At the end of 2016 we were fortunate to be part of a unique, technology-leading project — the adidas ‘Knit For You’ pop-up store. This is the latest concept in adidas’ Futurecraft initiative which, as the name suggests, pushes product personalisation and manufacturing to the next level. On entering the store, shoppers are invited to use interactive body-scanning technology to customise and co-create their own bespoke merino sweater that is then knitted on location.
THE BAKERY’s stylist, Alexandra, merchandised and styled parts of the store in collaboration with the adidas team. We caught up with her on what it was like to work with the pioneering sportswear brand and be part of industry-leading innovation.
TB: Alexandra, you’re a stylist by trade, what was it like to collaborate on a visual merchandising project for such an influential brand as adidas?
AM: It was so incredibly smooth! The Design Director from adidas had come up with a vision and had created visuals of what he imagined it would look like in the store. Then we had to approach it from a more practical level: how we were going to get the sweaters to hang, the density, the tunnels, and how to merchandise the colours. The team had already created all the material structures for us, which made it very easy. Luckily my assistant is very good at practical installations and working out how things should be installed, so it was great to collaborate with him.
TB: You are used to working on projects that allow for a lot of creative freedom. How were you able to harness your creativity and achieve your desired aesthetic for this project?
AM: There was a lot of fun, creative moments throughout the project, for example the selection of the colours. We also had to decide how to hang the clothes throughout the store, and to display everything best on the metal structures and the mannequins. I found the whole process totally smooth, it all came together really well.
TB: The ‘Knit For You’ pop-up is pushing the boundaries of fashion production and retail, allowing customers to design their own, bespoke item of clothing on site. How did it feel to be surrounded by such innovative technology?
AM: It was really exciting. It makes the creative process not so foreign – you’re not wondering where your clothes come from. You feel involved, and it makes you more committed to the item of clothing. I’m reading this book by Marie Kondo about how everything you own should spark joy. I think if you are actually involved in the creative and the making process – you know that the garment fits you perfectly because your body was scanned, you chose the colours and the pattern – then that item you own has a lot of good feelings connected to it. The more thoughtfulness that goes into it and the more involved that you are, then it becomes much more than, ‘Oh I’m just going to buy this item’. You’ve actually thought about it and why you want to wear it.
TB: The store has a very futuristic feel. How were you able to capture the spirit of the project in the overall aesthetic of the store?
AM: I think all the space and the minimalism helps to give a futuristic feel. Also the geometric design of the hangers, and the merino material of the jumpers. With the colours I wanted to keep them balanced and really fresh. Obviously it’s winter so you want to have those winter colours in there, but then you want to still put some brightness in with the hot pink and the greens to keep it balanced.
TB: The sweater display in the main window looks almost like a museum installation. How long did you spend getting it perfect?
AM: It probably took around a day and a half. The actual hanging went really quickly once we got started, it just took time to work out the first initial steps. It’s quite abstract, from far away it’s this wall of soft colour and you wonder, ‘What’s that made out of’, and then when you get close you realise, ‘Ahh sweaters, that’s awesome!’
TB: Did you keep count of how many sweaters you hung in total?
AM: I believe they had around 200, but we didn’t use anywhere near all those. It was a lot! I should’ve kept count!
Photographs are taken for adidas by our talented photographer Dahahm.
Check out more of Alexandra’s and Dahahm’s work in their portfolios.