The Trend of the Jack-in-the-Box Shop

18 11 2009


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The term ‘pop-up shop’ seems to have been thrown around quite a lot recently; with fashion designers, artists and well-known brands opening temporary shops across the country. The trend for these fashionable units is a result of both the recession and throw-away fashion; what better way to stay on top of the style game than to close shops after just six months and move on to ‘the next big thing’?!

Last year London became thoroughly ‘pop-tastic’, with shops, restaurants and art galleries taking over the city’s coolest areas. There was a massive rise in portable restaurants, like the Reindeer Restaurant and Flash, and also art galleries like the Proud Gallery, which started merely as a marquee over a car park. Even retail expert Mary Portas opened a hyper pop-up, open for just one hour and selling vintage clothes, and again this year she teamed up with Grazia to open a charity shop in Westfield.

The trend has continued to grow with On|Off, Doc Martens, and heritage brand Baracuta joining the list of pop-ups. Even London Fashion Week fuelled a host of pop-ups across the Capital.

But it’s not just London benefitting from these shops, this year the trend has come to Birmingham.

Back in September, Councillor Martin Mullaney headed up the Style in the City fringe, Pop Up in the City. Using an empty unit on Corporation Street, he worked with a 14 local designers to open a market-place for shoppers during the three-day fashion and beauty festival.

Now that Christmas is here, Harvey Nichols has re-opened their Christmas pop-up gift shop on Level 3 of The Mailbox, selling the best Christmas gifts and to-die-for hampers. They are also holding a Festive Fete for shoppers on 30 November.

Jewellery festival Brilliantly Birmingham has also jumped on board the pop-up train. Teaming up with Pavilions, the temporary boutique will be open from 5-24 December and will showcase a number of designers, giving shoppers the opportunity to buy original hand-crafted jewellery and commission bespoke pieces.

But the latest and one of the most exciting of the pop-ups to arrive in the city comes courtesy of Punch Records and the Sauce Gallery. Pioneering typographer, sleeve designer and artist Swifty will be setting up shop at the Sauce Gallery in Custard Factory from Saturday 12 December 2009-10 January 2010. From originals and one-off prints, to T-shirts, skateboards and stickers, Swifty fans will have plenty to choose from. Partly inspired by Peter Blake’s ‘Toy Shop’, it will also feature Swifty’s Newsagents installation and be home to the A-Z of Swifty Show. For more info, go to www.punch-records.co.uk.

So, it looks like the pop-up trend is going strong, and I have to say that I’ll champion it all the way. An article by The Times summed pop-ups up perfectly, calling them “The epitome of our high-speed, short-attention-span culture.”

Not only do pop-ups keep the cool crowd entertained but they also gives artists and young designers a platform to showcase their work. They also makes the most of empty and under-used units. A win-win all round, I’d say!