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Let’s Break the Rules of Retail

Are bricks and mortar retail spaces dead? Not according to the team behind London’s Dover Street Market.

The allure of online shopping is obvious – browse boutiques worldwide and have it all delivered to your doorstep at the click of a button. So, it’s hardly surprising that global online retail sales have risen from 10% to more than 50% in just over a decade. There is, however, still something to be said for the real-world shopping experience – the tactility, the immediacy of the interaction, and, of course, the retail experience created by interior designers and visual merchandisers. While many of these experiences are bland enough to drive shoppers back to the laptop, there are an increasing number that are inspiring enough to entice shoppers onto the streets.

Take, for example, Dover Street Market (DSM), the retail concept created by Rei Kawakubo, founder of cult label Comme des Garçons. The innovative boutique was launched in Mayfair, London almost 12 years ago and has recently re-located to the old Burburry headquarters on Haymarket – a space nearly three times the size of the original. And, the interior feels more avant-garde art installation than department store.

“We think our customers will be intrigued by the new location,” says DSM’s CEO Adrian Joffe, who’s also president of Comme des Garçons and Kawakubo’s husband. “Dover Street Market is always evolving. It is created by instinct, always wanting to do something new, and constantly adding new elements. It’s very organic. The idea is to make shopping exciting.”

See the full story in Indesign #66. Subscribe here.

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