The 6 coolest things about Edit Collection, Afterpay’s first retail store
A new retail concept store has come to Sydney, and it has some serious tech.
Afterpay has partnered with the Australian Fashion Council and Vicinity Centres to bring an exciting new retail concept store to Sydney's Chatswood Chase. The store is like a rotating boutique, featuring some of Australia's top emerging online brands for an 8-week period each. The store launched this week at a glitzy breakfast affair, complete with shopping, influencers and some amazing clothes.
Let's look at the coolest parts of this new retail offering.
There's an interactive changing room mirror
One of the most innovative parts of the store is the Smart Mirror in the changing rooms. Designed by Simon Molnar (Afterpay co-founder Nick Molnar's brother), the mirror aims to bring tech enjoyed by online stores to a physical store.
Afterpay's director of in-store Kirsty Ghahramani said the use of technology in this concept store was "crucial" and the fitting rooms were the perfect place for it.
"There's no better space than the fitting room," she said.
"We've really been able to bring in technology in this space so that we can actually have those interactive mirrors within the fitting room with gesture features so that you can really be able to have a look at the different collections on the mirrors."
The Smart Mirror technology recognises when products are brought into the changing room and let customers see detailed information about them including sizes and fabric. In a future version, a 3D tool will allow customers to see the clothing being worn on the screen.
The store is smart
The mirrors aren't the only smart things in the store. Each tag is fitted with a Bluetooth chip so the brands know exactly where everything is. It also gives them insight into what the most popular clothes might be and when they need to stock up on more sizes or colours. As someone who has worked in retail, this is a huge plus.
There are benefits for the environment, too, because brands can use the data to help reduce returns and environmental waste.
According to Ghahramani, creating a blend of the physical and online was at the core of Edit Collection's design.
"I think you've only got to look at the last couple of years in retail and actually say it's been tough. And I think more than ever creating an omnichannel experience with those retail experiences within the store environment is crucial."
"I think for us, you know, part of this is the future of retail, is physical and digital, which is what we'd like to call it phisi-digital space, that we've really created."
All the featured brands are online, diverse and Australian
Speaking at the event, founding director of the Australian Fashion Council Kellie Hush said the brand selection process was focussed on a few key elements.
"I think we were looking really for contemporary Australian fashion brands that are really very much focused on the future and what a future fashion brand looks like. So digital-first. And that's why this is such a great opportunity."
Hush said they also considered the brand's sustainability plan, diversity, inclusivity and whether their designs were unique.
"We wanted them to be Australian companies – actually Australian-made – and really supporting the Australian industry. [...] they also had to be retail ready."
The full list of brands are:
- Bondi Born
- My General Store
- First Nations Fashion & Design Collective
- Esse Studios
Sustainability is at the forefront
There are a number of different aspects of the Edit Collection which show how sustainability has been prioritised. Already discussed is the Bluetooth tagging system which allows brands to access data about what is and isn't selling, letting them reduce their environmental waste and returns.
The Edit Collection store also uses fully recyclable hangers created from upcycled marine plastics, ocean-bound plastics and post-consumer plastics provided by Arch & Hook.
The brands themselves were also chosen for their focus on sustainable fashion.
The brands get holistic support from all 3 partners
Afterpay, the Australian Fashion Council and Vicinity Centres will all provide support to the featured brands that extend way beyond the retail offering. Brands will enjoy help with marketing, PR, strategy, retail analytics, retail industry connections and more.
Head of marketing, brand and experience at Vicinity Centres Corrine Barchanowicz said providing support was important as the online retailers learn to establish a presence in a physical store.
"We're also working with each of the brands with an intensive marketing campaign, knowing that a lot of them already have an online presence and a very big digital and social following of their own. We're just looking at how we can expand on that to really like translate that into the digital experience."
This might be just the beginning...
While nothing was confirmed, all 3 partners behind the Edit Collection seemed optimistic about the future of the concept store and the possibility of extension.
"First and foremost, it is a bit of a test and learn in the sense we want to ensure that we've got the right foundation set as well," said Ghahramani.
"But thinking of the future, I mean, I think all of us are very much in that space. And so for us, if we could roll that out further then that's absolutely a consideration."
Barchanowicz agreed. "I think the ambition would absolutely be that we're able to add to this and keep growing it," she said. "We'll see how we go."