From Retrospective to Retroactive

MArch research into book and beyond



Sep '13 - Nov '15

  • I Was There

    With online commerce, the need for store locations has become weakened.  Now more than ever, it is critical that stores create a tactile, visceral experience of the brand. 

    The near future will help personalize the in-store experience with sales and advertisements based on personal shopping and search history.  With the excess of open/coerced/consensual amount of data generated, we may one day see targeted, personal, sales which appear when in close proximity or prolonged time with a particular retail item.  This kind of data-to-enticement exchange demonstrates a 21st Century bargaining.

    Even then, would all the sales in the world be able to beat online shopping?  In order to further encourage customers into retail stores, the products being sold can take on another layer of meaning with a specific time and place.

    To give depth, stores learn from iconic cities, tourist attractions and events.  All three offer opportunities to say "I was there." 

    "I didn't get this from online.  I got it directly from the store."

    How might that happen?  We already see signs of it in the fitting room mirror.  Encouraging people to take photos of themselves wearing clothes from that store is absolutely brilliant.  It's so smart it seems obvious, making a slam dunk seem like a layup.  Take the model and the controlled images out of the equation.  Let the people promote, display and disseminate the information themselves, just from their own enthusiasm.  

    To increase the store's value, perhaps we can see regional or local selections and product lines.  Along side national and international items sold all over the world, we see Mid-West, SoCal, or Southern selections. The idea here is that a brand acknowledges and takes pride of the place they're located.  It says "yes we are a global brand, but we are not so big that we cannot e specific.  We know you and we think you might like this."  Something similar to this idea has been popping up with city or store specific hashtags and city name branding from Zara.

    Another iteration may have to do with the nature of making.  To drive home the idea of "I was there," stores could have in-store manufactured clothing.  Depending on how far a store is willing to go, we could see a person who usually makes the brand's clothing in another country, instead make clothes in that particular store.  This could be a chance for sales associates and customers to really understand what it is they are doing when they buy clothes.  At the very least, seeing the original maker of the clothes I wear would give me a direct understanding of what a global market actually means.  

    After the clothing is made, it is inventoried, tagged, and placed right on the rack.  It would give new meaning to the "Made in _____" symbol.  Instead of a country, we see "Made on November, 27th 2015 in the Men's Department, In Levi's, 1501 Broadway, NYC, NY USA"

    Consider also bringing the customer into the process.  Creating a loose and adaptive line of clothing, "Making Sessions" would allow the customer to create their own pants and shirts.  These items bearing the brand's logo, would go from being an enjoyable purchase to being the most prized item in their collection.  Just like that, the customer is not only grateful for the experience, they are now more sophisticated about clothing manufacturing, educated about the brand, and empowered by their actions.  It neatly ties together the desire for homegrown/local and the familiar, rewarding experience of guided making made popular by IKEA.

    "I was there" is short-hand for an embedded memory.  It is a memory tied to and reinforced by the brand.  Memory and experiences are carried around with us for life.  The more positive and rewarding the experience a brand can make, the more likely they are to have life long customers.  And through social gathering events, those customers can be friends.

  • "Mixed Use"

    Shopping can literally happen anywhere.  While SkyMall may have been a bit too much too soon, it is not uncommon now for people to spend time shopping between the opening and headlining acts at a concert.  Retail stores cannot continue with business as usual, only focusing on a maximum capacity...

  • Co-Opted

    Sorry, another diversion.  This week and next week I will be using this blog to write down and record a set of ideas about retail, reflecting on where it is and imagining (what will most likely be very) near future projections about where it might go.  As I've been thinking about retail space, I...

  • Direct

    It has been almost two years since my last blog post.  The hard-drives still hold the data from my degree project, but I still have not connected them to a new computer.   Thankfully my final images are still intact and easy to access.  I will make a post with my final images in a later post...

  • Fail Hard

    So this begins the second part of my last year of school.  Degree Project was definitely a journey. I was very fortunate to be working with my professor Paul J Donnelly.  We were really a great match and the balance we kept each other in, though at times frustrating, worked out well...

  • K.O.

    So this is the knock out punch for Design Thinking.I will start and finish posting about Design Research next week.Then I will begin working on how the two can be in a more direct conversation. In this post we have iterations to finished style on related spreads.Links below for the full sets.The...

  • Turnt Up

    With about a two and a half weeks left in the course before we arch-students stopped doing classes and fall head long into studio fancyfootwork-flashmob-midnighthustle time, the main points to hit in the development of the Design Research were site and program.  For Design Thinking, there...

  • Escape velocity

    From the previous post to this one, only one week had passed.  I can’t remember what all happened that semester, but I am pretty sure no studio work was done that week.  I mean, I’m basing that statement on the “last modified” date of my archived files&hellip...

  • Commercial Space and Public Life

    I started to build upon the diagrams and images shown in the previous post.  I wanted to look more closely at what the difference was between the Occupy protests in NYC and STL.  I only knew that one had much press coverage and many people and the other had little to no press coverage...

  • A new frontier

    After the tepid presentation,  I accepted what my professor had been telling me for three weeks --embrace the political.  Embrace the direction of my inquiry.  Allow myself to critique. It became clear that I had repressed thoughts in my head because over the next few days, my...

  • Looking for an invasion

    The last post had two different points in time at once.   It was also missing the presentation from 09/18/12.                     I still insisted on proposing questions and ideas about a temporal public existence.  In part, I am pulling...

  • Scrambled eggs

    ​           Companion post tomorrow.   All for now.   Take care, Christopher

  • Step aside

    So, I feel that at this point I should take a small pause and give more context to what has happened so far.  From the last post, we see a lot of terms and architectural references.  Basically, the thoughts circling around me question whether or not the public should have a more active...

  • Aggressive Impulses

    After the initial beginning, I felt ideas boiling inside but had no words or drawings to make.  So I made objects and collages instead.  All I had going on consciously circled around having some sort of solid element, a platform or stage and a transient element. Aside: The same weekend...

  • 3X3

    After our instructors informed us of the importance found in our design research--how it would either hang from our necks like an albatross (forever) or propel us out into the world of everything ever (for a day or two)--we were asked to choose three words and provide three images for each of...

  • Dawn.

    As Hans-Ulrich Obrist would say, it's best to begin at the beginning.  So before I launch into a blog seeking to make sense of my final work and thoughts from school, I should provide some background. I grew up in Coral Springs...

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About this Blog

I will chronicle my design research and degree project, providing commentary on my thought process at the time. From there, I will transform the body of work into a book which seeks to place into dialogue the two (currently) separated semesters of work.

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