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Shopping in the City

Image © Maeve Larkin

“I like my money right where I can see it; hanging in my closet.” Carrie Bradshaw, Sex in the City.

Those are some wise words from the iconic Carrie Bradshaw, and a motto I’m afraid I do live by!

Unfortunately, I cannot afford the luxury of spending £500 on a pair of shoes, unless it’s a very special occasion. Instead, I rely on the High Street for my fashion, which as of late is becoming less inspiring and more predictable in what it offers. Promotions, limited edition items and special events make the experience of the High Street more exclusive and bring elements of luxury to the otherwise monotonous experience.

One of the qualities of luxury shopping is the sense of exploration and discovery whereas on the High Street it tends to be more of the same brand.

Begin a shopping spree down any of the UK’s high streets, and you’ll come across many department stores and retail outlets. The department stores usually house most of the retail outlets inside, and they tend to stock identical brands. That’s not the formula for creating an exciting retail mix.

This year, I am shopping for a specific occasion, my wedding in August, and the experience has taught me a few things.

Image © Maeve Larkin

Let’s start with the wedding dress. Shopping for a wedding dress is an experience in and of itself: Browsing through the elegant bridal shops and receiving treatment fit for a princess. I wish shopping for every wedding related item was that much fun. But there’s a lot more to organize aside from the wedding dress, and this inevitably means I am in other shops far too regularly, ‘looking’ as opposed to ‘shopping’ for inspiration and ideas and have become increasingly bored by the High Street and what it has to offer! Not only are certain brands repeated but their presentation and store layout are often exactly the same as is the price tag, there’s not even the thrill of shopping around for a bargain anymore. Within most brands on the High Street there are different ranges available, how inspiring would it be see these ranges presented in different ways in every store, things like mixing casual with evening wear or work wear with casual encouraging the customer to challenge the generic use of the product and making even more user friendly.

In an effort to reflect the individual personalities of my three bridesmaids I decided to have different styles and colours for each of them. The search for these dresses brought to my attention the lack of choice in the retail offers on our high street.

My search through the internet prior to even setting foot on the high street left me bubbling with ideas and it seemed there were endless possibilities. Unfortunately upon entering the high street this bubbling slowly fizzled out! Why is the internet retail world filled with such possibilities and the physical retail world so disappointing!! In a world with endless possibilities it’s amazing that our high street shopping can inflict such restrictions.

After this experience changing my perception of the High Street for the worse I decided to analyze the modern retail offer further just to prove myself wrong. Over the next series of blogs I plan in investigating what different brands are doing to break the monotony of the modern High Street shopping experience.

Image © Maeve Larkin

Image © Gensler

Maeve Larkin is passionate about life; she loves style, people and places. A lifelong cosmopolitan, she has travelled worldwide and worked in Dublin, Sydney and now London as an Interior Designer. Her flair for fashion keeps her on top of all the latest trends. Individuality in design is something she seeks out and aims to achieve in all her projects. Hugely inspired by the close relationship between the retail and hospitality design—a combination of two of her great passions—she believes their integration is the way forward for Retail Offers. Currently she is a team member of Gensler London’s Retail and Hospitality team. Contact Maeve at Maeve_Larkin@Gensler.com.

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Reader Comments (8)

Wow..... What an amazing blog, will definitely be checking this out and recommending it!!! Please tell me there is another instalment, already can't wait!!!!
07.12.2013 | Unregistered CommenterWendy
07.19.2013 | Unregistered CommenterFlorent Duperrin
Great article! So true. In a generation of pinterest (and facebook, where suddenly everyone feels like they're models), where great fashions and styling are so readily availble, it seems it's not represented in the retail market. Good luck with your search! I looking forward to reading about it.. :)
07.24.2013 | Unregistered CommenterDina Feiglin
Great Post! I agree. The high street seems to concentrate on 20year cycle revival fashion. Every high street shop sells clothes that look like they came from the early 90s and every store has different versions of exactly the same thing! No wonder we have to resort to internet shopping.
07.25.2013 | Unregistered CommenterCoCo
Good article. Totally agreed shopping in the high street is a grey experience, I turn grey. Especially on oxford street, why do I want to see endless queues of buses to choke on the fumes and come home with black snot?
I shop in my back garden with glass of martini in my hand. With my laptop, my screen is my shopfront and I can go anywhere I like in the world that sells at the touch of a button. I am free to browse uber luxury or bog standard . My choice of fashion is not limited to the trends of the country that I live in. Today's high street is too dominated by the car and no I don't like shopping centres either.
07.25.2013 | Unregistered CommenterJohn
John that sounds like an ideal way to enjoy the pleasure of shopping!
I am currently working on a future blog that challenges the constraints of the online retail offer and am finding it a huge learning experience.
The 'touch'; the feel, weight and texture of fabrics and textiles is something that no picture or movie not matter how well shoot can fully show. There's also the matter of fit which as the clothing is always shown on beautiful models with all flaws hidden we will never fully appreciate unless we can physically 'try on' an item.
Granted all these comparisons are regarding clothing and there's much more to internet shopping than clothing alone. The debate continues...
07.26.2013 | Unregistered CommenterMaeve Larkin
Great article... :)
07.28.2013 | Unregistered CommenterTim
wow very nice article i think shoping in the city is a great activity

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