Fashion Buzz

May 24, 2010

London is a city mixed with a variety of cultures and races. It’s a cosmopolitan with people around the world. The diversity of the culture consequently brings about the buzz in the fashion industry.

Shopping Environments

The shopping environment in London can be quite different in various markets. For example, in the Top Shop and H&M in Oxford Street, space is as premium, which is definitely overwhelmed compared with those high-end markets. The clothes are arranged closely with each other. It’s even hard for consumers to go through the crowds and get the stuff they want. These two stores are both trying to take advantage of limited spaces to display and sell their products as many as possible. People need to wait in line for fitting room, restroom as well as checking out. Most girls will have more than 5 clothing items in their hands. Some of them are not patient enough and even try on the potential outfit just in front of the mirror outside the fitting room.

In the contrary, for those luxury markets, like Bond Street, their concept is: when a thing is scarce, it is precious. Therefore, for instance, the stores of Armani Collezioni, Chanel, and DKNY not only provide capacious shopping spaces, but also the limited products which are well displayed and organized on the shelf, rather than in piles. Also, take Harrods as an example. It is a landmark of a luxury department store in London, which targets two groups of consumers; one is with high-income and high salary and the other is the tourists. Walking around the first floor of Harrods, most people are middle-aged and tourists. They carry cameras in their hands and try to discover the perfect luxury gifts for every occasion. Most of them men or in family.  Some of them will choose the gifts that are not quite expensive, like small-packed beauty products.

Moreover, London also has a lot of interesting flea markets selling accessories and clothes, like Porobello market in Notting Hill and Spitalfields market (the name need to be double check). They are different from both Top Shop and Harrods. They are mostly privately owned and operated in small scales. Owners will have their individual booths or little stores in this market or along the street. The products in such markets are much cheaper and mostly unbranded. People could bargain the prices with the owners. In some sense, flea market is a more informal shopping environment which mostly targets tourists.

Portobello Market

Spitalfields market

The first impression of London’s fashion world is its fancy shopwindow. Compared with the shopwindows inside the shopping malls in USA, Londoners will walk more on the streets and take the bus. So thanks for the huge amounts of buses and walkers passing by, a fancy and creative shopwindow display is always able to attract people’s attention, not just the shoppers. Maybe it’s the convenient transportation that motivates brands in London lead a competition even through shopwindow displays.

Allsaints Window

NARS Window

Discover/Create the Best Fit among the Buzz

Regarding the diversity of the dress style of Londoners, there’s no rule. When I was walking on the street and observing their dresses, the word on my mind to summarize their dress code is diversity. After observing, talking and hanging out with several customers in Top Shop and H&M, I know Londoners care about trend in fashion. But they will never follow the trend blindly. They only choose the product suitable for them.

Also, During the observation in Top Shop and H&M, it’s interesting to see that consumers would try to discover the best fit accessory, shoes or bag for their new outfit. Thanks to the diversity of the products in Top Shop, if possible, they would grab all of the stuff in the same spot, rather than traveling to other stores.

Also, sometimes Londoners would like to create the best fit outfit by themselves. When I was hanging out with a girl during her shopping, she told me that she can cut, shorten or redesign the out-of-dated clothes into the best fit by herself.



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