News 27.06.2022

Need to Know

Hypebeast’s grand foray into bricks-and-mortar, John Lewis injects Botox into its list of services, and adults represent a significant slice of the toy market.

Hypebeast unveils a seven-storey streetwear universe

HBX flagship store by Hypebeast, US
Hypebeans café at the HBX flagship store by Hypebeast, US
Hypebeans café at the HBX flagship store by Hypebeast, US

New York – Continuing its success as a key mediator in the streetwear scene, Hypebeast has embarked on its biggest venture yet: opening a new headquarters with public-facing elements. The destination, in New York’s Chinatown, will house a flagship HBX store and a company-run Hypebeans coffee shop. With the aim of creating a sense of community, the seven-storey bricks-and-mortar HQ will also feature event and office spaces.

While other direct-to-consumer (DTC) brands have made similar moves into the physical trading space in recent years, this destination reflects the growing trend of digital-first brands cementing their status beyond social media outlets. ‘Evolving with the dynamic perspective of HBX, the two-storey space is meant to be fluid and ever-changing,’ says the brand in a press release. ‘On the ground floor, the space can seamlessly transform from a neighbourhood courtyard into an event space, an exhibition or a pop-up.’

In this way, the HQ tunes in to the tenets of Hyperphysical Stores, where bricks-and-mortar spaces are evolving to be more engaging, sensorial and memorable.

Strategic opportunity

Digital-first businesses should experiment with physical destinations, initially partnering with hospitality venues or large retailers to test community-centric concepts

Designer Adam Naccarato is queering typography

Queering by Adam Naccarato, US Queering by Adam Naccarato, US
Queering by Adam Naccarato, US Queering by Adam Naccarato, US

New York – With his Queering typeface, graphic designer Adam Naccarato is preserving the legacy of the queer lexicon, as well as signalling its capacity for continual evolution. The open-source font is free to download with the option to donate to the Ali Forney LGBTQ+ Center in Harlem, which offers housing and other services for queer adolescents.

Drawing inspiration from vintage queer publications and protest posters from the 1970s and 1980s, the typeface is bold and direct. It includes a wide variety of queer unicode emojis, as well as additional images and terms like ENBY, which is shorthand for non-binary. ‘There’s a storied tradition of shorthand in the queer community where language wasn’t always as inclusive as it is now,’ explains Naccarato.

Once considered a neutral medium, designers have been trying to dismantle the gender tropes that pervade fonts and typography. By preserving the movement’s past while fundraising for critical resources for the queer community, Naccarato is honouring queer history while ushering it into the future.

Strategic opportunity

For Pride month, how can companies release open-source products that can act as fundraisers for queer charities and communities?

John Lewis welcomes Botox into its stores

UK – The retailer is expanding its existing beauty and aesthetic services to include Botox treatments as part of its growing partnership with medical aesthetics company Cavendish Clinic. With treatments including CoolSculpting and EmSculpt, HydraFacial and Botox injections, the retailer’s offer reflects an ongoing shift towards democratised aesthetic treatments.

Launching in six stores, including Milton Keynes, Southampton, Cambridge, Kingston and Peter Jones in Sloane Square, the introduction of Botox treatments points to a future when such services will be increasingly normalised in retail destinations. The move also comes following John Lewis’s boom in home beauty technology. ‘There’s headroom to open more stores and [ask] what does wellness look like? It’s an area that’s still developing,’ says Jason Wilary-Attew, head of beauty at John Lewis.

By offering such an expert-led service in its store environments, John Lewis tunes in to the demand for Accredited Beauty – a shift that explores how consumers are seeking proof points on product quality, efficacy and sustainability.

John Lewis, UK

Strategic opportunity

In future, more retailers are likely to expand their beauty services to include aesthetic treatments. Begin scouting for potential partnerships with accredited beauty clinics to ensure efficacy in your services

Stat: Adults are driving toy sales in the US

X11 global flagship store by BloomDesign, Shanghai X11 global flagship store by BloomDesign, Shanghai

An unexpected consumer group is driving growth in the US toy market: grown-ups. And adults aren’t just buying toys for their children, they’re playing with them, too. According to research by data tracker NPD, a consumer group dubbed ‘kidults’ by industry insiders has helped US toy sales soar by 37% over the past two years, reaching £23.3bn ($28.6bn, €27.1bn) in 2021.

The research suggests that adults are turning to board games, arts and crafts, and building sets to bolster their mental wellbeing and mindfulness. In response, companies are launching toys that have been designed specifically for adults, tweaking existing products to fit this age group, and rolling out more targeted marketing campaigns.

And while we have previously seen adult consumers purchasing collectable toys, as in the case of the X11 flagship store in Shanghai, this development suggests that adults are actively using toys as a means of relaxation, something we have explored in the Pleasure Revolution.

Strategic opportunity

While there is so much focus on digital gaming, how can companies take a step back and create physical games designed to instil mindfulness and attention?

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