Pop-Up Shops Losing Steam

2009 was the year of the pop-up shop. Like designer collaborations, temporary retail spaces have proliferated in every pocket of the sartorial market. From eBay and the Ace Hotel to blogs like A Continuous Lean, it wasn’t just fashion boutiques that participated in the trend this past year. Thanks to the economic downturn spawning an endless stream of empty storefronts (and landlords subsequently looking for short-term renters to fill the void), not to mention the inherent novelty of a shop with an extremely short shelf-life, the sheer number of pop-up shops to open and close their doors in NYC alone this year was staggering. But the trend won’t last for long.

Or, at least not with the same gusto. “The ideal duration of a pop-up store is six months. I don’t think this phenomenon will be successful after the recession is over,” says Jean Bousquet, the president of Cacharel told Women’s Wear Daily. But, don’t expect full-on pop-up extinction. The next incarnation of novelty shopping is well underway: online pop-up shops. “Already, Outnet.com offers one-off ‘pop-up sales,’ and neimanmarcus.com and saksfifthavenue.com initiated a midday dash, a two-hour sale on regular full-price merchandise,” adds WWD. Meanwhile, guerrilla pop-up shops are likewise gaining steam as a new extension of the trend. Rei Kawakubo has done it for Comme des Garçons. Now A.F. Vandevorst is following suit in Belgiam with a newly opened shop at an as-of-yet-unidentified Antwerp location, with more locations slated to open around the globe. Pop-ups meanwhile aren’t the only dominating trend A.F. Vandevorst is taking part in; like everyone from Missoni and Zac Posen to Rodarte, the designer has launched a lower-priced line called A Friend, which will likewise be sold in the brand’s temporary boutiques.

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