First Look…Arket and Weekday

Scandi style shows no signs of abating in popular fashion and interior trends, and as two brands in H&M’s diverse portfolio hit London for the first time this Autumn, we went to see where Arket and Weekday are planting their flag in a competitive fashion landscape.

Weekday is billed as a “modern and mindful fashion and denim brand, appealing to urban, conscious and style-aware young adults.” Arket is pitched slightly older, offering essential products that “democratise quality through widely accessible, well-made, durable products, designed to be used and loved for a long time.”

Bearing in mind the new stores are next door to one another, how visible are these distinct propositions in the store experience?

First, to Weekday.

With both menswear and womenswear visible on entrance, Weekday hits you with an editorial selection of trendy, slouchy, almost gender-neutral fashion.

Simple fixtures and pops of plastic colour are contrasted with inspiration and navigation delivered in the form of digital feeds and ticker-tape.

Downstairs feels more pile-it-high (or rather stack-it-deep) but adjacencies are logical and the energy and order from upstairs continues. Price points are more expensive than H&M, but with the young and urban in mind, the design voice feels authoritative, taking more risks with alternative shapes and patterns without feeling scattergun.

The most exciting thing about Weekday is the Zeitgeist project. Each week a new design is printed on T shirts and tote bags, and is available for 7 days only based on current events and cultural happenings. The designs aren’t available online and with a live print studio adding to the theatre, it gives customers a real reason to come to store.

And so, to Arket.

Arket is described online as ‘A Modern Day Market’ with a concept built around archive pieces, each labelled with a unique 9 digit code for customers to come back to time and again. This kind of each-piece-is-precious curation is visible across online and in-store channels.

What doesn’t translate so effortlessly from the online experience is the lifestyle inspiration. The store is laid out sparingly in style so as to envision a blank canvas for the product to sing. While Scandi-simplicity is everywhere you look, it takes a little imagination to visualise each piece embellishing your own wardrobe. Maybe we’re just not used to shopping for seasonless staples – so we need a little extra encouragement to search the rail, feel the fabric, buy the t shirt.

Like Weekday next door, menswear is visible immediately on entrance, and doesn’t feel like an afterthought so often banished upstairs. Homewares feel minimalist and premium, taking the floor at the heart of the store.

What the store does brilliantly is define clear colour stories which creates pace and pause in store. The extended height of perimeter and mid floor fixtures creates a sense of being in a library and gives shoppers breathing space.

Price points are more COS than Weekday and the fit out reflects this with muted grown-up tones and (very) pared-back comms. A slightly warmer palette is used in the café, where quality ingredients and healthy living are celebrated.

First impressions

Both Weekday and Arket have established a strong brand presence on Regent St, and a second Arket store opened in Covent Garden this week. The stores and products are distinctive enough to attract their respective audiences, and we suspect there might be more of a crossover in customers than you might imagine

By Nicole Wilson and Kirsten Elliot

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