As we become increasingly more reliant on the ease and speed of online shopping, the need for permanent retail space is put into question. Research suggests that 51% of purchases are made online, a 15% growth from 2015. Among a few retailers, brands like The Row and The Line by Apartment are breathing fresh life into the brick and mortar retail experiences, in order to fully immerse clients into the physical. Guests, as one feels in these spaces, are invited to spend time in these shops. Closer to a home than a shop it is evident that every detail has been designed and carefully purveyed. The retail space is staged as a home in which furniture, interior décor, lighting, interior accents and clothing racks are among the few aspects that are given meticulous thought. You feel as though you are in your very tasteful friend’s home and prepared to believe that this could be your home.
The Row began selling its collection in Paris with Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen welcoming corporate buyers into their apartment in the City, encouraging strangers walk through their personal home to purchase the label’s carefully curated clothing. This soon founded the concept for The Row retail spaces, providing the end user a glimpse inside the personal world of Mary-Kate and Ashley.
The Row’s first stand alone store popped up in L.A. on Melrose Place, a discreet street off of the more popular high street Melrose Ave. The building that houses The Row once belonged to Niel Diamond, and is where the twins used to go for their childhood haircuts. The residential-style store is a local stockist of vintage furniture and jewelry, where every item displayed is for sale. Clean lines, airy interiors and a pool are the canvas to display The Row clothing.
In May, the label’s second store opened in Manhattan, with the concept differing slightly from LA. Paying tribute to the location’s Upper East Side context, the space was designed as a New York Brownstone dream in the heart of the city. Legend Interior Designer Jacques Grange was tasked the responsibility of designing the NYC space, his first project since Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Berge’s apartment in Paris. The feeling, intimate in its nature, upon arrival, is that the consumer has entered the twin’s personal house in the city.
The composed consumer experience is becoming more and more popular among retail heavyweights. Where online shopping offers speed and convenience, in order to draw people back into the physical space, there must be a tangible offering that cannot be experienced online. Merchandise is displayed in a way that one can actual imagine its place in his or her own home and life. Toronto has played host to only a few concepts like this one. Avenue Road furniture – a warehouse space artfully designed off the beaten path, housing some of the most beautiful furniture internationally. Yorkville is shifting gears where major brands are leaving the bustle of Bloor Street and opting for the quieter, more intimate pedestrian encouraged locations of Yorkville Ave.