If you walk through a major city centre just about anywhere in the world you’re likely to come across some kind of street vendor. They might be selling hot food and drinks, known in the UK as street food, they might be trying to sell their handmade jewellery or maybe even a case or charging cable for your mobile phone – the fact is, they’re everywhere and there are some amazing bargains to be found. The same is true with the fashion industry, especially now more and more retailers are opening their own pop-up fashion outlets in cities across the globe.
The major fashion locations such as London, Paris, New York, Los Angeles and Milan are filled with these shops which give designers and retailers such as Lastashop the chance to showcase their ranges that might otherwise remain undiscovered in certain parts of the world; especially in the case of Lastashop who originated in Iceland which many probably couldn’t locate on a map.
Many of the world’s top designers have started out by selling their designs to the local customers before attempting to branch out to a wider audience. It all works in a similar way to your traditional market, but these outlets are permitted to stay around for a few days at a time in an attempt to raise awareness of and interest in their work and, hopefully, to make a few sales and new fans in the process. The more unusual and ‘out there’ designers have all succeeded and it doesn’t really matter in the grand scheme of things if you sell out or not, as long as people are seeing what you can do, what you have to offer and if it’s at a price that works for them. You only have to see how many bands that started playing in city centres and have made a name for themselves in the local area before taking their country and even other countries by storm – it is possible.
To remain with the same example, Lastashop who, as mentioned, originated in Iceland and have remained true to their routes by showcasing the latest lines from some of the best designers in Iceland and Europe, have opened pop-up outlets in both New York and Los Angeles in 2014, taking European fashion to America. The CEO of the company, Helga Olafsson, said prior to the New York shop opening that “Icelandic fashion is experimental, cool and just perfect for New York” and that is exactly what you want to be seeing from a new, exciting brand from overseas – something completely different to what you have 365-days a year, yet something that has the potential to capture the imagination of the whole audience.
A lot of the appeal and success has come because they’re the kind of ‘blink and you’ll miss it’ stores that encourage people to get involved straight away. If people know they’ve only got two days, for instance, to find their next outfit for the weekend then they’re likely to pay close attention in order to find something that you can almost guarantee that nobody else will be wearing when you hit the town with friends or go out for a meal.
Every now and again, you do find celebrities wearing items from these pop-up boutiques which then drives interest from around the world, providing the big break that the retailer or designer are looking for. Of course, it’s not always going to work that an A-lister buys from your shop, but it CAN and HAS happened.