creative hearts hope that more retail stores will join in by collaborating with local artists and designers to create their own unique store displays and window installations. What better, more soul-satisfying way to compete with online retail than with attention-drawing art right in the stores and on the streets?
In our next post, we’ll take a closer look at art fusion’s early adopters. See you soon.