Real world: Reunion

31 Mar 2021

This week: Can you smell it? That’s the sweet scent of freedom in the air.

Real world: Reunion


Reopening is real. Time to spruce up. People sure are behaving like they’re getting ready to see, and be seen.

• British salons will be back in 10 days. Beauty bookings platform Treatwell saw a 432% jump in anticipation of this wonderful occasion. Worldwide, the beauty industry is projected to beat 2019 sales levels this year, but forget the Lipstick Index. We’re talkin’ serums, moisturisers, and that “no-makeup, makeup” look.

• A pandemic rite-of-passage we’d rather leave behind? DIY haircuts. “No one really wants to run around with a raggedy head of hair,” said Neil Saunders, MD at GlobalData Retail. The Hair Bros – a salon launching April 12th in London with yours truly – sold out slots in a matter of hours: booking fifty days worth of back-to-back cuts in two.

• Google, as always, knows everything. Searches for high-heeled shoes are at their highest ever since last February. Fashion brands are also seeing a spike in sales of dresses, swimsuits, and even tuxedos. “It was like a switch went off and I realized, oh my goodness, I have to go back into the world,” a (recently-vaccinated) shopper told The Washington Post.

Remember street style? Dunno ‘bout you, but we crave some good old-fashioned people watching. “The SoHo streets roared on a Saturday night. Joggers and Allbirds were no longer in sight. Long-past solitude and endless fright, fashion returned in all of its might,” rhymed Web Smith in 2PM.


There’s much reason for hope. But we’re not exactly out of the woods yet. Mood: cautious optimism.

• Although UK retail sales returned to growth last month, plenty of indies still need help to make it past an insane year. “The most powerful way governments talk is where they spend their money,” public procurement expert Paola Santana told Bloomberg Businessweek. We couldn’t agree more – which is why we’re calling on the UK Government to introduce a #ShopOutToHelpOut scheme to support (truly) small businesses and incentivise people to spend locally. Extra, extra, read all about it! (In The Telegraph, The Guardian, and The Times).

• Clothing shops are also lobbying to clear up the ambiguity around reopening their changing rooms, calling it imperative to a successful return. “For independent retailers, changing rooms are often where the sale is closed. It is here that the personal service and advice occurs,” said Andrew Goodacre, CE of the British Independent Retailers Association.

• ‘Test and Trace Returns to Restaurants and Pubs – Maybe it will Test and Trace This Time,’ ran a sassy headline in Eater. Jokes aside, restaurants are our lifeblood – and they’re also walking a tightrope. 38% of hospitality operators have access to outdoor space, but that leaves the 62% who don’t at the mercy of infection rates. (Seriously guys, just try not to make out with everyone you see).

“Have fun,” Boris Johnson advised the British public.

Oh we will, BJ, we will.

Words by Amy Tai, creative consultant and native New Yorker now based in London.