Arket – A Modern Day Market On Regent Street?

We were really excited when the H&M group announced their newest clothing and lifestyle brand Arket, and the opening of its new flagship store on Regents Street back In July. Arket is all about good quality materials and functionality – calling itself the ‘modern day market’.

We know that the retail landscape is changing, online and mobile shopping is the norm for most people and brands that want to stand out on the high street have to create an experience – unique to their brand – that immerses customers and is sociable and above all, engaging.  We think Arket embraces this challenge both in store and online.

The flagship store sits comfortably between H&M, Weekday and Cos on Regents Street. For a brand family with an ever-growing number of off-shoots, the H&M group has done well to make sure that each of the individual stores feel different. Although there are definite similarities between Cos and Arket, the simple cuts of their pieces, and the colour categorisation in store for example, overall Arket does stand away from these other brands. Walking into the Arket Regent Street store, the differences are clear.
Our immediate response was to the size of the space, the ceiling height is emphasised by the tall display units surrounding the outer edge of the store and it feels easy to navigate due to the sheer amount of open space. We felt this was a brave choice by the designers, but one which certainly pays off and ensures that this store stands out against the backdrop of other high street brands where merchandising is weighted more heavily than simple ‘dwell’ space. In a world of banner blindness and shouty colours competing for attention the environment offers a calm backdrop to the bustling street outside.
The large store is also home to a café, another element to the space which encourages you to dwell, to feel comfortable in the space, it really does feel comfortable. Offering healthy and wholesome dishes, the café supports the idea of Arket as a ‘lifestyle’ brand and it’s something a little different too! There seems to be more transparency and simplicity to this brand in comparison to competitors with a similar offering, there’s an honesty about how things are made, and where – which is engaging. The interior says a lot about the brand and its values. Its functional and simple and we loved it.  In Swedish Arket translates to ‘Sheet of paper’ which is a fitting metaphor for creating your own story through selecting their beautifully curated products.
Items in the store are categorised by colour and material in an archival style (which ties into the company name) – this works wonderfully in this entirely grey space. Floor to ceiling the colour is in the product only, which is another bold design choice. The space feels utilitarian which contrasts beautifully with the rich colours and materials of the items. Different departments and types of merchandise overlap – accessories, home-ware, clothing – this works because everything seems to have a common theme. Arket is about the essentials, keeping it simple and pared back, clean lines and quality materials, and the interior resonates deeply with this concept.
So does the web presence continue the experience? Yes. Arket’s digital offering feels different to other sister brands (H&M, Cos, Monki, Weekday, Cheap Monday), with a simple and functional look. The clean landing page features large and simplistic images with a Scandi feel, representing different departments of this ‘lifestyle’ brand – it’s not just womenswear.  We love the diverse ways you can shop the website, it feels a bit different. You can search by material, pattern, colour or even the place of manufacture for a truly personal experience.

 

Currently there are only a handful of stores – Copenhagen, Brussels, Munich, Stockholm, London. But the speed of their expansion makes us very excited, with a second London store opening in Covent Garden in October, our fingers are crossed for further expansion in a South Westerly direction. Arket – Bristol wants you!

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