Farfetch, the online fashion retailer announced plans for a new retail technology incubator in central London last week, after revealing that they had acquired a piece of prime fashion retail real estate in the form of London fashion boutique, Browns.
Jose Neves, Farfetch’s founder and chief executive has described the move as an attempt to develop ‘the store of the future.’ The shop will continue to function as Browns, selling unique and trend-setting fashion items which capitalise on the brand’s existing reputation for introducing new labels to consumers – but it will also be and testing ideas for Farfetch – by introducing and piloting different retail technology concepts in a live environment.
Focusing on independent boutiques, Farfetch currently sells products from around 300 different retail outlets from all over the world – allowing online shoppers to access and purchase really unusual or hard to find ‘far-fetched’ fashion items, with the slogan ‘never meet your double.’ Prior to the acquisition, Browns was a already a member of the Farfetch network for over two years, so it seemed a natural progression for the online brand to make this acquisition and experiment with a multichannel offer, as Neves confirms:
“The vision is to answer the question ‘How will people shop for luxury fashion five or 10 years into the future?’ This won’t be purely online. The answer, we believe, will be a seamless merge of a fantastic physical experience with powerful, yet subtle technology. Browns is the perfect partner for this evolution.”
Joining Farfetch in the acquisition as new chief executive of Browns, is the former fashion director of Net-a-Porter, Holli Rogers. Her new role will involve responsibility for Browns’ retail offering both online and offline.
As always, we’ll be very interested to see how this one develops and what sort of innovative retail technology they will be bringing to the table – and if we hear of any interesting developments we’ll be sure to report them here.