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Store design gets shabby for 2012, says VM expert

Shabby chic, repetition and humour are among the key visual merchandising trends for 2012, according to Drapers stores editor John Ryan.

Speaking at his Around the World in 20 Stores presentation on the Contemporary Stage yesterday, Ryan picked out Topman’s The General Store in Shoreditch (pictured) as an example of the shabby chic technique.

“It’s in an old warehouse and the head of VM sourced knackered bits of furniture for it,” said Ryan. “It looks nothing like Topman and is designed to look like an indie.” The General Store sells Topman merchandise and specially commissioned pieces from emerging designers.

Repetition is also an important technique, said Ryan, highlighting Brazilian footwear brand Havaianas’ store in Covent Garden as an example, specifically its floor-to-ceiling wall of brightly coloured flip-flops. “Repetition is incredibly powerful if used well, particularly with colour blocking,” said Ryan.

He noted that taxidermy has been a popular technique to create humour, holding up White Stuff in Edinburgh as an example of a quirky store. “If you have access to a stuffed animal, put them in your shop,” Ryan advised.

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