LONDON, United Kingdom — Anya Hindmarch is not a designer who plays by the rules. Once again, she is ripping up the traditional fashion week playbook, hosting a consumer-facing, immersive event in lieu of a catwalk show during the London schedule.
Dubbed the “Weave Project,” the four-day event will centre around an art installation — a giant and interactive neon-blue, hand-netted tube housed in the top floor of Brewer Street Car Park in London’s Soho — created by artist collective Numen/For Use to coincide with the global relaunch of the woven Neeson bag for Spring/Summer 2019.
In addition to the installation, there will also be a themed Weave Project café and a pop-up shop stocking the Neeson collection and special edition merch, while bags can be personalised on-site by crafts people who specialise in weaving. The event will run from February 16 to 19, with tickets priced at £10 ($13.07).
For shoppers outside of the UK capital, there will also be themed pop-ups offering hand-woven personalisation services across Anya Hindmarch stores and select retail partners internationally.
This is the second public-facing event Hindmarch has hosted during fashion week. Last season, the brand took over London’s banqueting house for its “Chubby Cloud” installation, inviting guests to lounge on a giant beanbag while listening to lullabies, meditations or bedtime stories. The ticketed event attracted 3,000 guests over the two days it ran.
In a world where shoppers are investing more in experiences, luxury brands are getting more creative about how to connect with existing and potential customers. For Hindmarch, projects like these are a chance to connect with her customers by engaging them in a new, exciting and inclusive way.
“Everyone is wrestling with the fashion week system,” she told BoF, adding that in a digital world, fashion week is more exposed online than ever before, yet remains a closed and exclusive affair. “Why not include your customer? You don’t ever want to make your customer feel excluded,” she said.
And, from a business perspective, it makes more sense for the brand to do marketing around a product when it drops, rather than six months before, Hindmarch added, declining to comment on how much the brand had invested into the project.
“[The internet] gives the customer much more power, and we must respond to that,” she added.“Intuitively we need to be more open and respond to how people are behaving.”