May 9, 2018

The Biz of Fashion

If it’s the April Interior Design, then it’s full-stop g-l-a-m-o-u-r city! Yep, our annual fashion issue. And fabulous is just what a gal like me needs this time of year. Reviewing stunning projects, products, and ethereal runway beauties (of all genders, for the PC police) has, as you can imagine, put slimming and summer beaches in the foreground of my mind. . . harshly, I might add (argh).

But that’s side-window landscape. Front and center is all get-up-and-go for the business of design and fashion, aka designing for retail. It turns out that the sector is still alive and well—hugely drummed-up fake news notwithstanding. But how much so? To find out, I moseyed down the hall to pester our research director, Wing Leung, for some solid facts. Her hefty report back? The big picture doesn’t in any way reflect the aforementioned “slimming.” Au contraire, our top 100 Giants anticipate a 17 percent growth in their retail projects over last year. And, of the 65,000 designers working on retail projects in North America, 74 percent are “pretty” or “very” optimistic about the business.

Looking to broader economic data, Moody’s estimates that the value of retail construction in 2017 was $73.5 billion (stress on b), with spending expected to grow 5.5 percent this year and 7.1 percent in 2019. That’s largely because establishments of all stripes are buying into design. According to a McKinsey report, firms that embrace strategic design—creating user-friendly environments that flawlessly integrate customer experience with products and services—will open up more opportunities for new businesses. Case in point: Apple and Tesla are investing in highly designed spaces. Ka-ching!

Whether the new retail is in the form of a showroom, a pop-up, a mall reinvented as a community-lifestyle center, or simply a captive audience, design design design is the answer
to today’s ever-evolving retail equation. So, what are you waiting for? Put on your Pradas and go get ’em!

Follow me on Instagram @thecindygram.

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