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Food and Fashion: The New Marriage for Shopping Centres

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Food and fashion is the new marriage. You might say it was fate given that food, like fashion, is at the heart of culture and lifestyle, inspiring community, sharing, creativity and self-expression.

Upscale brands ignited the trend several years ago. Burberry, Prada, Gucci, Armani, Lauren, Dior and others created branded culinary catwalks within which to showcase their remarkable taste. Last fall, Chanel converted stadium seating at the Grande Palais to a brasserie themed runway.

Luxury might be leading the food and fashion marriage, but bloggers are on their heels. The Spicy Stiletto, Taste the Style and Maison Des Reveries, among others, blend food and fashion with panache. Even leading fashion magazines like Vogue have a dedicated food section on their site.

Designers and models are also leveraging the combined power of food and fashion. Rachel Comey recently presented her spring/summer collection to a small group of friends, editors, artists, and celebrities during an intimate dinner party held at the Pioneer Works Center for Arts & Innovation instead of a traditional fashion show. Former supermodel Elettra Wiedemann is now the Executive Food Editor at Refinery29, founder and writer of Impatient Foodie, ambassador for Moet & Chandon fine champagnes, and creator of signature champagne cocktails for the Golden Globes. Swimsuit model Chrissy Teigen has a cookbook, Cravings, filled with delicious ideas including fried chicken.  Gretchen Roehrs does the most incredible illustrations that marry fashion and food in a stylish, whimsical and contemporary way.  Fulvio Bonavia’s “A Matter of Taste” photography and book is a brilliant marriage of food and fashion, as is a campaign for the Danish mall, Waterfront Shopping.

Need more evidence? Hip retailers targeting Millennials are bringing food and fashion together in new ways. Urban Outfitters is rolling out cool restaurants with superstar chefs in select stores; Club Monaco recently opened a pop-up in Copenhagen’s Noma—one of the best restaurants in the world. The store’s curated collection, a first of its kind on display at the restaurant, was featured in a 12 page GQ slideshow.

What does all this mean for shopping centres—especially those acquiring hip new restaurants, fresh, vibrant marketplaces, or boutique cafes when it comes to positioning?

Should they reposition as a lifestyle brand—inspiring, guiding and motivating shoppers while placing their products within a desired way of life? For most shopping centres, becoming a true lifestyle brand is a leap in terms of credibility and limiting in terms of appeal. After all, the best and most desirable lifestyle brands have a singular image, a firm philosophy, a specific set of values and a very distinct style aimed at a fairly narrow niche.

Alternatively, should malls be singular in focus and emphasize the fashion retail mix: the number one draw for most shoppers?

Or should shopping centres strategically weave fashion and food together in ways that elevate a fashion positioning, making it more experiential and engaging, helping to attract more shoppers, more often, and increase dwell time–the holy grail of increasing average cheque?

With the right food offering, opportunity abounds with the latter option. Imagine leading designers and style insiders talking about food and recipes in communications, or holding a marquee fashion event with a culinary twist that includes chef/designer food pairings inspired by fashion trends, or securing exclusive sponsorships with leading food writers, chefs and bloggers and bringing these relationships to life online and in the centre? Or what about integrating retailers and cache brands into the dining experience?  The ideas are limitless.

Wondering where to start? Give us a shout. The course of true love never did run smooth, and we can help get you off to the right start and innovate in exciting ways when it comes to integrating food and fashion in your shopping centre marketing.

Photo: http://bit.ly/2en617U

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