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At Shopbop’s 20th Anniversary NYFW Pop-Up Party, Retail in the Influencer Era

Shannon Adducci

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Everyone wants a piece of e-commerce nowadays as retail continues its era of transition, but Shopbop has remained a steady constant. Originally the website of the brick-and-mortar boutique Bop in Madison, Wisconsin, it was an early adopter of online shopping, launching in 1999. It was also way ahead of its time in anticipating Amazon’s online empire, having sold to the company in 2006.

To fete its 20th anniversary, Shopbop held a New York Fashion Week party Thursday night, and it felt very much like the 2019 version of what successful retail looks like — for now, at least. Getting off the subway at the Broadway-Lafayette station in Soho, the retailer had billboards glued to every wall, on every step up to the street (apparently, Shopbop-branded Metro cards will also be dispensed at that station).

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A line was already snaked around the brand’s pop-up store at 106 Spring Street and scores of influencers were pleading their case to the bouncers on why they should be allowed in, despite the fact that the event was already at capacity.

Inside, the store had all the trappings of what a party — and retail in general — should have in 2019. The room was packed with a mix of designers, brand executives, editors, influencers and starlets (among them, Rebecca Minkoff, Rowan Blanchard, Fernando Garcia and Laura Kim, Arielle Charnas and Sydney Sweeney). There were activations galore, from a Superga customization booth, a Levi’s tailor shop, iPhone monogram station and custom jewelry finishing from Zoe Chicco. Later this month, the space will also host yoga and meditation sessions, panel discussions and styling sessions with Charnas (who recently announced she will launch her own brand, after her deal with Nordstrom comes to an end in November). Juice Press, PopUp Florist and La Colombe coffee have all set up inside the space for the duration of its run, from September 6 – 22.

“Shopbop is approachable,” said Maguire over a few mini bottles of rose in a straw. “We are the girl everyone wants to be, but we’re approachable and fun.” The fashion director also pointed to loyal designer and brand relationships, which Shopbop leveraged to create The Twenty, a designer capsule collection that includes 20 of the retailer’s biggest brands, including Coach 1941, Staud, Zimmermann, Isabel Marant, Prabal Gurung and Area. Maguire and her team worked with the brands to select key pieces exclusive to the retailer. Her favorite shoe from the collection? “Maryam Nassir Zadeh’s slouchy boot, to the knee, in camel croc print and studs,” she said. “We love her style, her aesthetic. We love her shoes.”

As for Shopbop’s next chapter in the ever-shifting world of retail? “To me, the frontier is to just continue to evolve but still offer our customer that specific brand matrix that we do,” said Maguire. “We jump on that trend when others don’t. We are so keen on finding the next and the new.”

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