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A trip to the Guess farmers' market concept at Selfridges

The flagship Selfridges store in London is home to a uniquely fresh approach to the pop-up shop from Guess.

Drapers attended the Sean Wotherspoon x Guess capsule collection launch at Selfridges in London last month and spoke to Guess denim product developer Nicolai Marciano and Sean Wotherspoon, founder of Round Two boutique in Richmond, Virginia, and vintage clothing collector, about the ideas behind it. The collection includes men’s and women’s clothing inspired by the colours of Californian agriculture and includes T-shirts, overalls, jumpers, tracksuit bottoms and accessories. Retail prices at Selfridges range from £10 for tote bags to £185 for stretch-denim dungarees and is available until stock runs out.

What is the Farmers’ Market concept?

Wotherspoon: The farmers’ market concept was a way to celebrate my love of produce and fashion. California has a rich agricultural heritage and Guess have incredible archives featuring designs from the 1980s and 1990s. We wanted to use that idea to build an event where people could hang out and wanted to create a collection that paid tribute to that. I’m vegan, so I thought a farmers’ market with fruit and vegetables would be a fresh take on doing a pop-up. When we decided on the idea, we had a look at what fruit and vegetables were in season when the collection was set to launch, and Guess worked up a selection with a Pantone colour to match each one.

What are the important features of the Farmers’ Market concept?

Wotherspoon: We wanted to do something open air. Originally we were going to do it at a pre-existing farmers’ market and then we came up with the idea to do it ourselves. We included local artisans – brands that were centralised in LA. Something that I was really excited that we ended up seeing a lot of people there that weren’t there to purchase clothes but just wanted to enjoy the event.

What are the retail prices? 

Marciano: The collection generally retails from $60 (£45) for graphic tees to $240 (£182) for an overall. Pieces from Darren Romanelli, the founder of Los Angeles-based Parisian salon Pancake Epidemic, who made an appearance to showcase his DRx Romanelli x Guess Jeans USA x Medicom Be@rbricks capsule collection, as well as the pieces from the Farmers Market clothing range which retailed from $350 to $1,500.

How did the manufacturing work?

Marciano: All product is made in the US. That was us feeding back into the roots of Guess. We wanted to create what Guess was doing in its golden era of the 1980s. So, we used archives from the 1980s and 1990s. The inspiration was fruit and vegetable colours, and we used techniques that Guess have used since the 1980s. We had the colour story, the silhouettes and then the process. That is how it is all put together. A lot of development went into it.

Wotherspoon: We had a lot of sample runs too to check whether we liked the dimensions of each item, the technique for the over-dye. We tried to keep it as original as possible, so we were constantly checking that the products and methods were original enough for the collection. In total, we completed the ideation in late November and then the first pop-up was on Cinco de Mayo (5 May) at Guess’s Los Angeles headquarters.

Why did you choose Selfridges as the UK location for the pop-up?

Marciano: It was dependent on our past relationships, and whom we had worked with in the past and who had been supportive of us. The idea was to do at least one big thing in each region of the world. It is about community, who we have showed with and how we can stimulate that community with the Farmers Market concept.

We have a lot history with Selfridges, we launched our first collaboration with Asap Rocky with them, and since they have always been our partner in the UK. I think Selfridges is unique as a department store because they are able to keep it cool and fresh and it is not very standard the way that they do things.

How can someone buy the collection?

Marciano: The collection is available for purchase on the Selfridges website ranging from £80 for T-shirts to £110 for jersey hoodies. The last pop-up is in Perth in Australia in mid-July. 

Why are collaborations important?

Wotherspoon: We are not specifically looking for collaborations. The overall goal is that there is so much in Guess’s history that this younger generation hasn’t really known about. The significant part is streetwear and urbanwear and we are talking to the same demographic of this new generation as we were in the 1980s and 1990s. We are able to connect to that customer base by bringing back ideas from the archives that are relevant today. Collaborations help to elevate that: for instance, we used a collaboration recently to produce some skateboarding tees, which Guess had made in the 1980s, but we used a collaboration, as it allowed us the freedom to experiment with this idea freely. 

Marciano: I think it is really interesting for Guess to keep the integrity and heritage of the brand but work with new people and seeing how they see it through their eyes – it is authentic. This young generation they want to believe in a genuine story and that is what we are giving to them with an interesting twist.

Do you have any plans for similar collaborations and collections in the future?

Wotherspoon: We have a lot of ideas cooking. We have some collaborative ideas floating around. I love to work with people as a broad statement. I am looking forward to us trying to use the collaborative side of things.

Marciano: It is interesting to work with the foundation of vintage Guess, the archives and all those creative assets, and then work with different people to see it through their lens and tell the story in different ways. The best collaboration comes from how rich the story is that you are telling and how you’re telling it.

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