What to Watch: Fashion and Philosophy — Selfridges Promotes the Power of Positive Thinking – Yahoo Life


In a month with little to celebrate and much to bemoan, including high inflation, rising interest rates and the most punishing public sector strikes for 30 years, Selfridges is defying gravity and taking a philosophical approach to the new year.

Amid all the domestic turmoil, Selfridges is shifting up a gear, accelerating its green agenda and its commitment to experiential retail. It’s also promising a year of positive intentions, color therapy and a call to action on the environmental front.

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And sales? With all the good vibrations buzzing through the stores, sales should follow naturally.

Selfridges’ new year is set to begin on Monday with the unveiling of windows in London, Manchester and Birmingham, England. They’ll be filled with a host of colorful, original illustrations around this year’s theme, Selfridges Celebrates.

An illustration by Brindha Kumar of Selfridges’ wedding suite, part of a series of window displays to be revealed on Monday.

An illustration by Brindha Kumar of Selfridges’ wedding suite, part of a series of window displays to be revealed on Monday.

Selfridges said it wants to cater to celebrations of all kinds and “ensure that life’s little wins feel special and exciting. It’s a response to present times, and represents a point of view on how we want to see the next 12 months play out.”

As part of that effort the store asked illustrators including Angela Kirkwood, Paulina Almira, Brindha Kumar and Lena Yokoyama to create two-dimensional works that will be displayed in the windows and across the stores throughout the year.

Selfridges wants the old-school, 2D illustrations to be a point of contrast in “a world that celebrates the hyper-connected and the multisensory,” and be a celebration of “form and color.”

Boosting morale isn’t the store’s only aim this year. Selfridges is also inviting its customers to act and engage with its sustainability efforts.

Andrew Keith, managing director of Selfridges, said the store is “committed to finding solutions through a continued imaginative approach to retail innovation. The scale of our ambitions cannot be underestimated, but we are inspired by what lies ahead and how we bring this to life for our customers.”

As reported last September, Selfridges accelerated its net-zero carbon-emissions goal, moving its deadline up to 2040 from 2050 as a promise to the Climate Pledge, a cross-sector group of companies committed to reaching net zero 10 years ahead of the Paris Agreement.

As part of that commitment, the retailer also set a new target of ensuring that at least 45 percent of its transactions (excluding food, restaurants and homeware) come from recycled products or circular services such as resale, rental, refill or repair.

It has also established “Reselfridges,” a portfolio of circular initiatives it hopes will eventually become the backbone of the business.

As part of that commitment to the circular economy, the store plans to launch a bag subscription service this year and expand its existing rentals for childrenswear. Sizes now range from six months to 16 years, and clothing that includes occasionwear and streetwear, with skiwear available toward the end of 2023.

An illustration by Angela Kirkwood of Selfridges Food Hall, part of a window display of 2D artworks at the store.

An illustration by Angela Kirkwood of Selfridges Food Hall, part of a window display of 2D artworks at the store.

For Christmas 2022, Reselfridges watches and jewelry moved from an online-only service to the London floor, landing at The Corner Shop on Oxford Street. The average selling price was 2,500 pounds, with Omega Seamasters among the bestsellers.

This year, Selfridges is also expanding its partnership with the luxury vintage clothing store OOTO London, which will be highlighting different marquee designers over the next 12 months.

Right now it is showing and selling “museum-grade” pieces designed by Gianni and Donatella Versace from 1987 through to 2003. From mid-January, the focus will shift to Miuccia Prada’s early collections for the brand, while in March the spotlight will swing to Tom Ford at Gucci.

To coincide with The Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute exhibition “Karl Lagerfeld: A Line of Beauty,” Selfridges and OOTO London will present an edit of the late designer’s oeuvre across many decades and fashion houses.

Selfridges is also taking on new labels that have embedded green values into their collections.

These include Starlit, a Los Angeles-based label known for its sustainable fabrics, and Conner Ives, who has made a name repurposing piano shawls into halterneck tops or old T-shirts into day dresses.

It will also stock Maria McManus, a brand that urges customers to buy less, and more responsibly — an oft-repeated phrase of the late Vivienne Westwood.

Selfridges’ green campaign began under Weston family ownership, and new owners Central Group and Signa Holding, which purchased Selfridges last year for a reported 4 billion pounds, are 100 percent behind the strategy.

As reported last September, the partners’ plan is to make key tweaks to the business, but not to the overall strategy, operations or personality of the store, which has become synonymous with British luxury, creativity and green values.

Selfridges may be the biggest group in the partners’ joint portfolio, which includes 22 luxury department stores such as KaDeWe in Germany, and Globus in Switzerland, but the plan is to treat it like the rest of the properties — and the pride of each city where the stores are located.

“We have iconic destinations in every city where we operate, and in order to grow, we need to offer new reasons for people to visit us and new experiences in-store. Reinventing retail is our vision for the future, not only for Selfridges, but for all our stores,” said Stefano Della Valle, Selfridges’ new chief executive officer and head of Central and Signa’s luxury department store group in Europe.

An illlustration by Brindha Kumar of The Psychic Sisters space at Selfridges, part of a display of original 2D artwork.

An illlustration by Brindha Kumar of The Psychic Sisters space at Selfridges, part of a display of original 2D artwork.

Della Valle and Ernst-Dieter Berninghaus, co-chairman of Selfridges Group and chairman of the executive board of Signa, said initial investments at Selfridges will focus initially on the food and beauty halls and the omnichannel offer.

The plan is to have a food market in addition to a series of restaurants. While Selfridges already has a food market and dining options, these are not destinations for shoppers. By contrast, the food hall at KaDeWe Berlin takes up a whole floor and houses 27 restaurants.

The new owners are also planning to refurbish the Old Selfridges Hotel, next to the Oxford Street store in London. The space hasn’t functioned as a hotel for years, although it’s been used for fashion shows and other events.

The two partners said they want the new hotel space to enhance the surrounding neighborhood on Oxford Street, and serve the community for the next 20 to 30 years. Central and Signa are long-term thinkers and always see their stores and properties as part of the fabric of a city.

Berninghaus, who described the purchase of Selfridges as a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” said there are many potential plans under discussion.

“We don’t think in terms of a single hotel concept or a single restaurant concept but rather a combined concept that brings tourists and locals together. We think in terms of a destination that makes the whole neighborhood more attractive,” he said.

The new owners are bullish about their prospects in the U.K., and in London, despite the country’s macroeconomic challenges and the decline in international tourism post-Brexit and post-COVID-19.

Berninghaus said as they were negotiating the purchase of Selfridges, they considered the challenges that Brexit created for trade with Europe. They also took into account the difficult economic situation that countries are facing following COVID-19, the war in Ukraine and soaring inflation.

“London has been one of the most attractive cities in the world for centuries and it will remain so. Oxford Street is one of the most exciting locations in the world and the tourists will come back,” Berninghaus said. “We are here for the long term and we are super optimistic for this market in the long term.”

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