The woman behind a future-forward pop-up shop with a difference is Karinna Nobbs. I have known Nobbs for a while now. We first met on my visit to Holition offices in central London. It was during this meeting that she told me that she was a futurist. Following that, we met again in Paris when I was attending Look Forward fashion tech event. At dinner, we talked shop, along with Noemie Balmat. So when she reached out to me last week, I was all ears and ready to find out what the fashion futurist has been up too.
From Idea To Fashion Store
Nobbs background is in retail and academia. She started her career as a visual merchandiser for United Colours of Benetton and then she went on to work for Kookai, House of Fraser and Ralph Lauren before moving into research and lecturing. The academic also taught at London College of Fashion and the British School of Fashion. It was during that time that she undertook global research projects on flagship stores, pop up stores and social media marketing.
More recently Nobbs has been working in collaboration with innovation studio Holition and 3D artist Emily Switzer on an idea for a store. The idea was initially conceived due to Nobbs’ field research which involved her interviewing consumers and key industry stakeholders about their perceptions on digital fashion. Nobbs found out that there is a considerable amount of confusion and disbelief when it comes to the term digital fashion. The consensus from 60% of the sample was that they were curious, and almost half 47% said they thought interaction with digital garments could help them decide whether to buy physical garments.
Breathing Life Into A Concept
Nobbs and Switzer’s store is very different from the average fashion pop up. It has been designed to appeal to those interested in taking advantage of the opportunity to try on digital fashion like pieces by The Fabricant, Carlings and Christopher Raeburn. Their decision to go ahead with this out of the box idea was supported by the fact that 22% of people asked in Nobbs’ research thought that digital fashion could offer a way for them to enjoy fashion more sustainably. In support of their efforts, partners like David Segal, Raeburn Design Digital Manager, commented: “We are always looking to innovate but also disrupt and challenge the industry as we know it, it, therefore, made perfect sense for us to get involved in HOT: SECOND. Digital clothing has real potential to drive responsible design, and our inherent agility also allows us to be flexible with these ideas and, of course, to learn.” Intrigued by Nobbs prototype concept store, I wanted to know more, so I dug a little deeper.
Tell me a little bit about HOT: SECOND, the prototype concept store that you are launching next week in Shoreditch, London?
Opening at Protein Studios in Shoreditch from Tuesday 19th –Thursday 21st November, the concept store is a world-first circular economy concept store trading physical products for digital experiences. We want visitors to immersively experience digital fashion garments from pioneering brands including The Fabricant, Carlings/VIRTUE and Christopher Raeburn.
Explain what visitors should expect from the immersive experience being offered at HOT: SECOND?
To access the digital experience, visitors need to donate an “unloved” garment to the Love, not Landfill installation. Once the action is completed, a token will be given to grant them entry to one of the futuristic pods, where their journey begins.
Why are you encouraging visitors to donate an “unloved” garment?
The idea is that the customised garment is more likely to be re-worn and reloved – and therefore does not end up as one of the weekly 11 million in a landfill. For those who would rather upcycle than donate, there will be live customisation stations offered by Frankie Noller, Giulio Miglietta and other independent artists.
What kind of technology would a visitor experience on the journey through the store?
When the customer’s journey begins, they will first connect with a human digital tailor who will unveil the mixed reality magic mirror crafted by Holition. In the course of the next three to five minutes, the visitor will get to try a spectrum of digital fashion garments from Couture to Streetwear. |At the end, guests will be able to take away a physical memory from their digital journey, and a transformation of feelings and attitudes towards digital fashion garments is hoped to have taken place.
I would describe your concept Store as a new kind of retail, would you agree?
What we are introducing is a retail prototype that aims to induce a new kind of retail alchemy where the physical and digital combine to co-create a distinct and individualised experience that is considered to be both fun and thought-provoking.
Would you say that digital fashion is more of a novelty marketing or PR tool?
Emergent research results appear to suggest this, this is why while the store is open, my research will be ongoing. The insights gained will be jointly published with Protein in early 2020. The next evolution of the experiential digital fashion concept is planned to debut at Berlin Fashion Week in January 2020 in collaboration with LUKSO, a blockchain company specialised in tokenising assets within the creative economies.
What can we look forward to at the store?
3D Visual Artist Emily Switzer will be showcasing work that will allow people to connect and enjoy her 3D garments in a tangible way.
If you would like to pop by then it is worth noting that the project will be launching to the public for 3 days from 19th November until 21st November @proteinstudios EC2A 3EY