Integration: A new design model for apparel and retail environments

Brinkworth, Adam (2018) Integration: A new design model for apparel and retail environments. [Doctorate by Public Works]

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Abstract

As founder of Brinkworth, a London-based design consultancy, I am writing this thesis from a creative practitioner’s perspective. The main research question is: How has the role and the activity of an interior designer for apparel retail environments evolved since the intervention of digital platforms, including social media and online shopping? Pertaining to this lead research question are the following two questions: How have customer behaviour patterns changed due to the intervention of digital and social media platforms? And how has brand engagement and communication with their customer community evolved with respect to the development of digital technologies?

The title of this PhD by public works, Integration, describes the key approach to my new model, which delivers appropriate physical retail spaces through a four-way system of integration: brand, space, location and community. A donor building is designed so as to successfully host the brand and facilitate the fusing of its customer community within the building’s own local culture. It theorises that the physical branded retail space is at the heart of a brand’s external facing retail activity. It is primarily the place that gives an invaluable opportunity for the development of a personal relationship between the customer community and the brand. This space is also the nucleus in which platforms of digital immersion, product fusion and narrative are integrated within a central, physical hub. This concept of integration seeks to replace the convention of outmoded, repetitive, traditional retail rollout methods.

This thesis of public works outlines new models of thinking taken from Brinkworth’s portfolio. Utilising the research methodology of reflexivity, it contributes new knowledge to the field of professional practice and academic research in apparel retail design, both in terms of the design work carried out and the reflection on that work. The thesis starts by examining the academic context through an analysis of the limited published practitioners’ literature that it seeks to succeed. The research extends into broader and relevant academic areas of study. The specifics of apparel retail design will then be discussed, providing a blueprint by which Brinkworth implements its strategies and demonstrating why the process is significant. An assessment of how to structure and approach interior design for retail, as well as evidence and project planning information will be included within the thesis, something that has not been previously documented in this field of study. A recently formulated Model of Integration is theorised, demonstrated and disseminated through the case studies selected in order to exemplify each retail environment typology.

This dynamic Model of Integration, driven by the evolving relationship between the brand and its customer community, is reflected in the communicative relationship between online and physical retail environments. This, in turn, drives the creation of a new type of outcome. In support of this, the resulting physical retail spaces produced are named Activation Retail Environments. These multipurpose retail environments host activities broader than retail, and include hospitality, brand/product education and events, where the customer is an active participant in a spatial and personal relationship with the brand.

Following the Academic Context, a chapter entitled Typologies and Strategies seeks to identify the key individual types of physical retail stores. It also demonstrates the optimum approach to tackling each category of store. My Model of Integration is illustrated through examples from Brinkworth’s portfolio in the following chapter, and the thesis evidences the discussed retail typologies through a broad selection of completed projects.

Item Type: Doctorate by Public Works
Research Areas: A. > School of Art and Design
B. > Doctorates by Public Works
Item ID: 25756
Depositing User: Vimal Shah
Date Deposited: 11 Dec 2018 11:09
Last Modified: 02 Apr 2019 21:00
URI: https://eprints.mdx.ac.uk/id/eprint/25756

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