As a fashion aficionado, understanding the difference between each brand is key to understanding “fashion” as a term. The definition of fashion is often dismissed and thought of as style. Fashion as a term is defined as the latest style of clothing, hair, decoration or behaviour. Each year, a trending colour, texture, pattern, silhouette ect. are predicted and in accordance to that, brands merge the latest trends into their designs for the season to create “fashion”. I chose to write my compare and contrast about a fast fashion brand and a luxury fashion brand. Frequently, fast fashion brands exploit the patterns or trends seen in luxury brand fashion shows and incorporate them in their designs to stay on the latest trends. Those garments are then sold to a wider customer base for a much cheaper price.
For the purpose of this blog post, I chose one of my favourite stores on Bond street, Max Mara to compare with Top Shop on Oxford Circus. Both stores are contradictory, as Max Mara is a luxury fashion brand and Top Shop’s a high street brand. The Italian brand, Max Mara boasts its reputation on being a sophisticated luxury brand, targeting minimalist sport chic woman, while Top Shop is a multinational fashion retailer of clothing, shoes, make-up and accessories. One of the most evident differences between the two stores are their target customers. A luxury fashion brand frequently targets working woman with a high yearly income, that are interested in sophisticated garments that has a long lasting durability, is chic and fashionable and mainly comprises of high end textiles. On the other hand, Top Shop targets woman of all age groups and incomes that show an interest in an edgy casual style.
The interior of the Max Mara flagship store on 19-21 Old Bond street highlights specific elements to create an elegant interior contributing to a superior shopping experience. Using our senses as a foundation to manipulate our experience of visiting the store, the colour palette is a replica of the neutral garments the brand is mostly popular for. Grey and its lighter notes is used as a dominant colour across the store with gold accents throughout. Natural elements like wooden floors and stone panels are incorporated within the interior to create an elegant, modern space. The lightweight garments are hung along the walls according to collection and coordinated to match colours discreetly in a spacious manner. Walking through the space as a spatial designer helps me notice the subconscious techniques the designers used to allow the customers to interact and move through a commodious reservoir of clothes and accessories to take part of a great shopping experience. Its also noticeable that the tone of the store in kept to a minimum; as light music is played in the background, customers are manipulated into speaking in a lower tone to allow the space more superiority and elegance, which contributes to the feeling of being in a luxurious atmosphere.
The Top shop flagship store on Oxford Circus covers five floors and is contradictory to Max Mara. The vast store was busy with people walking in and out through the 25 minutes I’ve spent analysing the space. The space is segregated into zones with semiotics and graphics to differentiate each zone. This depicts a more casual edgy approach as opposed to clothing hung seamlessly through the space. An evident difference between the two stores are their customers. Countable woman within the age range of 25-35 are seen throughout the entire store in Max Mara, while Top Shop has countless people of all ages walking through and out. The style of the garnets are laid out differently as is almost confusing to me to understand which garment goes with each collection. Patterns, textures and different styled silhouette are placed or hung inordinately. The interior of the space is designed to basic and minimal standard and doesn’t outline a specific relation to the garments displayed. Music and lights are manipulated throughout the space which interlinks the space to the clothing being sold.
Although my opinion about Top Shop may seem critical, visiting the space was a fun experience as it was my first time visiting the store and could be considered as a fun fashion experience, though the atmosphere and ambiance of Max Mara is my preferred shopping environment as I tend to prefer going to places that are spacious and quiet.