For the 2016 edition of its annual Bright New Things (BNT) talent showcase, British department store Selfridges has collaborated with London’s Centre for Sustainable Fashion to promote the most exciting new names in sustainable fashion.
Now in its eighth year, the brand offers mentorship to all nine participants, plus a £30k ($43k) bursary to just one winner, announced at the project finale at the end of February 2016. Their work is currently being showcased in hidden pop-ups throughout the store, as well as the main Oxford Street windows.
Notably, Selfridges has chosen not to group all of the designers in one space under the umbrella of sustainability. Dispersing them throughout the store instead allows consumers to discover them on their own merit, as they would any other brand. However, for those keen to track the initiative, a printed map at each pop-up spot directs visitors to the others, like a treasure hunt.
Beyond the BNT programme, 30 established sustainability-focused brands, such as Swedish denim brand Nudie Jeans, are also flagged up. The nine BNT designers are also reflected in a dedicated section on Selfridge’s e-commerce site, including a surreal fashion film by London-based fashion filmmaker Marie Schuller that reimagines the BNT products.
Selfridges’ topical, activist stance shrewdly caters to a growing consumer appetite for eco-ethical consumption, as dissected in Retail: The Eco-Ethical Upsell, and upcoming report Contextual Commerce, publishing in February. Indeed, 76% of UK adults alone now pay attention to the ethical/green credentials of products, including manufacturing and distribution processes, as well as the reputation of companies or brands (Mintel, 2015).