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With 2015 just around the corner, we're taking a look back at LA's retail and fashion scene over the last 15 years. While our Year in Racked highlights the best of 2014, Five Years in Fashion focuses on the years 2000, 2005, 2010, and what's to come for 2015. Let's take a jog through memory lane, shall we?
Oh god, make the selfie stick shopping movement a swift and painless one. Rendering via The Bloc
Now that we've looked back on LA's retail landscape, let's set our sights on the future of our city's shopping scene. As seen with next year's many megadevelopment openings, we can expect more al fresco utopias that think outside of the dead and dying megamall box.
When we last checked in with our industry insider pals, they predicted that boutique-y stretches like Melrose Place would rise again (check), same-day delivery would cater to click-happy shoppers (check), and global brands would make their Stateside debut in Cali (check and check). We tapped Decades's Cameron Silver (who's actually penning a piece on the subject for Now Fashion) and fashion journalist/The Hive co-founder (and Racked guest editor!) Melissa Magsaysay to dust off their crystal balls and tell us what the future may hold for LA retail therapy. Read on below and weigh in on the subject in the comments.
The Glendale Galleria during its major makeover last year.
Shoppers will ditch the malls and department stores. Opening Ceremony blogger (and Harvard Lampoon editor) Alexis Wilkinson writes, "Why mill around in a concrete block for an hour when you can sit in your pajamas for 15 minutes?"
Cameron Silver agrees: "The idea of going to the mall is so tedious and horrendous—It's such a SoCal phenomenon, but I just don't know anyone who goes to The Grove, [which is] extremely successful," but tends to be tourist-heavy. "There's nothing there that I can't buy online. If I were Rick Caruso, I'd really be addressing that in a very serious matter because the consumer buying trends are changing in such a drastic way."
LA's luxury department stores like Neiman Marcus and Barneys New York are "dinosaurs to me," says Silver. "They have become so watered-down because they were scared during the financial crisis, and now they are completely non-distinctive." Nordstrom, surprisingly, "does what it does really well; it has a better buy than Neiman's," he tells us.
Image via Opening Ceremony
Retailers will get creative. "I predict and hope that retail will continue to be more personal and creative in the way spaces are chosen, interiors are designed and services are tailored to shoppers," says Magsaysay. "Look at Elder Statesman, nestled away in an assuming home or Irene Neuwirth's gorgeous and homey space complete with a kitchen."
Silver predicts we'll start seeing more "atmospheric, eclectic, multi-generational, and multi-price" retailers like Dover Street Market and Opening Ceremony that offer "a different way of shopping. I want to be seduced, not sold to—I think a lot of those edgy retailers are the ones that are going to do well."
Urban Decay's Fashion Island flagship. Image via Urban Decay
Retailers will need to get high-tech. As we've seen with Urban Decay's innovative beauty haven and True Religion's screen-happy BevCenter shop, brands will find ways to stay connected to shoppers in-store and through mobile devices. "There are things that have yet to be invented, but those who have been on the omni-channel bandwagon are in," says Silver.
Magsaysay says one such boutique that's getting it right is Pacific Palisades designer shop Elyse Walker. "I love how well [she] knows her customer and caters to her thoroughly from personal shopping to social media."
Nicole Richie presents her clothing collection on QVC. Image via
Surprise: QVC could be the way of the future. "The ones who are laughing all the way to the bank are [TV shopping channel and website] QVC," says Silver. A regular collaborator with designers and stylists, "they're offering everything, and you can watch TV and be entertained. They're the original 'online retailer.'"
· All Five Years in Fashion Posts [Racked]
· Madison's Founders On How LA Dressed in the Year 2000 [Racked]
· In 2005, LA Was All About Kitson and Robertson Boulevard [Racked]
· Fashion's Night Out, Santa Monica Place & Collabs Ruled 2010 [Racked]