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Shop at Bluebird launches Rêve En Vert pop-up

The Shop at Bluebird on London’s King’s Road is hosting a three-week pop-up in partnership with sustainable fashion e-commerce platform Rêve En Vert to highlight eco-friendly fashion brands.

The Stories pop-up brings to life the “incredible journeys” of 11 brands, focusing on their “eco-driven ethos” featuring everything from up-cycled leather jackets and accessories to activewear made from eucalyptus and responsibly grown beechwood trees, with prices ranging from 40 to 650 pounds.

Shop at Bluebird launches Rêve En Vert pop-up

The Shop at Bluebird head Claire Miles, said: “I am delighted to be collaborating with a brand as inspiring as Rêve En Vert. Each of the brands they have curated into Stories offers a completely unique take on eco-fashion without sacrificing design or vision. We always seek brands that have a great narrative and history to share with our customers.”

The pop-up will debut REV by Rêve En Vert, a capsule collection of sustainable luxury core pieces, made from off-cuts of designer fabrics that have been up-cycled into a one of a kind collection, which has been made locally in an ethical factory in East London.

Shop at Bluebird launches Rêve En Vert pop-up

Shop at Bluebird highlights eco-friendly fashion brands with new ‘Stories’ pop-up

The other brands includes: Sway NYC, which uses 100 percent excess materials and vintage pieces to produce completely new leather jackets and bags; Von Holzhausen that features ethically-sourced leather bags with designs created from by-products of the food industry; Bree Layne, a collection that’s made entirely from dead stock and pre-existing materials; and Fonnesbech which has created a collection of workwear pieces that mix the Scandi-style of their native Copenhagen with the timeless aesthetic of eco-fashion.

Shop at Bluebird launches Rêve En Vert pop-up

While Woron introduces their range of ethical lingerie; Mara Hoffman collection showcase vibrant prints made using environmentally friendly fabrics, which also includes packaging and labels that are 80 percent post-consumer waste; Vyayama provides a natural alternative to synthetic yoga wear with their Tencel-based fabrics sourced from sustainably farmed eucalyptus; Cosi centres around ethical throws and shawls; while Maiyet partners with global artisans to incorporate handcrafted details and unexpected fabric techniques into its collections; and ELV Denim takes old denim stock and transforms it into new pieces.

Shop at Bluebird launches Rêve En Vert pop-up

Rêve En Vert co-founder, Cora Hilts, added: “Rêve En Vert is very pleased to be collaborating with Bluebird to tell the stories of a carefully curated group of designers. We have chosen these lines based on their unique approaches to sustainability and commitment to ethics. "Stories" will feature the best of Rêve En Vert and The Shop at Bluebird's efforts to show beautiful style and transparency.”

Images: courtesy of The Shop at Bluebird

Superdry opens first store with dedicated sports entrance

Fashion retailer Superdry has completed the renovated of its St David’s store in Cardiff to include the first dedicated Superdry Sports entrance.

The British clothing brand, famed for combining American design with Japanese style graphics, has transformed the entire store as part of its strategy to enhance the customer experience, including a new shop frontage, which has been designed to reflect the brand’s latest concept, and a dedicated Sports entrance complete with signage that leads into the full new Superdry Sport range.

Superdry opens first store with dedicated sports entrance

The store design has been carried out by the brand’s in-house team in conjunction with design agency SKK.

A Superdry spokesperson said: “We are delighted to share Superdry’s new concept with our loyal customers at St David’s. Providing the perfect in-store experience is key, and we believe this latest fit-out will significantly enhance the customer journey.”

Superdry opens first store with dedicated sports entrance

Speaking on behalf of the St David’s Partnership, a joint venture between Landsec and Intu, Colin Flinn, regional managing director - west, added: “We are very proud that Superdry has choosen to develop within St David’s. Superdry’s recent refit is a result of their popularity and success at St David’s, and I am confident customers will love their latest concept.”

Images: courtesy of Superdry/St David’s

Arket opens first German store

Swedish fashion group H&M proved it is not superstituous by opening the first store of its new lifestyle brand Arket at Weinstraße 6 in Munich on Friday, 13th October 2017. The first 100 visitors received a gift.

The new German flagship store extends over four floors and a total sales area of 1,000 square meters. It offers women's, men's and children's wear, as well as household items and articles from other brands, such as Nike, Veja and Adidas, which fit the Arket concept. Unlike the H&M brand, the Arket range does not change every few weeks, but can also go beyond one season. The new store in Munich is open daily from 10 am to 8 pm and closed on Sundays.

Arket opens first German store

As in the other Arket stores, the interior is minimalistic: The brand believes in shelves and clothes racks in neutral gray and white tones rather than mannequins or colourful displays. Products are neatly stacked and sorted by colour, as is the search in the new webshop, which also offers searches by pattern or material. Somehow, one is reminded of a fashion archive rather than a store.

Arket opens first German store

"Arket is a modern day market that focuses on: simple, timeless and functional designs; aiming to democratise quality via widely accessible, well-made products designed to be worn and adored for a long time. Their offering includes essential products for men, women, children and the home," commented H&M about its new brand at the beginning of August.

Arket opens first German store

Those who may need to recover from this shock may do so at the in-house café; a combination of fashion and food that is new. Here, customers can refresh and recharge themselves inbetween shopping. But those expecting fast food are in for another shock: The café is based on the new Nordic cuisine and promises high-quality ingredients and a healthy lifestyle. Thus, the menu includes goat's cheese and avocado sandwiches, flatbreads, salads, but also yoghurt desserts, cookies, coffee and tea.

Arket opens first German store

H&M is not only distancing itself from the fast-paced culture with its new brand when it comes to food but also in fashion as the Swedish clothing company is moving away from the fast fashion concept with Arket. This is already apparent from the outside: Instead of the widely visible red lettering, Arket is written rather modestly in quite small, black, uppercase letters. But the new location on Weinstraße 6 near the Frauenkirche is within walking distance of the main, five-storey H&M store towards Odeonsplatz or Cos in the direction of Marienplatz, which stretches over three floors.

Arket opens first German store

With the addition of its new Arket concept, H&M covers all bases when it comes to price: with H&M as a cost-effective fast fashion brand at the bottom and Cos as a luxury line for establishing one's classic, basic wardrobe at the top, and now Arket as a "modern marketplace" and supplier of the "ideal everyday uniform" in the mid price range with "high-quality and sustainable fashion".

Arket opens first German store

The worldwide first Arket flagshipstore opened on 25th August 2017 on London's Regent Street; further openings followed in September in Copenhagen's Kopmagergade 33, in Brussels on the Avenue de la Toison D'Or 15 and another store in Long Acre, London. A first store in the company's home market Sweden is yet to open on Biblioteksgatan in Stockholm. Since August 25, the Arket website including a webshop is also active, initially supplying 18 European markets.

Photos: Arket website & Arket Facebook page
Converse and JW Anderson to launch surprise London pop-up

London - Converse has teamed up with British designer label JW Anderson to host a one-day surprise pop-up store in London.

The surprise pop-up, opening for one day only on October 14, is set to offer a limited number of Converse x JWA Chuck Taylor All Star '70 grid pack trainers, ahead of their official launch in December.

Available in black and white, the high-top trainers will retail for 90 pounds. The flash sale is set to take place from 12 pm to 8 pm at JW Anderson Workshop Space at 100 Shoreditch High Street, London E1 6JQ.

Converse and JW Anderson to launch surprise London pop-up

The pop-up comes after the complete Converse x JWA collection was unveiled at Pitti Uomo in Florence this June. The Converse x JWA collection is set to launch online on JW Anderson and at selected footwear retailers in time for the Christmas season.

Image courtesy of Converse

Best of Britannia London celebrates 'Buy British Day' with annual pop-up

London - The founders of Best of Britannia London (BOB) have launched a special pop-up designer and makers store in honour of Buy British Day.

Located at the Old Truman Brewery on Brick Lane, the British Makers pop-up is set to offer over 200 made in the UK fashion, beauty, and interior brands as well as food and drinks. The annual event, which is free to attend, is designed to celebrate UK design and manufacturing while raising awareness for British made products and the craftsmanship behind them.

Since its launch in 2012, BOB has strived to shine the spotlight on British brands and manufacturing. Due to the current political and economic climate and the prospects of what Brexit may bring, Buy British Day is becoming more and more relevant. As 87 percent of consumers show interest in purchasing apparel that is made in the UK according to Mintel, interest in British fashion is likely to continue growing.

Best of Britannia London celebrates 'Buy British Day' with annual pop-up

"BOB plays a very crucial role in not only promoting the idea of ‘Made in the UK' but also actually making it possible by sharing knowledge, sharing contacts," said Patrick Grant, designer and creative director of bespoke tailors Norton & Sons of Savile Row. "It’s about confidence too – we’ve got extraordinary makers in this country. I think they suffer from a lack of self-confidence and if we’re using their services we need to have great confidence in them."

"I think all the efforts of BOB and others are around giving people the confidence to bring manufacturing back into the UK," he added. "Obviously the recent significant shift in the value of the pound makes it even more economically sensible to be looking to manufacture at home where you can. Who knows what will happen to the value of sterling over the next five years." Leading British brands from The Leather Satchel Company, to the Shackleton Company, Cheaney, and Celtic & Co will be present at the pop-up.

Best of Britannia London celebrates 'Buy British Day' with annual pop-up

Set to run from October 12 to 13, the British Makers Stores is open from 10 am to 7 pm.

Photos: Courtesy of BOB

4 ways to rethink fashion retail in mobile

Written by Michelle Fotopoulou, Director of Mobile Marketing, Webloyalty

Before the advent of e-commerce, it was difficult to imagine buying clothing online. Without the feel of the fabric, the visceral experience of the fit of a shirt or trousers, how could a customer make an educated decision on their purchase? That seemed pretty extreme, but when some innovators thought to themselves, why don’t we do this also on mobile – well, the whole enterprise seemed even more futile.

Despite the odds, according to Ampersand’s Mobile Retail Report: 2017 UK Edition, consumer demand for multi-channel, mobile-initiated purchases has increased by 22 percent since 2015 and 56 percent of consumers research products on their mobile with the intent of purchasing in-store at a later date. This trend shows that consumer confidence in mobile-based fashion purchases is surging thanks to clever tactics implemented by top brands to create a new, virtual shopping experience and a risk-free transactional process.

So, how have fashion retailers captured the imagination of shoppers while providing a frictionless shopping experience?

1. UX is the new storefront

Appealing window-dressing used to pull in customers from the streets and into the stores; these days a strong user experience (UX) online is just as important. Through continuous design and testing, top retail apps in the market have created an experience that is not only pleasant, it trumps many a brick and mortar shopping outing. Through images and videos, the customer can get a feel for the items they’re interested in, they can read reviews from ‘users like them’, and complete their purchases with relative ease.

However, despite a handful of standout sites/apps, 41 percent of consumers say that being unable to see products on a small device can put them off completing their transactions, and approximately a third of retailers still don’t offer zoom functionality on their mobile imagery. Based on learnings from our shopper loyalty application, Shop Appi, we’ve seen that by designing around what the customer actually wants to achieve, rather than what we want to push on them, the user increases their engagement and feels more comfortable to do repeat purchases. If a user wants to view an item properly before buying – provide that functionality.

2. Load time – the new ‘I’ll have to check the back’

Everyone’s been there – you find that perfect something in the store, queue up in the line, happy with your great discovery, and you wait. And wait. How long you wait depends on a myriad of factors, but needless to say, everyone has their limits. Doubts creep into your mind – will I ever wear this? Is it practical? Doesn’t so-and-so in accounting actually have the same thing? All that’s clear is that the longer you stand in line, the faster you lose your purchasing ambition. Mobile retail sites have a similar challenge. Load times for so many images can be lengthy and varying network or Wi-Fi quality can drastically impact the user experience.

The real pain-point of mobile shopping is the checkout. With 32 percent of consumers put off by mobile transactions because they find typing information on a small device difficult, their patience with filling out payment details will be limited. Retailers that invest in a simplified checkout process have already discovered the benefits to addressing this reality and have seen their cart abandonment rates drop accordingly.

4 ways to rethink fashion retail in mobile

3. Embrace the power of social

Asos is a leading force when it comes to mobile – it was voted the most popular retail app in the UK by customers in a survey by digital experience experts Applause. And 70 percent of the site’s traffic and 58 percent of all its orders, now come from mobile. One of the reasons it’s earned this accolade is because of its excellent search function. In August it took this one step further and launched a visual search tool which enables shoppers to take a photo or screenshot an outfit they like the look of, and use it to search through Asos’ product lines for a similar item. You know what happened after they introduced these features? People talked about it… massively.

Social media platforms are also becoming a key component in the e-commerce journey. Accenture found that 68 percent of UK shoppers aged 20 and under are interested in buying goods directly through social media channels. And there’s evidence this interest is leading to conversion – Shopify estimates Facebook has the highest conversion rate for all social media ecommerce traffic at 1.85 percent.

Asos announced this year that it has seen a 25 percent increase in its global audience during the six-month period to 21.3 million followers. Whilst it can’t be proven this increase was directly down to its social media engagement, the company believes its efforts were a contributing factor. Retailers should learn from the likes of Asos and its ability to produce engaging social content. After all, this is proving to be increasingly important when it comes to conversion in fashion retail.

4. Don’t App for the sake of it

Retailers shouldn’t create an app because they feel they ‘should’ have one. This isn’t enough of a reason. It needs to make sense as part of the overall business proposition. Innovations should add to a retailers’ overall proposition, enhance the customer experience and increase loyalty. If user experience is bad or if retailers are trying to solve a problem that doesn’t exist, word will spread like wildfire and the financial implications can be huge.

M-commerce will only continue to grow, and in the competitive world of retail it is vital that brands take the time to invest in a strategy that nails the basics of UX and complements their long-term vision for the future. Your customers know what they want – listen and develop your business to address their needs, and your bottom line.

UK retailers are losing a total of 800 million pounds each year due to shoplifting, with more than 366,000 offences reported in 2016-17, with the Metropolitan Police recording the highest number of thefts.

According to the report from OnBuy.com, which utilises data derived from data.police.co.uk that records information from 43 police forces and constabularies across England and Wales, there were 47,580 shoplifting offences, defines as “theft from shops or stalls”, reported between April 2016 and March 2017 in the Greater London area, excluding City of London, the equivalent to 130 incidents a day.

West Midlands Police had 19,741 shoplifting incidents reported, followed by Greater Manchester Police with 18,002 shoplifting offences. The other forces in the top ten worst areas for shoplifting included West Yorkshire Police, Thames Valley Police, Northumbria Police, Avon and Somerset Constabulary, Hampshire Constabulary, South Yorkshire Police, and Kent Police.

City of London Police had the lowest number of shoplifting cases with only 729 reported, the equivalent of 2 incidents every day. Also at the bottom of the table, Dyfed-Powys Police, which recorded more than double the figure of City of London, with 1,533 shoplifting offences, while Cumbria Constabulary just above in the list had 2,819 incidences of shoplifting.

Cas Paton, managing director of OnBuy.co, said: “The figures are certainly fascinating. Shoplifting is more prevalent than we would like to think. Considering the amount of time and energy shops put into running various aspects of their operation daily, shoplifting is really an unfortunate occurrence for them.

“Whilst it may feel unavoidable, shops can certainly take various steps to prevent shoplifters from targeting them. Simple steps such as better staff training to identify potential shoplifters and storing high-value items more securely can go a long way when dealing with the problem of shoplifters.”

Under Armour to open first EU flagship store in Amsterdam

Under Armour is set to open its first flagship store in Europe in the capital of the Netherlands, Amsterdam. The new store, which is set to span over 1,000 square meters, will be located at 16-18 Kalverstraat and will offer the brands complete product offering, including running, golf and football gear.

Although an exact opening date for the store has yet to be announced, the store is likely to open sometime near the end of the year. Under Armour, which also operates its European headquarters in the Olympic Stadium in Amsterdam, is currently present in a number of leading multi-brand stores in Europe but is eager to establish its own retail presence.

“The opening of our flagship store in Amsterdam marks a real milestone for Under Armour,” said Chris Bate, Managing Director Europe, Under Armour in a statement. "Not only is this store located in the same city as our European headquarters, the Brand House is also located in the busiest shopping area in the Netherlands, where it provides our customers with a superior shopping experience.”

Photo: Courtesy of Under Armour

Retailers prepare for a bumper shopping season with early discounting

London - Fashion retailers across the globe are preparing for a difficult holiday trading season. The rate of discounts has skyrocketed over the past few weeks, according to the latest data from Edited, as online retailers being cutting prices earlier than previous years.

The rate of discounts in September grew 2.8 percent in comparison to last year, according to the retail analytics company analysis of 75 leading apparel retailers which offer more than 27,500 apparel, accessory and footwear brands. However, this percentage has surged a whopping 32.6 percent in October year-on-year, as retailers are keen to boost holiday spending as much as they can, despite increasing pressure on consumers disposable income.

There were 13.5 percent fewer new arrivals in September 2017 in comparison to September 2016, as retailers sought to hold off on new product drops in favour of cutting prices on their current inventory to encourage shoppers. This amount has only grown in October to 24 percent fewer new arrivals in October 2017 year on year.

In addition, retailers were also found to be offering deeper discounts earlier this year. Although most online apparel retailers offer 20 percent to 30 percent off for initial discounts, 42 percent of initial discounts in September this year were at 40 percent or higher. Higher discounts were most noticeable in the accessories and jewellery category, in particular with brands such as Liz Claiborne and Kate Spade.

“The retail sector is already engaging in an aggressive discounting strategy with limited consumer spending,” commented Katie Smith, senior retail analyst at Edited. “However, as retailers are limiting new assortments at the same time, this means they are not overstocking inventory that could lead to even deeper price reductions. While holiday sales happen earlier each year, retailers must remember that it’s a three-month marathon, where making the right decisions is critical to avoid sacrificing margins.”

Leading fashion retailers such as Macy’s, Nordstrom Rack and Asos were all found to have made the highest number of price reductions since September this year, whereas Nike, Missguided and Adidas saw the highest number of full price sellouts during the same month, indicating that early discounting may not be the best way to achieve full price item sellouts.

Photo: Asos, website

Triumph unveils dedicated online platform for Sloggi

Lingerie company Triumph has launched a dedicated online shop for its Sloggi label in Germany, the UK, Austria and France. The move marks the first time the Swiss brand has its own stand-alone online store. By the end of the year, Sloggi is set to roll out seven more dedicated online stores in The Netherlands, Italy, Poland, Denmark, Sweden, Belgium and Switzerland.

The online stores were launched simultaneously in four countries earlier this month. Although Sloggi was previously active online, it could only be purchased online via Triumph’s webshop, which is available in ten European countries. “The new online shop has gone live in our most important Sloggi markets, within less than three and a half months”, said Tilman Galler, Head of E-Commerce at Triumph. "This extremely short project lead time was only possible due to smooth project management and an exceptional cooperation between all involved parties."

In addition to the website responsive design, which sees the online Sloggi store tailored to work on all devices, Arvato has also added extra functionalities to the site, such as automatic gender-specific content control. The development of Sloggi’s online store is based on the same platform as Triumph, which is why the development time was cut down to three and half months, according to Arvato.

"With the Sloggi shop, we are successfully implementing the frontend development on Salesforce Commerce Cloud for another Triumph brand and are also managing the day-to-day business for Sloggi end-to-end", said Jeanine Schneider, the responsible Key Account Director at Arvato SCM Solutions. "We are happy to support our customer’s rapid internationalisation."

Photo: Courtesy of Sloggi