New experiences, Gen Z values, and intelligent art—how retail stores are inviting shoppers back in again
Immersive retail experiences are hardly a novelty these days. In the last decade alone, fashion retailers across the globe took store design to the next level. From Louis Vuitton, Gucci and Dior, three of the world’s most valuable luxury brands, to younger direct-to-consumer ones like Kith, Story or The Phluid Project — there’s really no denying innovation. What started off as a concept or an experiment with a handful of brands seems like a non-negotiable for all brands as we’re seeing a swift rise in ‘dopamine displays’ today.
So what are dopamine displays, really? Simply put, it’s the imaginative use of colour, art, culture and design as a means to engage with the ever-evolving palette of the Gen-Z and millennial consumer. The kind that’d go viral on Instagram or Tik Tok. It’s hard to tell if it’s the post-pandemic ‘revenge-shopping’ mentality, or the need for something new and fresh that’s influenced this phenomenon. In every sense of the word, maximalism has taken over, and we’re here for it. Shelves stacked with just clothes won’t do. Neither will typical display counters. Fashion today isn’t just about the products themselves, but the narrative surrounding them. Without thoughtful curation and storytelling, it’s unlikely that brands can find success in making store visits more memorable. But there are some brands that are ahead of the curve — and here’s what they are doing to bring more permanence to these highly sensory experiences.
Brands are using art as an ephemeral draw
Dopamine displays are definitely not for the faint hearted. There’s a common theme to every brand that’s investing in them and it’s usually the unapologetic use of rich, pigmented tones that are bound to pique the curiosity of even the most unintended passerby. Louis Vuitton is a prime example of how to do this well. They’ve been known to create some of the most larger-than-life exhibits in the last few years — the Louis Vuitton X Rodeo Drive featuring 180 archival items, the orange monochromatic pop up at Chicago’s West Loop only retailing menswear summer essentials or their new holographic flagship store in Ginza Namiki in Tokyo — all of which are truly visual treats that live rent free in our heads. The colourful displays don’t just end with the façade, but are extended to every corner of the store. The Louis Vuitton Bond Street store in Mayfair, London could easily pass off as an art exhibit, owing to the number of artists commissioned to make it come alive. From the Sarah Crowner installation at the entrance featuring a seven-metre-long frieze of pinks and neons to sculptor Annie Morris’s stacks of brightly coloured carved-foam orbs and the Campana Brothers’ signature cocoon chairs, the store grips you at every turn with its use of colour. Their most recent ‘Walk In The Park’ pop up in SoHo, Manhattan had the space enveloped in neon arches with a rainbow-theme throughout for Virgil Abloh’s Fall/Winter 2021 menswear collection.
Brands are centering new experiences around Gen-Z values
The pandemic has changed the way we shop. Experience visits, unlike curbside pickups or ecommerce, are a whole other ballgame that require continuous reinvention. Given that Gen-Z prioritizes history, education, sustainability, transparency and social impact, these ‘concept’ stores are a great way to beta test beyond sales for equally important factors like brand recall or long-term loyalty. Earlier this week, Burberry just launched their first immersive installation ‘Imagined Landscape’ in Jeju Island, Korea to showcase their newest outerwear collection. The play on mirrors and reflections is a nod to the world we live in today — “the blurring lines between nature and technology, the indoors and outdoors, the real and the imagined”, as quoted by the British fashion house. As part of their ongoing commitment to lead positive environmental change for a more sustainable future, they will support the continuing preservation of Jeju Island through a five-year partnership with the non-profit organisation Jeju Olle Foundation.
On the other side of the world, the ‘Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams’ exhibit is back in Brooklyn after a successful run in Paris. It’s an homage to the luxury house’s legacy featuring 200 haute couture garments, photographs, videos, sketches, accessories and more with some never-seen-before items on display. The intention of these over-the-top exhibits is to enable shoppers to buy into the brand in its entirety and to have a luxury purchase mean something more than just a transaction — all of which is quite compelling to the Gen-Z cohort.
Brands are building culturally driven stores
There’s been a mindset shift for brands around possibilities in product presentation. Dopamine displays are one thing, but the experience, in totality, is meant to create excitement. Culture is carefully being woven into every aspect. We’re talking cereal bars at cult sneaker stores, french patisseries serving as romantic runway backdrops, luxury houses merging with tech giants, iconic jewellers teaming up with skateboarding brands and bringing allyship and politics into mainstream fashion — literally anything is possible, and most importantly, welcome.
Speaking of unpredictable offerings, the #HermesFit Pop-Up in Brooklyn earlier this month was designed keeping the brand’s signature Hermes orange in mind. The French luxury house swapped regular workouts with light cardio, dance and strength conditioning classes like ‘Kickboxing With Bracelets’ and ‘Carre Yoga’, where standard equipment was replaced with scarves and bracelets to make them more fun. Unusual? Yes. Up for it? Why not? The success of these concepts have little to do with how ‘practical’ they are. After spending nearly two years in quarantines on-and off, people are looking for new experiences that aren’t a constant reminder of their typical pandemic routines.
The Fendi x Skims collaboration is another example of something short-lived yet highly anticipated. The collab might not be as unexpected given the nature of Kardashian West’s drops in the past — but there’s no arguing that the pop-up was dopamine-inducing. With a limited edition capsule, neon signage and fuschia pink lighting, it was, in every way, LIT. Is this a cue for us to manifest an Ivy Park x Fenty collab?
The Perils of “Fast Homewares”: Rethinking Consumerism for a More Sustainable Future
by Brian Walmsley, founder of ReBorn
In a world obsessed with constant consumption and rapid turnover of goods, the term “fast homewares” has become emblematic of a troubling trend in the UK and beyond. It refers to the relentless purchase of cheap, disposable home goods, often produced in the Far East from virgin materials, which inevitably break easily and are, regrettably, mostly unrepairable. This cycle of short-lived homewares has dire consequences, including detrimental effects on carbon emissions, landfill sites, and sustainability efforts. With an estimated 70 million items of homeware discarded to UK landfills each year, it’s time to confront the challenges posed by fast homewares and usher in a more responsible, sustainable approach to home goods consumption.
Homewares: An Economic Giant with an Unsustainable Cost
The homewares industry is huge, representing a significant part of the UK’s retail landscape, boasting sales worth approximately £26 billion annually. Major retailers such as John Lewis, IKEA, Amazon, Dunelm, NEXT, eBay, and numerous others have built their empires on this lucrative sector. However, the enormous success of companies such as these also comes with a hefty environmental price tag.
The Dark Side of Fast Homewares
Fast homewares perpetuate a cycle of overconsumption and waste, primarily due to the low-quality materials used in their production. These items are designed to be cheap and disposable, encouraging consumers to replace them frequently. As a result, valuable resources are squandered and an alarming amount of waste is generated, much of which ends up in landfills.
Landfills in the UK are inundated with discarded homewares that are not biodegradable. The degradation process of these items is slow, releasing harmful chemicals into the soil and groundwater, further harming the environment.
The production and transportation of fast homewares also contributes significantly to carbon emissions, particularly when manufactured overseas and shipped to the UK. This extensive supply chain emits greenhouse gases at various stages, exacerbating climate change.
The Road to Redemption: A Sustainable Homewares Industry
The solution to the fast homewares crisis lies in reimagining the industry’s fundamental principles. Instead of prioritizing low cost and disposability, we should shift our focus to quality, durability, and sustainability. Embracing the principles of the circular economy, which emphasize repairability and recyclability at the end of an item’s life cycle, is essential. This approach aligns with the concept of “cradle to cradle,” where products are designed to be regenerated or repurposed, minimizing waste.
Producers and retailers should consider ‘Quality over Quantity’ focusing on areas such as:
Durable Goods: Manufacturers should produce homewares built to last. Investing in high-quality materials and craftsmanship will reduce the need for frequent replacements, ultimately benefiting consumers and the environment.
Repairability: Homeware products should be designed with ease of repair in mind. Providing repair services and spare parts ensures that items can be fixed rather than replaced, extending their lifespan.
Recycled Materials: Utilizing recycled materials in the production of homewares significantly reduces the demand for virgin resources, lowering the industry’s environmental footprint.
Closed-Loop Systems: Creating closed-loop systems for homeware materials, where products can be recycled and remanufactured indefinitely, aligns with the circular economy’s goals.
Local Supply Chains: A local supply chain enhances transparency and traceability, allowing consumers to make informed choices about the products they buy.Moreover, producing and sourcing homewares locally drastically reduces the carbon emissions associated with long-distance shipping, benefiting both the environment and the local economy.
ReBorn Homewares: Pioneering a Sustainable Revolution
It is these challenges and opportunities that led to the creation and launch of ReBorn® homewares. This innovative company is committed to redefining the way we think about homewares, with a focus on style and sustainability.
The ReBorn range is all made in the UK from recycled materials and are circular by design. This means that all items can be repaired or “ReBorn again” in future. The Wiltshire based team prioritizes quality over quantity, ensuring that its products stand the test of time. Their items are designed to be both aesthetically pleasing and durable.
Moreover, by sourcing all materials and opting to manufacture locally, this significantly reduces the environmental impact associated with long-distance transportation.
Join the Sustainable Homewares Movement
To address the urgent issues posed by fast homewares, we all play a role in reimagining the industry. Consumers can make a difference by choosing quality over quantity, opting for repairable and sustainable homewares, and supporting companies that prioritize responsible production methods.
Retailers, too, have a crucial part to play by reevaluating their sourcing and production practices. They can collaborate with manufacturers like ReBorn to offer sustainable, locally sourced products to their customers.
The homewares industry’s transformation into a more sustainable and environmentally conscious sector is not only possible but imperative. By embracing durable, repairable, and locally sourced goods, we can significantly reduce our carbon footprint, minimize waste, and pave the way for a more responsible and sustainable future.
Let us all be part of this journey towards a sustainable homewares industry that benefits us, our planet, and generations to come. The time for change is now.
The Benefits of All Inclusive Packages for Corporate Travel
Source: Finance Derivative
Corporate travel is essential for most businesses. It’s great for forming partnerships with local and international companies, meeting clients or business partners in person, and attending conferences and networking events. Over 12% of employees report traveling for business at least once as of March 2023, while 17% have traveled 2-3 times.
Despite this, planning and attending corporate trips can be tiresome. There are many things you to consider while organizing them, such as booking flights and accommodations and making an itinerary.
This is why you should consider booking an all inclusive holiday package for corporate travel. To convince you, here are some of the benefits it offers:
It’s more convenient
If employees are the ones drawing up corporate travel plans to attend work events, think of it as an additional stressor for them in the workplace. After all, it’s something they’re doing outside their regular workload—and that can affect their performance and productivity, preventing them from giving their best.
That’s where all inclusive holidays come in to provide the ultimate convenience for corporate travelers. It can streamline lengthy planning processes by covering everything: flights, hotel, luggage, transfers, and meals. From here, all you or your employees need to do is show up at the airport on time. You’ll find that your accommodations provide everything you need, so everyone can focus on the corporate trip agenda without having to leave the premises. As an added bonus, this makes it easier to monitor all employees and attend work events on time.
It encourages free time
While corporate travel is essentially for work, it wouldn’t hurt to allow employees to enjoy a relaxing time after completing events or tasks. After all, combining a business trip and a short company vacation won’t sound too bad. An all inclusive package makes this possible since it usually includes entertainment and activities offered at your accommodation of choice.
Moreover, it addresses the needs of the evolution of business travel accommodation. Today’s workers are more inclined to join corporate trips when it can be more of a “workcation,” too. Since all inclusive packages cover relaxing travel activities, like spa services, employees can effortlessly enjoy their free time—and come back refreshed and recharged for another round of work.
It simplifies budgeting
Arranging finances and reimbursements for corporate travel can be a hassle. It can be time-consuming to record individual expenses for things like food, entertainment, and other amenities, for example. Booking an all inclusive package can eliminate this problem. You’ll pay for the whole trip at once, including flights, transfers, accommodations, and activities. Upon arrival, you can then freely enjoy what the package has to offer without worrying about additional costs—so there’ll be fewer transactions to include in an expense report. It’ll ultimately be easier to see if the trip stays within budget, as you’ll immediately know how much everything costs.
This can even help employees decide where to spend vacation bonuses. Over 20% of employees usually don’t know how to spend their holiday allowance—but since everything on an all inclusive trip will be paid for and computed beforehand, they’ll have opportunities to decide if they want to spend on additional things the package doesn’t offer. For example, they can take a walking tour of the city around your accommodations. That way, they can make the most out of their bonuses.
It can keep outside partners entertained
Aside from your employees, business partners and clients are often involved in corporate travel. Keeping them entertained while there’s no work to be discussed is essential in making them feel comfortable and welcome during the trip.
Luckily, you can include them in your all inclusive holiday package. That way, you don’t need to worry about how they’ll travel or where they’ll stay either—and they’ll also be able to partake in your hotel or resort’s amenities. Taking this step can leave a good impression on your guests: showing how you care about their wellbeing outside the schedule you have planned is great for building rapport and strengthening opportunities for current and future business partnerships.
All inclusive packages make corporate travel more convenient, relaxing, and entertaining for everyone involved. If the above benefits appeal to you, try booking one for your next business trip!
School’s (nearly) out and it could wreak havoc on our children’s eyes thanks to digital eye strain
The UK summer holidays are nearly here, leaving more than 9 million kids with nothing to do. Working parents across the country may need to entertain their kids at home, granting them the freedom to indulge in excessive TV watching, playing video games, and spending far more time than necessary on tablets. A lot of entertainment is based on screens nowadays and, with the cost-of-living crisis taking its toll, it is a cheap boredom buster option for many families.
But too much screen time comes with a different price. Excessive screen time could cause children to develop computer vision syndrome, also known as digital eye strain. The symptoms for which include headaches, dry eyes and blurry vision.
Nimmi Mistry, professional services optician at Vision Direct, explains what computer vision syndrome is and provides some tips on how to avoid it.
What is computer vision syndrome (digital eye strain)?
Computer vision syndrome (CVS), also known as digital eye strain or digital visual syndrome (DVS), is a term given to a set of symptoms that can arise from using digital devices for a long time. Looking at a screen that emits intense light while having to focus and defocus at different distances requires an accommodative effort for many hours at a time. This, in addition to glare from screens, can be harmful to kids’ eye health.
Just for adults, spending more than three hours a day looking at a phone, computer or tablet is enough time to negatively impact eye health.
In the UK, a child spends 6.3 hours in front of screens – probably even more during the holidays. Children are particularly susceptible to CVS due to their developing visual systems and often lack awareness about their screen usage habits.
That excessive amount of screen time can result in potentially serious eye health problems.
What are the symptoms of computer vision syndrome?
Eye fatigue: Due to the prolonged accommodative effort demanded of our eyes without sufficient breaks, this can lead to eye fatigue which presents as blurred vision and tired eyes.
Dry eye: Dry eye is one of the most common symptoms of CVS. Recent studies have shown that when we use a screen we tend to blink less, which means your eyes get less lubrication, end up with eye dryness and leave them feeling sore and tired.
Headache: The intense light and the pressure to which our eyes are subjected continuously can cause more headaches which can make focusing or going about daily tasks a little more difficult.
Photophobia: CVS can also be responsible for the development of hypersensitivity to light, both natural and artificial – not something you want as we head into the longer days of summer.
It’s also important to remember that screens emit blue light which interrupts and reduces the production of melatonin, the sleep hormone. Extended screen exposure can therefore cause disruptions to sleeping patterns and quality. Lack of sleep is something that can also negatively impact eye health.
Tips to avoid or treat digital eye strain in children
The summer break is long, we know. And the struggle to pry children away from screens when they spend their time at home seems like a lost battle even before it begins. However, there are small habits you can adopt to minimize the impact on your child’s eyes and prevent digital strain.
1. Appropriate distance from screens: When it comes to eye health ergonomics plays a key role. The screen or monitor should be at least between 50 and 65 cm away from your child. It should also be more or less at eye level to avoid neck problems. The monitor and keyboard should be positioned in a straight line.
2. Screen with good resolution: Watching a screen that has a good resolution and is of good quality is necessary to avoid eye strain. When it comes to the actual display on the monitor, having a high-resolution panel (a minimum of 1080p, if not 4K), along with strong RGB colour accuracy settings, and a non-LED panel is what is recommended as better for your eyes.
3. Follow the 20-20-20 rule: To combat and prevent the symptoms of digital eye strain your child should be reminded to incorporate the 20-20-20 rule into daily routine. This involves looking away from the screen every 20 minutes to look for 20 seconds at a fixed point 20 feet away. This exercise will relieve the stress on your eyes and force the habit of taking screen breaks. Why not make it a game and have funny pictures up on the wall to give them a fixed point to look at.
4. Using eye drops: If your child is already experiencing discomfort in their eyes as a result of digital eye strain, then having artificial tears on hand will allow your child to manage the discomfort of dry eyes. However, be aware that not all children will be accepting of having drops administered. Some safe options for kids‘ eye drops include artificial tears, antihistamines, low-dose atropine drops, and dilating eye drops
5. Conscious blinking: When we are concentrating or staring at screens, we often forget to blink without even realising. Forcing your child to blink is a handy exercise to alleviate dryness and eye strain.
6. Take your child to an ophthalmologist. In more severe cases in which the symptoms persist in a severe and prolonged manner, you should make an appointment with a specialist.
7. Have an eye examination. If your child spends a lot of time in front of screens and you see that they are squinting or rubbing their eyes, it’s vital to have their eyes tested.
8. Screen detox. We know that it is easier to keep your child happy during the summer break by giving them their screen time but keeping them busy in other ways is much more important.
Ensure you break up screen time by encouraging children to engage in other activities such as drawing, building, playing outside and so on.
In this digital world where electronic devices play an important role in our lives, it’s easy to forget to pay attention to the health of our and our kids’ eyes.
Digital detox or limits may come with a bit of protesting, but their eyes will be grateful.