This month US department store, Nordstrom’s, unveil a new part of their plan with the launch of ‘Space’. A lot of what we’re been hearing from Nordstrom of late – acquisition of Bonobos, Trunk Club and the integration of Haute Look with their Rack concept – has been focused acquiring a customer that doesn’t yet shop Nordstrom….or at least that’s what it looks like.

‘Space’ is the brain child of recent hire Olivia Kim. Kim’s title is officially ‘Director of Creative Projects’. She joined the 100 year old brand from the uber hip Opening Ceremony. Since joining the store she’s helped set up their Pop-In@Nordstrom program – a group of partnership pop up shops in the store with the likes of Liberty of London, Merci Paris or Warby Parker etc.

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On August 20th, she’s opening a new space called (appropriately) ‘Space’. It’s a shop in shop that’s almost an incubation lab for emerging designers.The concept will open in 3 stores – Chicago, San Francisco and Seattle. The list of designers showcasing in the space is impressive and shows links back to her Opening Ceremony days. For example, there will be Finalists in the LVMH prize Faustine Steinmetz and Vetements; Winners of the LVMH prize Marques’Almeida, Simone Rocha, Noir Kei Ninomiya (owned by Comme des Garcons) etc. It’s pretty impressive…and my mind wonders why LVMH didn’t set up their own retail concept to bring together the winners and finalists of their prize.

From L-R: Faustian Steinmetz and Vetement; Marques’Almeida

From L-R: Faustian Steinmetz and Vetement; Marques’Almeida

Finally, in keeping with the new generation of retail it will be pulled together to be a lifestyle offering with clothes, jewellery and accessories all mixed together. Really interesting to note is that although Space sounds innovate (at least for a department store), it required a whole bunch of process changes (and I’m sure cultural changes) from the business – like allowing prepayments, changing invoicing…all the things that need to change when you have to take your corporate hat off and put your boutique one on.

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Author Pippa Kulmar

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