There is so much more to fashion week than the runway shows. Many brands arrive in Paris and set up showrooms to host scheduled meetings with buyers, media and influencers throughout the week to take them through their new collections. The week offers a unique opportunity to develop relationships with clients both old and new.
To understand the importance of the showroom, one first needs to understand the week. There are meetings scheduled all day, every day and parties and events every evening. Meaning to make that one-hour meeting count, the showroom needs to stand out.
If you imagine that a buyer who is visiting your showroom may see at least 20 showrooms throughout the week, making your short meeting with them memorable is the key objective. Once one meeting is over, it’s into an Uber and off to the next one. With coffee as their fuel, lunch breaks are scarce and each brand wants to make that short interaction impactful and let their brand stand out in what will feel like a bright, colourful blur by the end of the week.
That’s where we come in.
We worked with Clarks at Paris Fashion Week to curate a multifaceted space that is both an oasis of calm in the frenzy of Paris, but also intriguing and inspiring. The venue selected for the showroom was a two-story gallery space in Le Marais.
On the first floor, we curated an elegant and premium space with bespoke display units to showcase a collection of Clarks shoes. The units were visually striking but allowed the shoes to shine. A selection of large plants were dispersed throughout the floor and friendly front of house staff welcomed guests upon arrival, offering hot drinks and canapés as they led guests in from the cold and into the relaxing waiting area.
Downstairs, we transformed the space into a sleek and crisp gallery area, showcasing the history and cultural influence Clarks has had across different countries.
In order to get this area right, we worked closely with the brand team to understand what needed to be communicated to guests. The season was focussed on the Desert Boot, celebrating its 70-year history. We created various manifestations of the Desert Boot using 3D printing techniques, allowing guests an insight into the manufacturing process.
The walls of the showroom had large images installed which showcased the impact the brand has had organically within the Jamaican community. Elsewhere in the room large television screens gave an insight into the history behind the Clarks brand.
While the week was full of meetings, Thursday was the night chosen for their invite-only event. With media, brand ambassadors, buyers and influencers visiting, the champagne started flowing by midday.
Downstairs, influential artists showcased their take on the Desert Boot in front of an audience. With live custom-dying taking place from artist Stain Shade, guests received their own unique pair of Desert Boots, tote bags and tees.
As the space began to fill, the Jamaican Spiced Rum and Ting’s were the hottest accessory with live music and DJs playing throughout the night. Suddenly the lights went out and the artist, Endless jumped from the shadows and performed a live art piece of paint and fire on a sculpture of boots we had designed specifically for his performance. These live art installations produced one-off pieces that can never be reproduced.
In a week of parties, where traditionally people stay for around an hour, the Clarks showroom was filled from the mid-afternoon well into the evening. With VIPs and influencers from Maya Jama to Loyle Carner, Skepta and Kano rubbing shoulders and a venue at capacity with a line outside all evening, the event was the talk of the week.
We set up a step and repeat wall with a photographer who was able to provide the brand with high-quality images in real-time. This allowed their team to network, knowing that we were able to capture content of multiple clients all engaging with their products, within a unique environment.
The next day, the showroom was restored to it’s clean, crisp state and the meetings continued as before, while an electric energy from the previous night still lingered.
The social media response that followed confirmed that the brand had created an event that was going to be remembered. The impact Clarks was having at fashion week had ultimately changed; solidifying them as one of the favourites to visit for many of the most influential characters that attend fashion week.
At Okoru, we pride ourselves on being able to curate these experiences. We have an innate understanding of what it means to organically celebrate a brand, delivering a memorable experience in a subtle and nuanced but profoundly impactful way.