Aussie band Architecture in Helsinki open retail concept store

Australian indie pop group Architecture in Helsinki have taken an innovative approach to marketing, opening a retail concept store to promote the band’s new album.

The pop-up store opened last week in the Melbourne Central shopping centre and features a variety of clothing, bags, jewellery, nail polish and accessories branded with the musician’s new album name NOW + 4EVA.

The products have been designed in collaboration with local designers and brands such as Dale Hardiman, Kloke, Witu, Tightology and Kester Black.

As well as selling clothing and accessories, the band is selling its album through the store and consumers are able to interact with a sound installation which deconstructs the new songs.

Retail Doctor Group chief executive Brian Walker told SmartCompany the move is “interesting, clever and innovative”.

“What’s interesting about this move is it shows a more extrinsic shift toward the importance of brand,” he says.

“Suddenly businesses which were not retailers are becoming consumer brands. Music, like fashion, tends to have a prescribed lifetime. It’s immediate and has high demand early, but then it fades out when a new range or song comes onto the market, so the pop-up concept fits with this characteristic.”

Walker says this is also reflective of the changing nature of physical stores.

“We’re seeing more and more pop-up stores now and retailers are also changing their communication channels. There is a greater omni-channel focus and communication streams are more diverse than ever.”

“We wanted to release the album in a new and exciting way,” Architecture in Helsinki frontman Cameron Bird said in an interview with Broadsheet.

“Music is such a multi-faceted art form and we felt that by creating an interactive, physical space for our music to be listened to, we can present the album with visual and tactile components.”

Bird says the project was completely conceptualised and funded by the brand.

“We chose to collaborate with different Melbourne makers and artists because I really enjoy the way that collaborations help you reassess and recognise your own processes,” he said.

“None of us had much experience with retail. So working to realise this image in my head has been a really interesting challenge.”

Bird told Broadsheet he doesn’t mind looking like the “black sheep” among the retail chain stores, and hoped the pop-up shop would be seen by a broad cross-section of humanity.

Walker says this “cross-pollination” will introduce more people to both the band and the local designers.

“Its range is reflective of the target audience, which is defined by the music, but people will walk past who have no idea who the band are,” he said.

“Australian designers can be very successful, but it’s been a challenging environment for many in the past few years and this is an innovative way to build brands by joining music and fashion.”

SmartCompany contacted Architecture in Helsinki, but there was no response prior to publication.

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