Coachtopia x Selfridges: An Experiential Pop Up | Part II
Last month, Coach released a new sub-brand that has made waves in the fashion industry through its circular craft to reduce its overall waste. Coachtopia takes on offcuts from mainline Coach factories that are normally thrown into landfill as starting material for its products. This is one of the luxury leather goods industry’s first times approaching circular production as this method reduces the use of virgin raw material. The reimagining of craftsmanship through the use of scraps helps the environment as there is currently a landfill pollution problem caused by the fashion industry. This fight against pollution has caused a demand for companies to do their part in creating more circular solutions. Coach has taken on the charge by implementing a Reloved Program that takes in old Coach bags to be reused or refurbished for a new product. Popular department store Selfridges is also taking the initiative through their renting scheme, HURR. The renting scheme is part of the Selfridges’ Project Earth initiative, which is their action plan to transition towards sustainability. Sustainability has been a core component of Selfridges values for the past 10 years. They aim to lead with purpose through the implementation of their sustainability strategy. Starting with Project Ocean, which aims to stop overfishing and plastic pollution in oceans, Selfridges has progressed its strategy to removing single-use plastics and removing plastic in its beauty products. Currently, Project Earth has taken on more drastic commitments within its materials, models, and mindsets. This has given its shoppers the opportunity to buy better and inspire change through offering planet-friendly and preloved selections.
Due to Selfridges’ desire to better the planet, Coach asked for collaboration in the form of a pop-up for Coachtopia’s launch in the Wonder Room. The experiential pop-up invites customers to interact with each touchpoint offered and ask questions to the brand ambassadors. Each touchpoint allows the customer to immerse themselves into the process of circularity, with explanations scattered throughout as guidance if the customer wants to explore the space on their own. The first touchpoint is a production table in the center of the space. This circular table explains the production process of making a Coachtopia bag so the customer can visually see how exactly material scraps can turn into an Ergo or Wavy Dinky. It is separated into 5 sections which are topped with the physical tools, design sketches, and scrap fabric used in the production process along with placards that explain each section. Customers are able to touch what is on the table to increase interaction. The second touchpoint is the window display. This circular wooden structure displays the bags to those passing by outside. Hanging above is a light-up sign made of recycled neon in the form of Coachtopia’s main tagline: “Have Taste Love Waste”. This display has caught the eye of many passersby who often come inside to learn more about the brand. The third touchpoint is a large circular mirror with the same tagline as the window display lining the top. This rests under another recycled neon light-up Coachtopia sign. The customers can use this mirror to see how the bags look on their person and many have obliged to take mirror selfies in front of it. The fourth touchpoint is the pin-up wall where customers are asked to pin differently shaped leather scraps onto an outline of a purse. This lets customers experience being a part of the design process as using scraps is the main way of decorating the bag designs. It also references the Selfridges exclusive flower Ergo bag. The final touchpoint is a display wall that explains the design process of the black and white checkered Ergo bag. Encased in the wall are leather scraps that have then gotten sewn together to form the checkered pattern, which then shows the final product of the bag. The wall is separated into 3 sections of starting material, creation, and then final product with each section having a detailed explanation of its process.
Circularity was considered in all aspects of the pop-up, not just in the explanations of the production process. This includes visual merchandising used to display the product on the sales floor. The whole set is able to be reused after its time in Selfridges Oxford Street. Each part can be easily disassembled compared to other VMs. Different parts of the set will be sent to other Selfridges stores nationwide for their own Coachtopia pop-ups once the one in Oxford Street ends. The VM itself is made of leather scraps that were pressed together to create building blocks for the structure. There is an Ergo bag made with a similar technique as the VM.
The goal of the pop-up is to take the customer into an immersive experience; to literally circle them around the world of Coachtopia to understand just how much imagination goes into crafting circularity. Through the storytelling of the set and the brand ambassadors can the customers appreciate the multiple lives for these products. The pop up is a place for discussion to educate on how fashion can progress to help the planet. Connecting the customer in such an interactive way builds the community as they realize that they too can take part in the reduction of waste.