Leaping Creative Designs an Otherworldly Flagship for Inclusive Clothing Brand, Bosie
Home to the former Shanghai French Concession, Huaihai Road has been synonymous with high culture and fashion since the mid 19th century. The wide boulevard with manors off its leafy lanes is one of the world’s premier shopping addresses, home to such luxury brands as Hermès and Louis Vuitton. It’s no coincidence, then, that Bosie, an online fashion retailer aimed at the Gen Z set, selected 627 Huaihai Road for its brick-and-mortar flagship in Shanghai and Leaping Creative to design it.
Bosie is the brainchild of a small group of twentysomethings led by Guangyao Liu. Founded in 2018, it’s a design-driven label imbued with the team’s take on relaxed, genderless apparel available to anyone with an internet connection. Bosie’s online success—the company raked in 1 million yuan, approximately $200K, in revenue the month it launched—precipitated the 2019 opening of its first store in Hangzhou Kerry Centre. Today, it operates 26 shops across China. The Huaihai Road outpost is the fifth by Leaping Creative, following ones in Beijing, Tianjin, Changsha, and Guangzhou.
“Bosie is more than clothing,” Leaping Creative founder and design director Zen Zheng begins. “It provides the younger generations with a means for showing the philosophies they believe in. Unisex fashion is not only a concept that joins the conversation for gender equality but also gives a new self-expression for this demographic.” The rise in the desire for cozycore garments during the pandemic gave Bosie an additional boost.
On its website, Bosie states that “through retro, childlike fun and unique products, we can break boundaries and show the innocence, seriousness, freedom, and romance of adults.” Based on research of the target customer as well as inspiration from the product collections, Leaping Creative developed that retro notion into a project narrative in which Bosie is an intrepid extraterrestrial life form that roams the galaxies and has landed in Shanghai, resulting in
a Jetsons-esque experience containing not only clothing and accessories but also amenities in step with the Gen Z way of life.
The 21,500-square-foot store spans the ground and second floors of a mixed-use building with WeWork as the auspicious anchor tenant. The futuristic journey begins at the entrance, where the facade incorporates reflective stainless-steel sheets above extensive glazing. Flanking the entry door are semicircular glass elevator shafts that Zheng updated with what he calls a “space-age installation”: floor-to-ceiling LCD screens looping Bosie lifestyle videos. “The facade responds to Shanghai’s strict building regulations, which do not allow us to change the architecture. But we were able to cover the original elevator shafts with the screens, which in turn attract passersby into Bosie.”
If the videos don’t draw them in, then the enormous 10-foot-wide sculpture resembling a rocket engine that’s clearly visible through the windows ought to do it. Similarly, on a column, a pilot helmet is jacked into a control board. “We used the engine and helmet to hint at the alien story,” Zheng notes. “The helmet sends a continuous feed back to base.”
That base could very well be found on the ground floor, where a short spiral stair is sheathed in steel panels. The UFOlike form anchors the central set of escalators and divides the floor’s areas. On one side is apparel, including the laboratory-themed Purple collection. Following the space-exploration storyline, garments are displayed on racetrack-shape rails above a nonfunctioning conveyor belt, its aluminum rods powder-coated sage green. The pleasing shade reappears on columns, paneling, and upholstery, particularly on the lunar-looking sofas in the waiting area outside the capsule-shape fitting rooms.
A major Zoomer perk is on the other side of the ground floor: the café. It features an old-school photo booth and a self-serve machine dispensing ice cream, vegan of course. “The ice cream reinforces the sustainability of Bosie’s Blue collection, which is made from eco-friendly, raw materials,” Zheng explains.
The second floor furthers Bosie’s pro-nature, all-inclusive sensibility. A 17-foot-long white fiberglass goose greets customers stepping off the escalators. “It’s the brand mascot,” Zheng says, “and satisfies netizens’ need for Instagram moments.” Beyond, in a corner, is a pet hotel for shoppers to drop off or play with furry friends. “Based on the latest customer research, 40 percent of young people in China have pets,” Zheng says. “We offered a place where they can bring them as well as meet other pet owners. All these extras encourage customers to stay longer.”
As do various interactive installations. AR tech forms the basis for fanciful real-time videos that can be captured by customers. “The store’s facial recognition feature corresponds to Bosie’s Black collection, which is based on sci-fi films,” Zheng says. “By capturing images of passersby, artistic Bosie plants will grow from the face depicted on the screen. The customer can then download the animation clip and share on social.”
The store’s Tomorrowland aesthetic merges disc-shape motifs and curving corners with polished and brushed metals, glowing panels, and gentle sky blues, beiges, and grays for an overall setting that’s inviting and optimistic. The numbers confirm the sentiment. States Zheng: “Daily revenue of the flagship broke the record for previous Bosie stores.”
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