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Pop-up stores as we know them are relatively new, having sprung up in early 2000s California. But despite their relative newness, pop-ups have taken the retail world by storm, with a host of businesses in fashion and style, beauty, gastronomy, and even more partaking in it.
From major corporations to lesser-known indie fashion brands, the pop-up store is a great marketing method that introduces new things in-house to a brand-new audience, while also giving them a more creative and exclusive experience that can’t always be found in a permanent brick-and-mortar store.
With brand innovators looking to give customers in every city throughout the UK new ways to experience their fashion, there are more than a handful of pop-up stores that have been and will continue to launch, and, as the name entails, pop up all over the place, especially within central London and that won’t be around for very long. But when it comes to fashion and style, we’ve got you covered.
We’ve narrowed down the long list of London fashion pop-ups down to the five most unique pop-up experiences that are absolutely worth your visit before this summer ends, so if you’re looking for the next cool location to hang out with friends or get your hands on limited clothing, keep scrolling to see what you should spend your money on and where your next stop in London should be.
If you’re wondering why the pop-up is such a popular thing among customers and retailers alike in London, all over the UK, and the rest of the globe, there are quite a few simple answers.
These temporary stores serve several purposes, the first for brands being to scope out a market and see whether it’s a viable area for them. Many homegrown and independent businesses like those belonging to local chefs selling their speciality food or artisans selling handmade crafts can go to a busy spot and set up an area in which they can sell their products, reaping short-term benefits and avoiding having to risk permanent investments that could cost them a huge sum.
In the fashion realm, larger corporations utilise the pop-up model for pretty much the same reason but can do it on a much larger scale and provide customers with much more immersive experiences that are a lot more unique. These fashion pop-ups can also bring the brand to far-off areas where they aren’t located and can give people a chance to physically shop somewhere they’ve only seen on a site.
Whether it’s by independent businesses or world-renowned fashion brands, pop-ups are a fantastic way to connect with a wider audience in all sorts of areas and open up a lot of room for creativity and bold ideas that wouldn’t be seen in the main store. Every event is never the same as another, with some acting as a launch for new products and celebrating with a party filled with table after table of food, drink, music, and a host of other fun stuff.
While e-commerce in fashion is hugely popular today, the physical pop-up is thriving and bringing back a sense of fun and exclusivity to physical shopping. People love the idea of an exclusive and intimate boutique experience, and the fact that a pop-up shop is only around for a limited time makes it even more enticing to check it out and buy something for themselves.
Pop-ups usually also double as art events, with almost every concept pop-up in high street areas often turning their physical retail space into more of a gallery that gives customers a more intimate look at their creativity.
Created by London-based artist Xander Ghost, A Better Feeling made its first launch in 2018 and has since garnered a cult following around the world, being worn by the likes of Billie Eilish, Stevie Wonder, Megan Thee Stallion, and other A-list celebrities.
The brand is known for its cutting-edge and ultra-modern style of eyewear designs but had so far only been accessible through their online website. Luckily for everyone in London, the brand made its retail debut in Selfridges via an installation entitled When Space Sits Still, so you can try on a pair for yourself and wear it throughout the summer and onward.
Designed in collaboration with conceptual artist Richard Hughes and having its launch earlier in the year, When Space Sits Still is a pop-up installation that features large sculpted rocks made out of recycled polystyrene and natural resins and features the brand’s merchandise, from eyewear to brand-new candles, embedded into them.
The installation, inspired by and incorporating elements related to our relationship with nature, science, and experimentation, is a futuristic visual representation of everything the brand stands for and heightens customers’ in-house experience and appreciation of the brand’s selection, making excellent use of its space within the massive department store.
You can access the brand’s pop-up in Selfridges London throughout the summer until June 21st, 2021. Learn more about it on Selfridges’ website.
Zero-Living is another young brand established in 2018 that is making waves throughout the UK. The brand was started by Natalie Denyer, who aimed to create something that supported sustainability in fashion after working in the industry for years prior and being disillusioned by its negative impact on the environment.
Since it debuted, Zero-Living now houses over 50 UK and London-based sustainable and ethical brands that store plastic-free, vegan, cruelty-free, FSC certified, handmade, Fair-Trade, organic and repurposed products that range from accessories, fashion and style, homewear, beauty, furniture, house decor, and more.
The brand’s first concept store is located in Mayfair, and the eco-friendly store showcases everything the brand is about not just through its display, but also through the ambience they create via the exterior and interior designs alone.
The home-y pop-up boutique is filled with collection after collection of different sustainable pieces by a variety of brands, so it’s a great place to visit if you’re someone who avidly lives an eco-friendly and sustainable life that needs the fashion and home pieces to match and also if you’re someone who’s interested in becoming more sustainable and need a place to help them start.
Don’t miss Zero-Living’s pop-up space in Mayfair, London while it’s still in the city until August 2021. Learn more about it on their website.
UK luxury fashion brand Stella McCartney celebrated the reopening of its flagship store on Old Bond Street, London earlier in the year and is including the community in the summer-long party by hosting a series of pop-up events throughout the summer months.
The brand’s London store is housing several local businesses in the city, with each week dedicated to one local store that features items within the beauty, food, and art spaces.
The “Stellabration” pop-up in London is jam-packed not just with local stores like Richmond-based floral studio Flwr, Notting Hill’s Farmacy, Fairtrade and Hackney Coffee Roasters Climpson and Sons, among others, but is also providing beauty treatments by Dr. Barbara Sturm and Face Gym, product customisation from the new Stella McCartney summer 2021 collection, and is playing exclusive music playlists curated by musicians like Sean Lennon, Nenah Cherry, and Grimes.
The pop-ups also feature an in-house recycled neon art installation as a reminder of the brand’s dedication to sustainability.
This pop-up initiative is the start of an international rollout that hopes to do the same for Stella McCartney stores around the globe. The pop-up series is still ongoing at the Old Bond Street London flagship shop, so visit this summer while you can. Learn more about it on their website.
Located on 3 Carnaby Street in London, the Museum of Youth Culture is a must-visit for both UK history buffs and fashion enthusiasts alike. The museum is an archive of UK youth subcultures throughout the years, with the world’s most comprehensive collection of youth content in one space.
Celebrating the British youth of the past 100 years, the museum created its own pop-up gallery and shop in the heart of London earlier this year, displaying stories submitted by people all over the UK. With exhibitions, installations, books, and a whole load of things to see, this is definitely a pop-up worth your time and attention.
Don’t miss out on the nostalgic experience and check them out while they’re still on Carnaby Street. Learn more about the pop-up and the museum itself on their website.
5 Carlos Place can also be found in Mayfair, London and is the location of UK e-commerce fashion site MatchesFashion’s unique shopping space that every style and fashion lover needs to experience and shop at this summer. In a world where online shopping reigns and brick-and-mortar is struggling to keep up, 5 Carlos Place aims to connect the two to give UK shoppers a store that features experiential spaces like no other.
Inspired by its townhouse setting, the brand created a concept store like no other that doesn’t even feel like a store. With its key elements being its home-y decor throughout every floor and room of the house, shoppers are provided with an intimate feeling of being at a friend’s house rather than being at a shop.
Every floor of the boutique is dedicated to a different experience, with the first floor exclusively acting as a pop-up store, with an ever-changing array of different brands and designers that keeps people coming back and ready to shop. The upper floors also function as an event space, private shopping space, and film space respectively, giving us an absolutely exciting roster of things to look forward to all the time.
If you want to learn more about 5 Carlos Place London, check out the page on the website.
From site to store, many fashion pop-ups of every category are giving us innovative new ways to experience and appreciate their products and message. Pop-ups in London are a fantastic way to bring back the intimate experience and excitement of retail shopping while also giving us a new way to view shopping altogether.
Whether you’re a London local or someone just visiting, we definitely think these particular places must land on your destination bucket list for the summer.