The Ephemeral Future Of Fashion


The fashion world as we know it is changing and more stores are struggling to keep their doors open.

Is there any hope for retail?

To start us off, what are the Top Two reasons why people visit retail stores?

  1. To bond with people they know or meet people with similar interests/values

  2. To incorporate sensory modalities (eyes, ears, nose and touch) within the shopping experience

So why as e-commerce expands, more stores are closing?

The truth is, retail needs a refresh. This evolution makes it disadvantageous to immediately invest in a permanent physical space and more advantageous allocating resources towards establishing a permanent space in consumers’ minds. Countless numbers of brands have drastically shifted their focus to empathize with millennials and Gen Z consumers, soon to hold over half the world's buying power, hence the prevalence of small-batch product releases and direct-to-consumer business models.

Fun Fact: Millennials and Gen Z consumers are as interested in luxury goods as they are in resale.

The “see now, buy now” business model has an edge on retail because the limited number of products for a limited amount of time reduces waste, decreases upfront costs, and creates what people in fashion circles call 'HYPE'. And because the internet makes acquiring these ‘releases’ so convenient, more consumers are carefully deciding what, when and where to cop the latest trends. Brands with a clear defined purpose or focus on fostering community provide more value to these consumers and are less likely to face extinction.

Furthermore, brands who are driven by their core demographic release products that optimize consumers' lives as a byproduct of keeping up with their core values. And if a brand can occupy a place in consumers’ minds, they can increase the likelihood of gaining loyal fans. So how can brands struggling to maintain their followers turn things around and encourage people to shop in real life?

Allow me to introduce the ephemeral, yet elevated shopping experience, the POP UP.

A pop up is a brand’s opportunity to continue building meaningful connections with consumers through various touch points. They provide a brief escape from repetitive retail environments through an immersive and interactive shopping experience. In fact, consumers want their shopping experiences to evolve as they evolve in their individual lives.

Pop ups have been around for quite sometime and they’re a feasible answer to retail's immediate issues lacking in freshness and relevancy. Pop ups can help introduce new products by serving as an incubator to scale the release for a large audience without big investments and product waste. (Can we say eco-friendly?!) Pop ups can also be engineered for a specific consumer demographic, making the shopping experience even more individual and the brand more fluid.

A successful pop up is always designed with the consumer in mind from inception to execution. There are big payoffs to weaving in consumer values and opinions when planning a pop up; in addition to main takeaways (i.e. merchandise, aspirations, connections, etc.). Enticing customers with novelty, empathy and transient experiences sparks both urgency and interest to save your brand!