LONDON — Selfridges is gearing up to reopen its physical spaces on April 12, but there’s no going back to business as usual for the British department store.
Last year, it launched its ambitious five-year sustainability plan, Project Earth, and splashed a giant sign across its Oxford Street flagship that read “Let’s Change the Way We Shop.” In the same spirit, the company is now unveiling a yearlong campaign celebrating the great outdoors and exploring “the intersection of nature and culture.”
The campaign is a direct response to the “boom in outdoor appreciation” after prolonged global lockdowns have kept the majority of the population confined within the four walls of their homes. It also marks a shift away from seasonal campaigns for the retailer, which will instead explore the theme of nature throughout 2021.
“At a time when the unpredictability of change has become our new constant, we wanted our creative theme to be intuitive, responsive and flexible. More broadly, a move away from seasonal campaigns means we can be more sustainable in our creative production and delivery, while exploring the ideas which inspire us in depth,” said Hannah Emslie, the retailer’s creative director. “‘Good Nature’ will set the tone for the year, which is a feeling of optimism and positivity in anticipation of a time of restoration, when we can reconnect with customers and communities.”
Emslie and her team had to flex their creative muscle even more so than usual to bring nature into the physical store, as well as Selfridges.com.
A series of digital art commissions that “bring nature to the digital space” are also set to launch on the retailer’s site. Post-opening, shoppers will be able to discover technical gear for all sorts of outdoor activities in-store, as well as vintage products from outdoor brands like The North Face and an exhibition by Jonathan Schofield. A podcast dubbed “Pleasure Series” is set to launch this week and has been designed to be enjoyed outdoors.
“We want our spaces to be social places where friends can come together, to escape and to have fun, and to be more than a shop for our communities,” said Emslie, pointing to the company’s focus on the social aspect of shopping. She added that digital experiences will continue to remain a focus post-lockdown.
Throughout the year, seasonal events will be rolled out — the difference here being that seasons will be explored through the lens of nature, not the fashion calendar.
“The initiative puts sustainability at the heart of our decision making and is centered on working towards a future that’s better for people and the planet,” added Emslie.