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Brief Published: 11 Jan 2017

Feminism-Fuelled Retail


Continuing to fuel discussion surrounding the female empowerment that's now so important to brands (as highlighted in Female-Focused Retail Stories, NY, Women's World and 360-Degree Feminism), a wave of retailers have unleashed store-based concepts designed to celebrate women, offer support and spotlight entrepreneurial opportunities.

  • Feminist Frenemies: The ground floor of the Wah Nails salon/store in London – which began life in 2005 as a fanzine focused on girls in hip hop – encourages consumers to experiment with its products (nail polishes, files, art pens) alongside similar items from other female-founded independent labels. The Wah team and its founder, stylist-turned-entrepreneur Sharmadean Reid, chose all items.
  • Micro In-Store Pop-Ups Push Feminist Agenda: UK teen-targeting fashion e-tailer Missguided is also collaborating with female-owned businesses. Its first bricks-and-mortar store in London's Westfield Stratford City shopping mall features a Wah Nails pop-up and a concession by London hair-braiding studio Keash.
  • Work-Shopping Entrepreneurial Support: US lingerie label Aerie has opened a year-long pop-up in New York that features a shoppable plant display created by local female-owned florists Uprooted Flower Truck. Supporting female endeavour is central to the concept, with the space also hosting events including monthly seminars by female entrepreneurs, aiming to establish a community network. See also Community & Commerce: NY Flagships.
  • The Supportive Sell – Making Space for the Marginalised: In December 2016, UK 'feminist ethical' fashion label Birdsong – which is renowned for rejecting Photoshop in its ad campaigns, and gives 80% of sales proceeds back to the women's organisations from which it sources its clothes – opened a festive 'feminist concept pop-up' in Shoreditch, London. It offered products from other like-minded brands including US period-proof underwear brand Thinx, British magazine Riposte and female fashion designers including Katie Jones and Clio Peppiatt (both London based) alongside its A/W 16/17 fashion line. In-store events included a feminist book club and workshops for trans women at the start of their transition seeking advice on cosmetics. See also Christmas 2016: In-Store Activations & Services and The Supportive Sell in The Business of Wellbeing.
  • Women of Note: On a more basic level, in December 2016 LA-based fashion label ALC, founded by American super stylist-turned-designer Andrea Lieberman, introduced #theALCway – a social media call-to-action and section on its e-commerce site that depicts 10 non-models wearing ALC clothes. For more on brands using similar tactics to illustrate their commitment to their 'real' fan bases, see Marketing Imperfection in our Get Real Macro Trend.

See also Female-Focused Retail, and for more on the need for brands to create meaningful, socially relevant conversations, see Brands Take a Stand and Renegade Retail.

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