I heard Kate Sylvester talking on national radio recently. Her and others in New Zealand’s fashion industry are responding to Tear Funds global audit challenge by creating “mindful fashion New Zealand,” which recognises our own context for fashion retail brands.
This acknowledges the small scale and remote location of our industry and critiques the global “one size fits all” approach that often dominates marketing type narratives to emphasise the virtues of the bigger international players.
We need to accept that both global trends and very local responses have their place, even if they appear to differ. The web facilitates worldwide debates and grows common interests on an unprecedented scale. Equally it enables a whole region or suburb to be involved together. It reinforces participation in locally based communities, be they New Zealand in the world, inner city Auckland in New Zealand, or just Grey Lynn in Auckland.
For local communities the standout point of difference opportunity (in an increasingly virtual world) is to anchor a retail experience into a real place and to connect all the relevant, supportive local households to it via social media.
Thus, place making and experience design become content creators, and the designers’ work collaboratively with the retailers’ team to get the balance right. Farro Fresh seems to achieve this via their online and hard copy magazines and the instore events. Ozone’s pumping, full-on central kitchen and roaster action show, means things are always going off even if it’s not a full house. They stand as a vibrant part of their community.
These ‘experience’ rich retail concepts can stand alone but they will make great partners in new community focused retail centres.
These centres will offer a location with an authentic sense of place to complement the instore experience of the retailer. Look for F&B operations co-locating with entertainment uses, wellness facilities and recreation: Baristas, Bars, Bikes and Spas!
These new centres will activate sunny, sheltered “streets” and “laneways.” They will have great outlook and accessibility, even if it’s mainly via scooters and “shanks pony.”
It’s all a matter of scale and balance, like riding a scooter… with the web helping you to connect up.