I feel like I haven’t posted in a while but some cool things have been going on that I’ve been keeping an eye on! My top two things are Missguided opening a store at Westfield and this years Design Award winner for H&M
Not that the visual merchandising is necessarily my style, I think they’ve done a great job! It’ll be interesting to see how they do moving from an online only retailer to a brick and mortar store! I can’t wait to visit
A Central Saint Martins student won the H&M Design award this year and I loved the style of his designs – looking forward to seeing the collection when it hits stores
Online fashion retailer ASOS has been crowned most reputable fashion retailer according to a list provided by UK Rep Trak.
The top three on the list also included Laura Ashley and Debenhams, with M&S in fourth place and Next in fifth place.
The Rep Trak works on a company’s ability to deliver on stakeholder expectations in seven key areas, which are products and services, innovation, workplace, governance, citizenship, leadership and performance.
Then the companies are scored from 0-100 based on overall reputation and divided as Excellent (80 and over), Strong (70-79), Average (60-69), Weak (40-59) or Poor (below 40).
Executive partner Kasper UIf Nielsen, at Reputation Institute, said: “It is intriguing that an online-only retailer has achieved a stronger reputation than the old high-street favourites. This not only reflects the shift in shopping habits of the UK general public, but it also underlines the point that you can build a high degree of trust, respect, and admiration without the face to face experience. With only one retailer breaking through the ‘excellent’ barrier, many within the sector need to do more to cement and build upon their reputations.”
The report comes less than 24 hours since Labour candidate Owen Smith called for a parliamentary inquiry into ASOS regarding their working conditions at the Barnsley warehouse.
During uni we had guest lecturer, John Hoerner, give a talk about his book and the retail industry, which I found really insightful and inspiring. He gave all listeners a copy of his book ‘How to Sell: Recipes for Retail which now uni is over, I would like to read.
Hoerner has been a main boss at many fashion retail brands including Harvey Nichols, Burtons, Tesco, Topshop to name a few. His talk was really intriguing as he discussed customers, employers, employees and head office staff, he even made comparisons between them to his dogs, horses and flying!
Interesting points Hoerner made included the fact that customer loyalty doesn’t exist, he believes it’s a myth. What exists is customer familiarity and satisfaction, the only thing customers would be loyal to would be family and friends products. I also like how Hoerner said that store visits should be unbusiness-like, you should forget everything you know on a store visit – be in a rush, act like youve never been there before, then you are a customer!
At the end there were questions and answers, I asked his opinion on why he believes Zara do so well as a business. Hoerner answered saying it was partly down to their analysis, as well as owning their factories and retail stores, causing lead times and critical path to run smoothly and in line with business needs.
Horner spent five years writing the book, which he said for every four pages it took one year to learn.
Two stories have recently caught my eye and that’s Fendi celebrating their 90th birthday with a catwalk runway literally on the Trevi Fountain in Rome and Matthew Williamsons collaboration with USA Pro, to produce an activewear range with Williamson’s iconic prints. The Trevi Fountain has been newly restored with the financial help of the Roman fashion house. The show looked incredible, I can’t stop looking at the photos and watching the videos.
Info from Fashionista:
‘The collection, entitled “Legends and Fairy Tales,” was presented overtop of the fountain, with models walking on a clear platform that gave the illusion that they were walking on water. As the label’s second-ever “Haute Fourrure” show, each look was accented with fur — from appliqués and subtle trims to full-on shawls, dresses and intarsia coats. With motifs that included florals and fairy tale-like art scenes, the pieces were only made more magical thanks to the models’ doll-like curly hair — some tied with fur ribbons — and dewy skin. Former Fendi face Kendall Jenner opened the show, while Paris Couture Week’s breakout star Bella Hadid closed in a majestic fur cape.’
Photos from Harper’s Bazaar UK Twitter account:
Next, USA Pro launches a high-end activewear collection with British Designer Matthew Williamson, who I have always been a huge fan of. As activewear is such a huge trend at the moment, with many celebrities wearing the trend as casual wear, I loved seeing a premium take. Many brands are offering competitive price points such as Boo Hoo, Missguided, New Look and H&M.
Info from USA Pro’s official website:
Matthew Williamson commented, “I saw the collaboration as an exciting opportunity when approached by USA Pro. I view active and loungewear as a key component of our expansion into lifestyle in 2016. I am delighted to be able to design for another part of every modern woman’s wardrobe – distinct from ready-to-wear yet important for their everyday lives.” The collection has been expertly created utilising perspiration wicking double faced stretch fabrics offering you a dry and comfortable workout. Pieces feature muscle compression properties helping prevent muscle strain and fatigue and to ensure you are at the top of your game. The range centres on a collection of sports staples including leggings, zip-up jackets, training tops all ranging across three statement prints.
I’ve always been interested in Iris Van Herpen’s work, mainly since my time at Central Saint Martins. I looked at their most recent collect and picked a few styles that I really liked. Their work often has connotations of natural forms, with this collection suggesting honeycomb forms and insect forms. Even though I have more of an interest with high street, commercial fashion, I enjoy looking at couture fashion to compare and seek inspiration.
Yesterday was the opening evening for the School of Design at the University of Leeds degree exhibition. Below are a few examples of work from my course, including mine which is the 8th photo. The design brief for our final year project was entirely self-led. The project entailed gaining visual research of your choice, producing drawings to lead the design development. The project is heavily influenced by industry artists and designers, in my case Matthew Williamson, Katherina Grosse, Zara prints, Roberto Cavilli and WGSN forecasted trend reports. The project was split into two collections, I designed one collection for womenswear clothing and one for accessories, including hand bags and footwear.
On reflection on my final project, I feel pleased with the design outcomes, which encompass the targeted trends, designer research and market level anticipated. From a marketing perspective, the designs have been explored in numerous ways to ensure breadth across the outcomes. Breadth has allowed my end use products to appeal to a wider target audience and reflect the widespread wants and needs of customers. As a designer, I have a natural tendency to shy away from bold and vibrant colours, using a softer colour palette that feel more within my comfort zone. After analysing how bright colours work successfully in industry, I implemented this visual understanding into my design outcomes.
Using subject matters which are recurring and common in a highly saturated marketplace, such as florals, I feel I achieved my aim of creating an original interpretation of this visual research. A unique interpretation was achieved by integrating a botanical theme with complementary themes such as abstract qualities and bird feather textures.
If I had the opportunity to continue the project further, I would have perhaps turned quite a vibrant yet elegant collection into perhaps something more graphic. This would introduce a different level of creativity and individuality that would challenge my abilities as a designer.
As one of ASOS’s goals is to offer the best digital experience to its customers, I found an article which spoke about ASOS’s collaboration with Wayra UK. The plan is for asos to look for innovative start-ups with technology to improve the asos experience.
From the article:
The main aim for the programme is to find smart technologies to accelerate the pace of innovation within the fashion technology space, making the customer experience easier, more enjoyable, and more personalised.
Asos is seeking to work with mature start-ups with a proven track record of developing technologies, products and services that complement the ASOS experience. As Asos has 80,000 products, 3,500 new items added every week and an average of 3.2 million visits daily, it wants to find meaningful solutions that allow customers to find the perfect item among its offer.
A select number of start-ups will receive direct investment, with access to dedicated acceleration services and office space within Wayra UK’s academy in Central London for a period of 8 months.
“Asos has always been known as a digital leader and this partnership will help us continue to serve the needs of our customers as they evolve. There are specific areas where we would like to accelerate innovation, but we are also excited to hear what ideas come back from the start-ups themselves. The potential here, for Asos, our customers and the companies we end up working with, is huge and Wayra UK is the perfect partner to work with on this search,” said Cliff Cohen, Asos CIO.
“Innovative start-ups like RotaGeek, which enabled O2 to reinvest £2.5M in customer experience with its smart scheduling system and Qudini, which is now the preferred queue management system for Telefónica across 21 countries, are great proof-points as to how we can help Asos disrupt the fashion retail space and internationalise the propositions our start-ups are developing,” said Bridget Lea, Retail Director, Telefónica UK.
Teaming up with tech start-ups is becoming increasingly ubiquitous among UK fashion brands – Topshop just announced the five finalists for its collaboration with Decoded Fashion, which also looks for start-ups that can enhance the shopping experience for its customers.