VF Corporation’s Next-Gen Fashion Showroom, London
US fashion group VF Corporation – parent company to some of retail’s major current success stories (including Vans, Timberland and The North Face) – has launched a new-gen showroom in London. The aim? A B2B hub facilitating innovation and trans-brand pollination – especially regarding what executive vice-president EMEA, Martino Scabbia Guerinni, referred to as “VF becoming a purpose-led company”.
Guerrini kick-started the launch by heralding the success of its big three aforementioned brands. Cumulatively, they’ve achieved a sales uptick of over 14% since 2017 – and the group aims to use that influence to push a sustainability-focused agenda.
The 15,000 sq ft hub, which is designed by UK architects Darling Associates and includes a lush rooftop garden designed by award-winning British landscape gardener Andy Sturgeon, is located in Soho. Positioned within walking distance of many of its brands’ flagships, VF hopes that the multi-storey space will not only be a beacon for buyers and industry discussion, but also for its retail partners - enabling them to trial new shop-floor-applicable technologies and review sister-brand strategies.
“This space will bring together creatives from 20+ brands [covering outdoor, active, work and jeans categories] to ensure that whatever we’re doing, we’re constantly dancing with our consumers,” said Guerinni. “We’ve known for some time it’s no longer about two seasons a year, but thinking in terms of concepts, markets and channels.”
While the claim that the brand spaces are experiential feels somewhat inflated, they certainly resemble boutiques more than traditional showrooms, featuring hero-product zones, video walls and museum-style product development showcases.
Also notable are digital screens in both Timberland and The North Face showing product on avatar-style mannequins – allowing visitors to examine life-like recreations of fit and fabric properties. The concept uses internal technology for rapid prototyping products (reducing the waste of traditional systems) which, according to the brands, may also be migrated to the shop floor.