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Missguided, London

In London we head to Westfield Stratford to cover another retailer aimed at millennial women that has just launched a dynamic debut store at this prestigious retail development.   Much the same as Models Own in Leeds, this successful online fashion brand has also broken all the rules of conventional high street retailing and created a fashion playground for its faithful followers here in London. 

With the help of designers, Dalziel & Pow, Missguided has achieved a seamless transition from online to offline, where fashion addicts can get their fix.  The new flagship has massive mall presence.  It’s full of theatre and fun and everything about this store refers back to its online roots.  The tiered, somewhat chaotic layout, the constant references to online terminology - #, Instagram, social media and networking - even the lighting and quality of materials chosen all have an ephemeral quality that mirrors the fast moving, ever changing digital world. 

The store design, which is based upon a TV studio, has numerous stage sets traversing it.  With loud, thumping music and constantly changing digital imagery the vibe is electric.  The ‘On Air’ concept, as it has been coined by the designers, encourages its audience to continue their online experience together, live instore.

From the outset the store is highly impressive.  The double height, all glass store facade allows uninterrupted views into the exciting interior, where the party has started.  Lights, music, mannequins, display props, signage and screens all vie for your attention and are multi-layered to evoke a deconstructed version of the Missguided website.  Two, glossy, pink pillars that reach from the ground to the roof frame the enormous, three-dimensional, pink metallic Missguided logo that is hung in the centre above the store’s multiple entrance doors.  The windows, full of mannequins striking a ‘ready to rock’ pose, are set against a backdrop of screens playing brand and campaign content, as well as graphic boards displaying multiple brand mission statements.   There is no mistaking this retailer; its store perfectly replicates today’s youth culture’s serious lack of attention span.

Inside, the space unfolds as a series of individual lifestyle sets replicating the TV studio.  The traditional shopping journey is disrupted and replaced with a more flexible format.  A pink monster truck with mannequins shooting dollar bills takes centre stage as you enter the store and takes a great photo that can be instantly uploaded.  A list of Missguided, as the brand named them, ‘Babe Commandments’ such as ‘Thou shalt be too glam to give a damn’ exudes its playful confidence.  A line of mannequins walk across from the escalators to the mezzanine bridge overhead.  Downstairs, a denim area inspired by the seven deadly sins features a mirrored ceiling, vivid neon lights and black marble flooring.  On the mezzanine level above, a glamorous ‘Shoeniverse’ feature which entails a stunning installation of mirrored discs and lights, hung above a circular display unit and wrapped with ombre chain curtains takes centre stage.  Further visual merchandising props are all around: unicorns, gold pineapples, flamingos, doughnuts and vending machines fill this extravagant environment.  The cash desk is also a key feature.  On a scale and style similar to those found in Primark, the long, white counter is dominated by an equally long screen behind and a pink backdrop (including the surrounding ceiling and floor!), plus an enormous pink and white spotted dollar sign.  In fact, there are a lot of pink highlights in this store - curtains, display units, carpeting, signage and graphics all add a touch of glamour and femininity to this hard core fashion store.

Another radical move in this revolutionary concept is the positioning of the changing rooms at the front of the store.  Once again, it all stems back to the internet and our need to be permanently connected.  The fitting rooms have been turned into a social networking area with comfy sofas dotted about to encourage groups of friends to spend time trying on new looks together.  Surrounded by palm trees, fun style emojis, more tongue in cheek signage (like ‘Get naked’) and a swimming pool animation projected onto the ceiling, the area has been given the feel of a Miami Beach pool party.  There is even a concierge to add to the VIP feel.

Missguided has created a haven of youth and exploration through its clever merchandising.  The ‘on trend’ retailer has successfully launched itself within the bricks and mortar world and set new goals for aspiring fashion brands.

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