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Westfield London launches first-ever AI powered store

By Danielle Wightman-Stone



Westfield London has opened the UK’s first ever Trending Store, billed as an “AI powered fashion boutique of the future” stocking fashion-forward looks based on what’s trending across social media in real time.

The Trending Store will be open from July 3 to 7 and will track over 400,000 early adopters and innovators from 150 countries and 1,000 cities from across the globe to identify the next big trends, using technology from AI trend experts NextAtlas to identify what apparel and accessories to sell in the store.

This trend data is then fed into a team of stylists, who will be sourcing items on demand from retailers in Westfield London including Topshop, Reiss, Whistles, Lindex and Stuart Weitzman to house within the Trending Store space.

Upon entering the hi-tech store shoppers are greeted by screens showcasing live trend data and visual inspiration, from the colours to shop in that trend, right through to the hashtags to accompany the trend on social media. For the opening day some of the emerging trends to be featured includes Romantic Heroines, United Activewear and Design Therapy.

‘Romantic Heroines’ is a revival of the romantic aesthetic as a reaction to recovering femininity, and includes voluminous dresses with floral and maximalist patterns. Social posts including the Romantic Heroines trend has increased by 20 percent in the last week with 9,371 posts over this period, with the most coming from France (63 percent), the US (36 percent) and Japan (21 percent).

While ‘Distopian Fashionistas’ is driven from dystopian TV shows such as Handmaid’s Tale and Black Mirror, highlighting an uncertain future, with environmentalists, the main driver of this trend (55 percent), address issues such as pollution as masks and respirators begin to be worn as “cool” accessories. The trend, which is also made up of military style apparel, has witnessed an 8 percent growth in the last week as festival goers stepped out in key styles.

The final emerging trend is ‘Design Therapy’ an aesthetic conveying the feeling of being gently protected in a world where we’re overexposed to the digital ecosystem. Non-glossy, stain-finished and nuanced-colour items sit under this trend, most loved by the health conscious (33 percent) and design lovers (30 percent). This trend’s hotspots are the US (70 percent), the UK (9 percent) and Australia (9 percent).

Westfield opens The Trending Store driven by AI powered technology

Myf Ryan, chief marketing officer Europe and group director of brand and strategic marketing for Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield said in a statement: “At Westfield centres we aim to bring the newest concepts, first to the market brands and best experiences to our customers. Through our How We Shop Research platform we know that shoppers increasingly want to experience both online and offline retail in a seamless journey.

"Online, shoppers are inspired by influencers and used to being guided by AI, with products served to them based on their behaviour. Usually this guidance does not translate to a physical retail space, however, working with data analysts, NextAtlas, we are able to bring our shoppers products that are trending in real time - a true reflection of social conversation brought to life in a physical space.”

Mario Coletti, managing director at NextAtlas added: “This is the first time we’ve used our data in a physical setting and so it’s amazing to see how the platform has come to life at The Trending Store. It’s a pioneering way to demonstrate how AI will be relevant in physical retail for years to come. Our platform monitors trend creators, analysing visual content, hash tags and captions on a daily basis to project the trends of the future.”

A total of 100 trending items from a mix of Westfield London retailers, as well as online only retailers, will feature in The Trending Store to mark the 100th anniversary of the centre’s long-standing relationship with Save The Children, as all proceeds will be donated to the charity. The store will also feature a ‘Tending Vending Prize Machine’ where customers can tap to donate to Save the Children in return for a top trending prize valued up to 100 pounds.

The Trending Store will be open from July 3 – July 7 from 12pm to 8pm.

Images: courtesy of Westfield London

Westfield London
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