Wednesday, 6 July 2011

The Pop-Up Phenomenon

Comme Des Garcons guerilla store
Pop-up stores are the new trend sweeping the fashion industry. Comme des Garcons are credited with starting the concept of pop-up stores with their "guerilla stores" in 2004. Each guerilla store stays open for one year and the advertising is kept simple. The shop's location is spread by word of mouth or strategically placed posters. This helps build hype whilst maintaining brand exclusivity. 

Pop-up stores are retail shops which temporarily occupy a space. These days pop-up stores tend to be around for a couple of months, generally in areas of high foot traffic. This enables labels and storeholders who may not be located in a busy area, to gain exposure for their label or shop without being liable for long-term rental fees.

Many major retailers have used pop-up stores to spread their brand, including GAP and H&M. High-end labels such as Louis Vuitton, YSL and Stella McCartney have also used pop-up stores to introduce their brands to new audiences. Pop-up collaborations have also been popular, with GAP and Stella McCartney pairing up, Louis Vuitton and Comme Des Garcons joining forces, and Hermès and Liberty of London combining, just to name a few. Even eBay jumped on board the pop-up bandwagon, opening a pop-up store in 2009 in New York where internet kiosks and handheld tablets were made available to customers to shop the entire eBay Marketplace.

Pop-up stores offer a lot of benefits. They allow the renter to take risks with interior and stock selection of their products, without the costs associated with setting up a permanent store. They also don't require as much polish as a permanent stores. In fact, most take advantage of basic interiors. They also give retailers and designers a chance to effectively "try before they buy" i.e. allowing them to see how popular their stock will be in a certain area before committing to a long-term lease. 

However, retailers and designers need to be cautious when setting up pop-up stores. The focus of a pop-up store is not to make sales but rather to "raise brand awareness, engagement and about making an impact by interrupting the consumer with something relevant that adds value in some form."

In tough retail times and rental costs continuing to rise, could pop-up stores be the way of the future? It maybe too soon to tell but one thing's for sure, pop-up stores are proving to be a successful, low-cost option for retailers and designers and it is likely we will continue to see more and more of them in the future.

Check out some innovative pop-up shops from around the world:
H&M Beach Pop-up store
Hermès and Liberty of London concept store
eBay concept store
Aesop concept store
Sean John pop-up store
Stella McCartney pop-up store created by London
designer Giles Miller
Ksubi pop-up store
Louis Vuitton and Comme Des Garcon collaboration concept store
Wall of shoes in the Nike concept store
Lenko concept store in Melbourne Central
YSL pop up store
Cool Hunting for GAP concept store
Information sourced from,
Images courtesy of, htttp://,,,,,,


  1. This is actually such an interesting concept that I've never before heard of! Pop up stores must be really great in terms of publicity. Thanks for sharing! xoxo, Veena <3

  2. Very cool concept! Love the idea! But never seen one so far!

  3. Thanks for taking the time to comment!

    Pop-up stores are definitely a fantastic idea, particularly given the tough retail conditions at the moment:) Hopefully more retailers and designers will make use of this fantastic idea so we can see some creative shops!

  4. This is a fantastic post! So much information. Well researched :)

  5. Thanks Thom! I definitely learnt a lot writing the article! Hope to see more pop-up shops in Melbourne:)


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