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Title: Design for experience in the fashion industry: coping strategies in the era of homogenization
Authors: PETERMANS, Ann 
Kent, Anthony
Issue Date: 2013
Source: 2nd workshop on Fashioning Management, Antwerp, Belgium, October 29, 2013 - October 30, 2013
Abstract: The aim of this paper is to focus on how the globalised fashion industry impacts on the way that strategies of clothing brands are translated into the design of their retail environments. The first research question explores the conceptualisation of retail environments by retailers, designers and planners so that they can continue to be perceived as ‘unique’ by customers. The second asks whether retailers, designers and planners can manage the trend towards homogenization in the near future. The authors articulate the development of design for experience: in the retail landscape of Western countries, experience has been extensively used as a tool for differentiation. However there is a need to translate these trends into ways that retail brands appeal in both physical and online retail environments, with a focus on co-created experiences. In the second section of the paper, the authors explain how the experience of fashion, and specifically authentic and co-created experiences, concretely manifests itself in the retail landscape, and relates to locational and spatial factors. An experiential theoretical lens is used which combines brandscaping, a critical approach to consumption, the service environment and the brand, with environmental design studies. The methodology in the paper is based on a review of literature and the discussion of relevant case studies. Three strategies are proposed which retailers and / or retail managers in collaboration with designers can use to anticipate or cope with the homogenization trend in the fashion industry via a design for experience approach. These are firstly, a multichannel strategy, which envisages a co-created and increasingly customised environment into which the physical store is integrated. Secondly, a typology of architect and designer-led stores defined by their distinctive designs, customer engagement and possibilities for customised replication. Thirdly, a strategy for re-use whereby the re-use of buildings and the re-conceptualisation of the spaces of fashion retailing address issues in authenticity. Distinctive historical buildings and historical quarters are a meaning-laden palimpsest in this respect. The research concludes with an assessment of the extent to which these three strategies are evident in fashion retailing and their implications for fashion, its distribution and location in the future.
Keywords: design for experience; retail design; differentiation; coping strategies; fashion industry
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Category: C2
Type: Conference Material
Appears in Collections:Research publications

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