Temporary ‘Pop-ups’ have become a solid retail strategy in the fashion industry. From luxury fashion to high-street market brands, companies are using pop-ups to drive sales and improve brand positioning.

Fashion retail has evolved drastically in the last decade with e-commerce development and substantial changes in the global consumption patterns. Pop-ups stores maintained their reputation for being a fast, dynamic, affordable, and engaging outlet to market a product.

Temporary itinerant retail spaces offer endless possibilities for brands to showcase their fashion collections and communicate special projects. This type of retail environment is meant to be highly experiential, open for a short period, and function as a promotional device for the reputation of the brand.   

Pop-ups focus on ludic experiences, a curated selection of products, and agile set constructions. This retail strategy of often unannounced short-term sales space is a great opportunity for testing niche markets, reaching out to new consumers, and raising brand awareness with the desired demographic.   

In comparison with traditional retail, pop-up retail is a low-risk investment as well as a less expensive option to permanent locations. Pop-ups trigger consumer desire for entertainment, a pleasant brand experience, and a sense of exclusivity to be part of that moment at that special time. 

Pop-up shoppers are regularly fashion-oriented impulse buyers who value excitement in the shopping process and care about exclusivity. Nevertheless, with the popularization of this retail strategy, many other consumers, coming from different socioeconomic and VALS (Value & Lifestyles) segments, are attracted to the format. 


Great Examples of Pop-up Stores to Inspire You to Develop Your Own  Retail Strategy


1. Comme des Garçons “Guerrilla Stores”

Japanese cult-status designer, Rei Kawakubo, and her partner and CEO of Dover Street Market, Adrian Joffe, were behind the experimental “Guerrilla stores”, a subversive and quite ahead-of-its-time anti-concept concept store. From 2004 to 2009, the brand did an unexpected itinerant route through several European cities such as Ljubljana, Berlin, Helsinki, Istanbul, Barcelona, and Reykjavik, opening temporary stores in unpredictable city locations. No fancy signs, no luxury locations and neighborhoods, just low-cost storefronts, staged with unexpected furniture and materials, cherishing the raw aesthetic expected of an anti-establishment brand like Comme des Garçons. This milestone was probably the one that unleashed the fever for pop-ups everywhere. Mrs. Kawakubo, as always, was ahead of everything and everyone.

2. Hermès Paris Ode to Silk Pop-ups

The French luxury brand has developed a clear pop-up retail strategy in the last decade, the main focus: The Carré (silk scarves). As one of the brand’s bestsellers with beautiful and collectible print graphics and motifs, the aim of the Maison is to allow visitors to interact directly with the products. The Hermès silk carré is reinterpreted to become part of the space through different and creative ways,architecture and music are amongst the brand’s inspiration themes. Hermèsmatic is another pop-up space designed to provide visitors with a  fun experience and receive complimentary services where they can update their vintage scarves via washing machines and dip-dying. Overall pointing at Hermès’ pop-up shop strategy, and its success in selecting the right product to create the right experience.. 

3. Louis Vuitton: From Virgil Abloh’s Shops to a Truck Shop Right at Your Door

The late Creative Director of the menswear line was an undeniable creative force inside the French luxury brand, fusing streetwear and high-fashion. Virgil Abloh created a pop-up strategy to fuel edginess into Vuitton’s world. The striking pop-up space was located at the Lower East Side; a 6,000 sq. ft. unit on the ground floor of a six-story structure built in 1900, both the façade and interior were dipped in a bright green hue.

During the pandemic, at the peak of social distance restrictions, the brand developed a different strategy,  a service called “LV By Appointment”, a mobile pop-up boutique that arrived  at the client’s door with a selection of the latest LV products. Truly unexpected.

4. Prada Outdoor Pop-up Series 

Prada’s latest experience project is called “Outdoor”, taking nature in its myriad forms at the center stage of the strategy. “The Prada Outdoor” pop-up shops and in-store installations are a series of spaces dedicated to the emotions conveyed by different settings – Garden, Coast, and Mountain – containing a selection of original products recalling each particular environment.It encompasses various landscapes and the change of the seasons, the brand will take an international route at locations such as China, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, Thailand, Turkey, Sweden, Australia, and the United States. 

5. Jacquemus Vending Machine Millennial-Pink Shop

Last December, French designer Simon Porte Jacquemus launched a two-day pop-up store on rue de Richelieu in a resemblance of an automated convenience store.In a hot pink façade, the brand introduced the “Jacquemus 24/24” pop-up with pink vending machines to showcase its new “Le Bambino Long” bag. The machines allowed customers to buy the bag 24/7 with an exclusive code.

The “experimental device” according to the brand wanted to provide a fun twist and a sense of closeness for clients that are looking for an uncomplicated luxury shopping experience.

6. Chanel Factory 5 Celebrating 100th Anniversary of Chanel No.5

In an extremely minimalist fashion, last year the brand hosted a cosmetic pop-up experience using “The Factory” as a theme to recreate all the packaging related to its iconic bestseller fragrance No. 5, one of the most innovative perfumes of all time. The limited-edition 17-piece bath and body collection was launched across a series of global interactive pop-ups, from Hong Kong to Seoul and London. 

“By taking popular consumer items out of their context and dressing them up in the aesthetics of No. 5, we return to Chanel’s first creative gesture: transforming a functional object into a desirable luxury item. That’s what Chanel Factory 5 is all about: offering the experience of luxury in everyday life”, stated Thomas du Pré de Saint Maur, Chanel’s Head of Global Creative Resources Fragrance and Beauty.

An experiential marketing approach into retailing can help brands to diversify distribution channels, and develop new shopping experiences according to current consumer demands. Pop-ups drive sales and impact directly in the way the customer perceives and engages with the brand. Unquestionably a win-win strategy.