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Zadig & Voltaire have been strategically eyeing the country for some time. Recently, the brand has made retail and e-commerce moves to market more U.S. customers.

The label has unveiled both a SoHo location and a new concept store on the East Coast. Zadig & Voltaire have also revamped their U.S. website as well as launched a new men's collection and marketing campaign. Moving forward, the edgy label is also planning to open more stores in North America in the future. As reported by WWD, Zadig & Voltaire will be opening stores in Toronto, Montreal, Abbot Kinney and Century City.

In the past few years as sales have increased in the U.S., Zadig & Voltaire plans to continue moving forward. By investing in retail properties as well as a more convenient, online shopping experience, the label is able to help further those sales. According to WWD, the company's sales increase by 100 percent in the past couple of years. Moving on, the brand is slated to continue its successes in the Americas through a similar pattern.

Independent Amsterdam: Het Faire Oosten

FashionUnited has brought together a selection of the best independent stores in the city to discuss, once a week - the place that self sustaining stores have found amongst the ever changing retail industry.

Starting in the Dutch capital, Independent Amsterdam will visit retailers, hearing from founders and employers about their inspiration and plans for the future.

Het Faire Oosten (The Fair East), is an independent store located in the east of Amsterdam focussing on fair, ethically and locally produced products. The store offers a large collection of fashion, books, stationery, furniture, interior accessories and art for every kind of person.

Scroll over the image to learn about some of the brands Het Faire Oosten offers from founder Magali Heuberger

Independent Amsterdam: Het Faire Oosten

‘A store where you come for one thing, and leave with everything’

Founded by Magali Heuberger in 2014, due to the lack of stores offering sustainable products in an attractive environment, Het Faire Oosten is a wide open space that combines a shop, art gallery and workshop space filled with ethically produced brands.

Independent Amsterdam: Het Faire Oosten

Heuberger previously worked in Marketing and Event Concept Design and is passionate about stories and inventions from creatives around the globe, “there is a way to be sustainable with everything.” Het Faire Oosten offers a place for independent craftsmen, with sustainable and innovative ideas, and Heuberger prides herself on running the company and collaborations with “good vibes only.”

To ensure a “fair, honest and transparent” concept, Heuberger remains critical, quizzing producers with more questions ‘than the average retailer’ she is told, but as her own boss, she likes to remove any kind of facade between producers, retailers and customers.

“I don’t want to copy, or follow any other stores, I choose everything myself, following my gut instinct.” With “a sixth sense for styling, as well as really listening to customers”, Heuberger’s store remains successful into the fourth year.

Independent Amsterdam: Het Faire Oosten

Their large offering of ethically produced products attracts everybody, from 83 year-olds who come for furniture, parents who buy clothing for babies or gifts for just about anyone. Heuberger tells FashionUnited, “the most common phrase in the store is, ‘I actually came for this’...maybe a gift for a friend,’but now I’m leaving with all these things,’ there is something, if not many things for everyone to be surprised by”.

The space has a unique ambience, described as ‘warm, welcoming and cosy’ by customers, and Heuberger plans to develop this. “We will continue with our art gallery, and also add an elevator to the two workshop spaces on the 1st floor, next year.” With a strong belief in space efficiency, Heuberger’s office space furniture is on wheels and allows space for events and special workshops. The first floor also allows space to add a lunch bar, as well as a furnitured area for people to relax and meet in the next year .

Independent Amsterdam: Het Faire Oosten

Like many other independent retailers, the experience Heuberger offers in store is of utmost importance, “we can tell a product story, and have a real conversation with customers.” “I want to build on sustainability, educate even more visitors and I prefer to do this face to face,” she comments, telling FashionUnited that despite online presence with a website and social media, Het Faire Oosten is not likely to sell products online in the future.

Independent Amsterdam: Het Faire Oosten

“Money is not the reason I started Het Faire Oosten, and in my opinion selling online is not necessary unless you want to make more money.” Also, with a variety of independent sources, some products are one-off designs and are unable to be reordered, let alone be stocked online. “This surprises customers, but I think embodies the nature of the store. We have a range that is filled with exclusive, independently produced products, and my team and I are against predictability and boredom,” Heuberger concludes.

Het Faire Oosten can be found at Waldenlaan 208 in Amsterdam and online at hetfaireoosten.nl.

Photos courtesy of Het Faire Oosten

Look out for the final recap piece of the Independent Amsterdam series, posted next Thursday September 7 on FashionUnited UK.

Kitri opens debut London pop-up store

Contemporary fashion label Kitri has opened its debut pop-up store in London. Located at 35 Thayer St, Marylebone, the temporary store offers a curated selection of Kitri's modern but classic women's wear pieces.

The pop-up was designed by creative agency Campbell-Rey and spans two floors. Pink is the dominant colour used throughout the store in various hues, with touches of black and white. "Colour was key from the start, and we wanted something that was fun, optimistic and visually striking like the black and white striped floor," explained Duncan Campbell.

Kitri opens debut London pop-up store

"From the outset, we wanted to create a space that felt special, interesting and that would feel entirely theirs," added Charlotte Rey. "One of the main objectives of the store was to allow customers to understand the brand and for us to create a physical interpretation of the Kitri spirit. We didn’t want it to feel like a pop-up shop, we wanted it to feel like a transformative experience, so we pushed the envelope a bit."

In addition to featuring a collection of Kitri's most popular styles, the store also features in-store exclusives as well as Kitri tote bags with every purchase. The brand debut foray into brick-and-mortar is accompanied by another first for the new label, which previously launched online in March, namely tailoring.

Kitri opens debut London pop-up store

"I think our customer is looking for creative workwear, so it made sense to add jumpsuits and trousers to our offering," said Haeni Kim, founder and creative director of Kitri to British Vogue. "Our white cocoon shirt with voluminous sleeves sold out immediately we when launched it online, so we’ve spent a lot of time working on those classic pieces with a twist: a different sleeve detail or waist tie, for instance. The focus is separated that you can wear pared down or as a set."

Thanks to the brand's direct-to-consumer business model, Kitri is able to make high-quality garments and offer them at a fraction of the cost of other contemporary high street brands. Prices for Kitri range from 59 pounds to a Bardot Crop Top, to 125 pounds for a Pinstriped jumpsuit to 145 pounds for a satin wrap dress.

Kitri opens debut London pop-up store

Kitri's debut pop-up store is set to run until the end of October.

Photo: Kitri pop-up, website

A Fish named Fred opens first mono-brand store

In around three weeks, men’s lifestyle brand A Fish Named Fred will open its first brick-and-mortar store. Set to be located in Maastricht, The Netherlands, CEO Rob Schalker talks to FashionUnited ahead of the opening.

Plans for a physical store came about when "a retailer had the idea of creating an A Fish Named Fred corner in his shop, but during the conversation we talked about a complete branded store." Later, an opportunity arose for a property on the retailer's street, and so Schalker decided to open the first Dutch, A Fish Named Fred store, located at Platielstraat 22, in the centre of Maastricht.

In addition to the Maastricht store, A Fish Named Fred will open a second store in Sofia, Bulgaria. Schalker comments, verifying the locations were chosen due to the demand of local retailers.

"The store is big enough to lay out the whole story of the brand," says Schalker. The store only covers 25 square meters, but according to the CEO, it is enough to start to show a picture of A Fish Named Fred.

The appearance of the store did have to be carefully considered though, with colourful, extravagant products, “we cannot arrive with a boring shop”. Further details on the layout of the stores are not yet known, but according to Schalker “of course, water will play an important role in the theme.”

The news that A Fish Named Fred will open its own store has spread rapidly since Schalker posted a message on LinkedIn. Since then, retailers in Mexico, China, Oman, Abu Dhabi and Dubai have expressed their interest in more monobrand stores for A Fish Named Fred, but "it's not [set] in stone, of course," emphasizes Schalker.

A Fish Named Fred was founded six years ago with the idea that 'the world could use more color and pleasure'. The brand is now renowned for colorful, stand out designs which started on shirts, and has grown to offer blazers, polos and shoes, available in 26 countries worldwide.

Photo courtesy of A Fish Named Fred website

Weekday store to open at Westfield Stratford

H&M group have revealed that Weekday will launch their second UK store at Westfield Stratford, this Autumn.

The brand, which finds inspiration in youth culture and street style debuted in London earlier this month on August 18. Opening on Regent Street alongside the group’s new brand Arket.

Weekday was founded in Sweden, 2002 and joined the H&M group in 2008. The brand now counts 29 stores in eight countries, and an online store for 18 markets.

Photo courtesy of Weekday

Asics gears up for EMEA retail expansion

Japanese sports brand Asics has set its sights on strengthening its presence in Europe by expanding its own retail footprint and opening new concept stores. The sportswear giant, which recently opened its new flagship store in London, plans on growing its EMEA retail business from 26 stores to more than 140 stores over the next three years to 2020.

The sportswear company, which owns brands Asics, Ontisuka Tiger and Asics Tiger, first outlined its expansion plan for its EMEA region in its 2020 growth plan, a five-year strategic plan to attend sustainable growth. Although the US remains Asics most important market, the sportswear brand is investing in expanding its European footprint and will be implementing lessons learned in the US in its EMEA region.

Asics new retail strategy sees the sportswear retailer focusing on opening a series of new stores in European capital cities, with the aim of offering a broad range of its products directly to consumers. “Displaying our brands and product lineup to consumers is the most powerful form of marketing, and the feedback from visitors to our stores goes into developing future products,” said the company in a statement.

At the moment Asics aims to operate flagship stores in Amsterdam, London, Milan, and Cologne by the end of 2017. In addition Asics also plans on growing its online revenue and strengthening its relationships with multi-brand retailers by opening shop in shops in cities. The first shop-in-shop is set to open this autumn at Citadium Caumartin department store in Paris, with another one to follow in Berlin.

Photo: Asics flagship store, London

M&S begins talks to franchise stores in Hong Kong and Macau

London - Marks & Spencer may be pulling out of certain loss-making international markets, but that has not stopped the British department store from strengthening its relationship with its established franchise partners. M&S revealed on Wednesday morning that it has begun talks with its long-running franchise partner Al-Futtaim for the potential purchase and franchising its owned retail business in Hong Kong and Macau.

The discussion period, which includes commencing a period of due diligence, is expected to take several months. M&S will keep its employees up to date on any key developments during the process and M&S stores in Hong Kong and Macau are set to trade as normal. If the talks prove to be successful then Al-Futtaim would become the sole franchisee for M&S in Hong Kong and Macau.

M&S begins talks to franchise stores in Hong Kong and Macau

“As long-term partners of Marks & Spencer, I’m delighted that we are now working together to explore the potential expansion of our partnership to Hong Kong and Macau,” said Stephen Rayfield, Senior Managing Director, Fashion & Lifestyle Division at Al-Futtaim. “M&S and Al-Futtaim share values, and an approach that focuses the customer at the heart of our businesses.”

M&S seeks to franchise retail business in Hong Kong and Macau

“Al-Futtaim looks forward to building on our solid foundations as we continue to enrich our customers' lives and aspirations through the provision of quality products and services in Hong Kong and Macau - these are among Marks & Spencer’s most successful and important international markets.” Marks & Spencer first began trading in Hong Kong in 1988. Since then the British department store group has gained a strong reputation and brand awareness, currently operating 27 stores in Hong Kong and Macau.

The move follows on from Marks & Spencer strategic review of its international business in November 2016. At the time M&S revealed it would be pulling out of 10 loss-making markets while focusing on strengthening its established franchise and joint venture partnership in order to continue running with less wholly-owned markets.

M&S begins talks to franchise stores in Hong Kong and Macau

“Al-Futtaim is a key partner to M&S in Asia and the Middle East and we are both committed to putting the customer at the heart of everything we do," said Paul Friston, Marks & Spencer’s International Director. "With significant scale and retail expertise in the region, we are looking forward to discussing the potential extension of our partnership to Hong Kong and Macau as we continue to grow and develop our business together.”

Al-Futtaim has been a key franchise partner of M&S since 1998 when it opened the first Marks & Spencer store in Dubai. Today, Al-Futtaim operates 43 M&S stores across seven markets in the Middle East, as well as Singapore and Malaysia.

Photos: Courtesy of M&S International

Primark announced as first retailer to join new Barton Square renovation

Intu have announced Primark as the first retailer to join Trafford Centre’s Barton Square in Manchester, amid plans for a 74 million pound renovation. Set to open in 2019, Intu will add 110,000 square foot of retail space, a new glass domed room and a fully redesigned interior.

Primark will move into retail space that was previously occupied by BHS Home, amongst other stores including SEA LIFE Manchester, LEGOLAND® Discovery Centre and Next Home, with others yet to be revealed.

Colin Flinn, regional managing director for intu, said: “This is a significant milestone for intu Trafford Centre that will enable us to reposition and redevelop an important part of the centre so that we can create even better customer experiences and more opportunities for retailers to flourish.

The renovation is set to start in 2018, and will build on the retail destination, already known for the unique design and architecture. “The work we are planning at Barton Square will attract more visitors for longer by expanding the centre’s retail and leisure mix and creating a new space befitting this architecturally-rich building,” Flinn continued.

Intu is the UK’s leading owner, manager and developer of prime regional shopping centres, their centres support over 120,000 jobs, representing about 4 percent of the total UK retail workforce.

Photo courtesy of Intu

H&M set to open new store in Barnet

H&M have announced that they will open a new store in The Spires Shopping Centre, Barnet, North London.

Set to launch on September 22, the store is spread over 2000 square meters and will house Ladies, Divided, Mens and a Kids section.

Carlos Duarte, Country Manager for UK & Ireland said: “We are delighted to be opening a brand new store at The Spires Shopping Centre in Barnet. This location is an exciting opportunity for the H&M brand to expand its portfolio and introduce our fantastic fashion offering to new customers.” in press statement from the brand.

The store will hand out 25 percent off wristbands to customers queuing before 11am, as well as goodie bags to enjoy whilst they listen to tracks from an in store DJ.

Founded in Sweden in 1947, H&M offer simple, and increasingly sustainable fashion worldwide.The UK and Ireland now counts more than 260 stores, adding to the 4,087 stores that the brand has worldwide.

Photo courtesy of H&M

Oliver Bonas prepares to open debut Welsh store in Cardiff

British lifestyle retailer Oliver Bonas is set to open its debut Welsh store in Cardiff. The popular homeware, fashion and accessories store is set to open its first store in Wales at Cardiff’s St David shopping centre this November.

“As the capital and foremost commercial centre in Wales, we are thrilled to call Cardiff the home of our first store in the country,” said a spokesperson for Oliver Bonas in a statement. The store in Cardiff will be Oliver Bonas 62nd store in the UK.

The new 2,290 square foot store is located adjacent to fashion retailer Reiss at 37 The Hayes. The store, developed by Oliver Bonas in-house team, is set to offer an edited selection of the brand’s own range of fashion, jewellery, homeware and gifting as well as products from selected third-party brands.

“At OB, almost all our products are designed in-house, from concept sketch to finished article. From the tiny details, like our hand-sketched cosmetics packaging, to statement sculptural lighting, our passion for design always plays a role,” added the spokesperson.

Founded in 1993 by Oliver Tress, Oliver Bonas has grown into a lifestyle brand focused on good design and innovation.

Photo: Oliver Bonas, website