Athleta: Power to the She Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing

GAP created the Athleta  concept to be much more than a ladies fitness apparel and equipment retailer but  as a hub for the fitness lifestyle itself.



The concept is completely  multi-channel but focused on the neighbourhood communities around each store, selected as aerobic areas with high levels of fitness clubs and activities for ladies of work and leisure with health and fitness at heart.

The stores are understated,  but intimate and welcoming.

The atmosphere encourages the customer to browse and  to spend time. The assortment is segmented between activity specific apparel  & the appropriate equipment displayed with authority and category clarity, through to more leisure lifestyle collections where the presentation is more closely coordinated to that of a  boutique.

Around the store scattered information hot spots with news of events, activities and classes in the immediate vicinity, as well as Internet terminals where customers can explore further information as well as the extended Athleta assortment.

GAP has developed some  interesting initiatives to propel the concept to the role of leisure hub, such  as sponsorship of leading US sportsmen and more local fitness “heroes”,  and diverse directories of local classes and clubs.

The retailer has also  developed and promotes highly in the store a number of hero MVP products – Most  Valuable Performer which give a value twist to what is primarily an assortment based on performance, quality and a fashion premium.


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How’s your brand shaping up?

Open: Welcome to the House of Fun

Something pretty peculiar popped up in Islington. The coolest collection of contemporary living from the safest pair of hands in British retail.



Open House was a month long John Lewis pop-up experience exclusively featuring the House collection of Britains favourite retailer. The whole was housed in a two-floor space with the ground level given over to informally segmented room sets, a coffee bar and plenty of open space for activities and seasonal interaction.

From face painting to french fancies, giveaways to guacamole, and guitar greats to gourmet demonstrations the space was fun and fully social, featured through facebook and twitter whilst interestingly anonymous of the official JL site. The lower level served as a film house with selective screening of cool classics, introduced by doyens of the film fraternity to a decidedly select audience.

Open House exploded the John Lewis brand to a younger audience and kepts then coming back for more in this most innovative of omni-channel experiments.

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Soho Alive & Kicking: The Jimi Hendrix Experience

Soho returning to its roots as the 21st Century Jimi Hendrix experience returns to its streets, for a few weeks at least, with the Jimi Hendrix Pop-up



“People, Hell & Angels” is the latest and most authentic posthumous album from the 60’s guitar hero. And to launch the album a unique Pop-up shop has arrived just off Carnaby Street, in a music launch that captures the life & spirit of that bygone, psychadelic age.

The store is home to the entire Hendrix catalgoue collection, merchandise and memorabilia, but to really soak up the Hendrix experience visit the basement. Here Fender, the instrument of choice for the guitar great, has taken its home for 2 weeks, displaying its range of guitars, with hourly masterclasses on re-creating the Hendrix sound for any budding guitar greats.

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A fitting tribute to Soho, and a fitting tribute to Hendrix, brought together again 50 years after.

Need help making the most of your heritage?
Undervaluing the role of the pop-up store?

And the Brand played on…merchandise and music in several movements.

And the Brand played on…merchandise and music in several movements.     Whether composing displays or composing ditties, coordinating the blues, or singing them, the artistic side of retail life has invariably struggled to make its musical ends meet. “Art for Art’s Sake Money for God’s sake” are a relevant, if somewhat dated testament to the dilemma of coordinating creativity & commercialism, and also a timeless reminder of the long and lively relationship between the retailer industry and the music of the times. A tradition that is getting stronger, more vibrant and more imaginative as every note goes by.  …

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Fender Casting: Vendor-Varvatos in the Stratosphere

Jon Varvatos lays its musical card on the multi-channel table.


Cool by association as the brand immerses itself in the world of music. Green Day collaborate on fashion campaigns whilst Paul Weller performs exclusively in the Bowery Store. What the retailer lacks in genuine personality is more than made up for as it rubs up close to some of the most fashionable and eligable shoulders in Manhatten and beyond.

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Are you associating your brand with the right people?
Is a little bit of them, rubbing off on you?


Varvatos Momentus : A Genus Genius

New York is awash with John Varvatos, from Converse collaborations to the distressed corners of Bloomingdales.


However on the eastside of the city discover the brand in its natural habitat lurking to surprise anyone passing The Bowery. The store is a temple to Rock ‘n’ Roll evoking the steamy atmospheres of underground clubs and crowded all night venues. The poster strewn walls evoke the great bands, reminiscing about historic improvised concerts and chance meetings with the hall of fame.

The store itself transforms into a venue with an intimate stage, set off with discarded instruments and the moodiest of lighting.

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Is your heritage shining through the dust of the years?

West Elm – Labs of Love: Where Style Begins at Home

Fashion comes & goes, but style last forever.


An intrinsic part of the West Elm proposition is the Design Lab in every store from Manhattan to Marylebone. And with an assortment built on timeless beauty combined with current looks and the latest materials why wouldn’t you trust West Elm to transform your humble abode into the talk of the neighbourhood?

For the independent minded there’s the top line advice on colours and fabrics, through to the bottom up support where taste, design, coordination, construction, decoration, management and installation are all part of the impeccable service. Credentials in tact, with local sourcing for a consummate international traveller.

Home is where the “art” is!

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Are you lacking a little soul in your homewares?

From West Elm Cardboard Creativity Grows

Poor workmen blame their tools, but the toolshop department in West Elm is a testament to the cardboard craftsmen that toil behind the scenes.


Simplicity and integrity are the trademarks of the boxes that house everything from saucepans to sauce spoons. Essential to all great packaging is the ability to see what’s inside without the destruction of the box around it. Getting the message without killing the messenger. The West Elm packaging uses a combination of cutaway panels revealing the mystery contents, and lifesize photography revealing a like ness of the contents in both tone and scale.

If only everything was as easy in life, if only cooking itself was as creative and yet consummate, as shopping the shelves of West Elm.

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Are details of the store experience such as packaging letting you down?

Take a tour around West Elm: London

Style travels well, and judging from the stunning arrival of West Elm on this side of the pond, the American home fashion retailer is about to make serious waves in the UK decor market.

The essential elements have been transported safely with its distinctive high wall displays, blocked shelving, colour story chic and opulent ornaments still in tact after the journey East.


Raw Refined Refreshed: At Its UnDoctored Best

Dr Martens: A brand blended to perfection.


New initiatives and collaborations add different dimensions to the celebrated boot brand. Brutus fashion evokes the spirit of a bygone age,  tattoo adds new and fascinating features to stereotypical styles, whilst Agyness Deyn’s designs add bows, beauty and frivolity to the famous features.

Many paths followed to the Doctor’s House.
Dr Martens. On the move.

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Should brand and designer collaborations be on your strategic maps

Mighty Martens: Straying Off the Beaten Track

It is no easy “feet” to keep a clear direction for a powerful brand identity, and also maximise opportunities for the product away from its safety zone.


Dr Martens illustrates intelligent imagination as its collection strays into dress shoes, formal shoes and casual boots whilst maintaining its distinct style and rawness. Classic silhouettes are re-incarnated with tantilising textures, finishes and patterns which are both at odds, yet in complete harmony, with this most celebrated of boot brands.

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Do you need assistance in updating and galvanising your proposition, and your assortment?

Polarizing Opinion: RayBan’s Interactive Experiences

Function or Fashion – The Rayban site cuts through the murk to herald on of the worlds strongest brands.


The world’s most desirable sunglass brand wades in with interactive films and imagery to explain and demonstrate the power and benefit of its polarizing lenses. The user can not only control the view, and the angle to the sun, but then apply and remove the polarizing filter for the user to experience the difference in glare & clarity. And never a snrinking violet the Rayban site shows off its fashion and styles with limited edition styles inspired by the brands rich heritage.

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Having trouble communicating your product?
Perhaps you need to show off a little more!