(Tangent Magazine - Wednesday, June 30, 2010)
Pop up stores were once the unique trademark of underground European labels, but the inflation of the trend has spread throughout all international fashion districts. It was initiated by Japanese label Comme des Garcons, and after the concept expanded, they changed the name from 'pop up store' to 'now you see it, now you don't' regardless of the name the success guerilla stores has become this centuries most successful retail innovation.
Berlin was where it all began, but spread quickly through the east setting up in Ljubljana in Slovenia and the Icelandic capital of Reykjavik. Comme des Garcons give their innovation stores a lifespan of one year. The only form of marketing is street posters that are displayed around the stores districts. Each instillation store is carefully adapted from its original form. The store in Helsinki is a 1950s pharmacy with original features and design- operating as functional store feature.
The concept of a guerilla store has become a fashion phenomenon world wide, now becoming a marketing tool in itself. New York is the ultimate destination for a guerilla store, with specified real estate agents who source Manhattans most desired locations to be used as pop up stores. This benefits, real estate agents, designers, land lords and fashion punters all after a good deal.
Australia is no stranger to implementing the trend. Over the summer season, Sydney's Eastern Suburbs was a wash with pop up stores taking advantage of un-leased space along premium shopping districts. China Heights Gallery in Surry Hills is used by the countries most in demand designers; Romance Was Born, Therese Rawsthorne, Jessie Hill and Ellery – just to name a few. With the addition of vintage pop up stores making the most of the summer months, taking full advantage of Surry Hills' newly established East Village feel.
The advantage to designers is paramount when it come s to profitability. A pop up store need not be a clearance store, but rather an opportunity to showcase a collection while trialing a location without long term commitment. In the height of the Global Financial Crisis, the urgency to eliminate excess stock was invaluable in the survival of many fashion labels. This is perhaps why the success of the pop up store has been so vast over the last two years.
As we start to see the runways of Paris turn into art instillations, it is almost a certainty that the instillation retail store will prove to draw the crowds and gather press, more than a Champs Elysees flagship store. The more eccentric the location – the more curiosity that surrounds it.
The guerilla store was born from the strategy of minimal marketing and word of mouth promotions. Not only creating an air of mystery, but also rebelling against the normal avenues used to create recognition and profit for the label. The revolution created by Comme des Garcons has now manifested into a highly marketed concept that is tirelessly promoted. This contradiction is bitter sweet, it has been such a huge success for many labels, but unfortunately now removes the excitement and privilege of a guerrilla store.
[ Back to Press Page ]