Drapers explores Timberland’s new “purpose-led”, sustainable store in London’s West End.
An urban oasis has emerged in the centre of London’s Soho. Trees overhead, pebbles underfoot, walls bedecked in foliage and the fresh scent of greenery make a trip to Timberland’s new store on Carnaby Street feel less like a city shopping experience, and more like a journey to the outdoors.
The 2,594 sq ft store, which was created in partnership with creative agency Dalziel & Pow, is Timberland’s first “purpose-led” flagship in Europe. It has been designed with the aim of bringing nature into the city, as well as highlighting Timberland’s sustainable innovations across its product and wider business.
When Drapers takes a tour of the space, Argu Secilmis, vice-president of global marketing, explains that the store represents a wider move for the brand. It is communicating its new brand identity to shoppers: an identity that marries Timberland’s outdoor heritage with its increasing focus on sustainability.
“This is the start of a new brand evolution,” he says. “The essence of the store is to tell consumers who we are and what we are about. We haven’t told this story for years, and we have a desire to change the brand perception for a new generation of consumers.”
Sustainability and what Secilmis describes as the brand’s “eco-leadership” are central to the store and its design. The space is designed and built in an eco-friendly manner: materials from recycled industrial waste are utilised across the store in fittings and furniture, and mannequins are made from an eco-friendly “bio-resin”. The store also features a “living” green wall and trees, which add to the sense that the store is grounded in nature.
The space aims to show the two aspects of the brand: our eco-leadership and the storytelling of our heritage
Argu Secilmis, Timberland
Alongside these more practical aspects, communication of the brand’s purpose is key to the store design. The store brings its “CSR pillars” to life with real, transparent pillars that tower through the store, referencing to Timberland’s use of recycled materials, community projects and technological innovations within its products. One pillar contains an example of the plastic bottles the brand recycles into garments, while another holds a branch of a tree, signifying Timberland’s commitment to restore deforested areas.
Additionally, a large digital screen projects the message of the brand’s “Nature Needs Heroes” campaign, which committed Timberland to planting 50 million trees by 2025. A transparent “community table” sits in the centre of the space and provides examples of how small actions have driven noticeable change in communities, such as the “urban greening” practice of planting trees in cities.
Alongside the brand’s sustainable storytelling, its roots in the outdoors are also key to the design.
“The space aims to show the two aspects of the brand: our eco-leadership and the storytelling of our heritage,” says Secilmis. “We want to bring that to life for the shoppers.”
Melissa Rotta Loria, brand marketing and creative director for Timberland EMEA, explains: “We’re bringing the outdoors inside in a literal way, with points of connection inside the space.”
Elements of this include glass floor panels placed over white stones and preserved moss, to give the sense that the visitor is walking above outside ground. Additionally, the fitting rooms feature living walls of plants and are home to impressive lighting set-up that allows users to replicate sunny, cloudy or rainy lighting conditions in the cubicles.
The store offers footwear, apparel and accessories for men, women and children, and also includes a “Design Your Own” station, where shoppers can customise styles. Womenswear is an increasing focus for the Timberland, and Secilmis notes that it is seeking to move away from being known primarily as a menswear label, to be known more as a lifestyle brand.
The store design seeks to reflect this – and is far more gender neutral than previous designs thanks to light, bright fittings and a less industrial focus than other locations.
“A priority within the space has been that we’ve been working on how better to attract women to the stores and the store today is designed to appeal to a younger and also to female shoppers,” notes Rotta Loria.
Two additional “purpose-led” Timberland stores – one in Philadelphia and one in New York – are set to open this autumn, and the concept will be the model for all new stores opened by the brand in the future. In addition, over the next 12 months Secilmis says the brand will “transform” 15%-20% of the current fleet into the new purpose-driven concept.
As a statement of intent, Timberland’s new store is an impressive tool communicating the brand’s sustainable credentials to modern shoppers, and provides clear insight into the brand’s future plans and ambitions.