Design Merchants Study Tour: London

I always love going back to London, where I lived for a few years in my early twenties and developed my love of visual merchandising. This visit did not disappoint.

As soon as we landed we were taken to the Borough Markets, which was a perfect remedy to the grey skies and 4am wake up call. The hustle and bustle of the markets and the theatre of the visual merchandising and the vendors themselves were impressive.

The next morning we went to the Columbia Street Flower Markets where there were masses of stunning flowers and colourful vendors spruiking their wares. Next were the Old Spitalfield Markets, full of interesting designers, and the surrounding area including Brick Lane which had an incredible buzz. Particularly impressive was Box Park, a pop up area of shops made from stacked containers. Everything about it was striking, from the visual merchandising to the social media campaign and pop up events.

During the whole trip we had visited a number of Westfield Shopping Centres and probably next to San Francisco, the Stratford City and London Westfields were my favourites. They had great food areas, innovative interactive pop-ups and cool fit-outs.

Of course the Regent Street and Oxford Street areas had a fantastic array of retail as you would expect. A highlight was definitely Selfridges, which had the most spectacular window displays that I saw on the trip. They also had a concept called Fragrance Lab, where you could get a perfume matched to your personality. This was a collaboration with Future Laboratory, who had also given us a presentation, and it was an amazing sensory customer experience.

Presentations included John Lewis, Westfield, New Look, Echo Chamber and a store tour and presentation at the Burberry Store on Regent Street. Next is our final city on the tour- Barcelona!


London Borough Markets
Beautiful, abundant displays of produce at the Borough Markets.

London Columbia
Columbia Street Flower Markets.

London Nude Shoes
Nude Shoes’ amazing curved shelving with lights that changed colour.

London The Cambridge Satchel Co.
The Cambridge Satchel Co. at Old Spitalfield Markets.

London Box Park
One of the container shops at Box Park.

London Top Shop
In Top Shop on Oxford Street you could get frozen yoghurt or cupcakes without leaving the store.

London Burberry
The massive digital screen in the centre of the Burberry flagship store on Regent Street.

London Selfridges
One of the amazing windows at Selfridges as part of their Beauty Project campaign.

London Frag Lab
Fragrance Lab at Selfridges.