What’s next? 5 trends in retail and design

12 Sep 2017

When it comes to design, every detail matters - from the product design to store execution. And who better to speak to then the brains behind Visibility, a design agency who has worked with the likes of Away, Everlane and Outdoor Voices just to name a few. The duo, who was also recently selected in Forbes 30 Under 30, shares their thoughts on the the top trends in retail and design.

Joey Guerra and Sina Sohrab
Joey Guerra and Sina Sohrab

Trend #1: The “Hang-Out” spot

It's becoming more and more prevalent to have a place for people to sit down, relax, and chat. This makes the space feel more like a café and less like a store. Last year Everlane asked for a locker-room vibe, where the changing rooms had benches in the middle to let customers sit at and turn the space into a social environment, where the dressing room experience is fun for once. It also acts as convenient place for your tired friend who is uninterested in shopping anymore to relax and take a breather.

Everlane pop-up
Everlane fitting room

Trend #2: F&B tie-ins

Partnering with a food/beverage brand and having a café component is something we're noticing as well. Companies like Blue Bottle are interested in partnering with emerging brands to create dynamic experiences like at Everlane's shoe park last year. We've talked to brands about having a juice bar in the back of stores, or you'll notice stores like ACNE are always eager to hand out a nice glass bottle of water. It makes a lot of sense to get a sponsor from your local community to find the right drink or snack for your brand. This applies to events as well; it's important to find the right cocktail fit for your store as well as finding the right brand to partner with. At our studio holiday party we worked with a Soto Sake, which dovetailed nicely with our own design language.

Trend #3: Instagrammable moments

Instagram moments are obviously a huge trend, as it allows brands to showcase something that can be photographed and broadcasted online. What I find more interesting, however, is to create entirely immersive moments, something like the escalators at the Public Hotel - where you forget where you are. That's why it's important to work with designers and architects to create immersive experiences that are transportive but also tasteful. We love the lounge and back room at Elvis Guest House, it makes for great pictures but also a chic place to lounge with your friends.

Everlane pop-up
Everlane store

Trend #4: Community

Communal and social space is also huge, giving people a place to give performances, host a yoga class, or throw a party. I can imagine more stores providing more of a theatre or bleachers with a stage situation allowing for a whole slew of different events and parties, just look at OMA's Prada Epicenter store in New York. Throwing a good party at a new retail spot for a new brand is a must as well. For our first Away pop-up it was important that the "packing bar" serve as a real bar when having parties. Every brand launching a store needs to pop, so the opening party should be a good one.

Away Noho
Away store

Trend #5: Mirrors, Mirrors, Mirrors

Great mirrors are also something I'm seeing a lot of. Large reflections with flattering lighting or interactive mirrors like the touchscreen mirrors at Rebecca Minkoff. We did large circular mirrors at Away which we now see all the time, I think they are a good way to make the space seem large but also create something uniquely visual to hang on the wall. Of course, the mirrors also serve as the only way to see what you're trying on, so it's key to make the sure the light makes the customer look good!