Preloved clothes, customer experience in fashion stores, custom-made responsible design, and NFTs. These are some of the inspiring topics that a group of HAMK students and staff explored during their study trip to Stockholm last summer.
Designing customer experience for Studio Heijne’s concept store
The study visit was a part of HAMK’s Global Fashion Business module, bringing together students of Business Administration, Smart and Sustainable Design, and International Business. The assignment of the student teams was to develop physical and digital customer experience for the Studio Heijne concept store. Studio Heijne manufactures responsible and custom-made clothing designed by the company’s owner, Wendy Heijne. During the visit, Wendy introduced the students to her business premises, products, and plans for the future. Students had an opportunity to ask questions related to the project assignment and get mid-term feedback on the early stages of the project work. The student project was completed during the summer and presented to Wendy in August.
Bechmarking customer experience of fashion stores
The students’ task was to get acquainted with Stockholm’s retail stores, especially from the perspective of the consumer of fashion brands. Students did market and trend research, benchmarking and sought inspiration for the learning assignment. They focused on the following themes:
- How are brand values communicated in business premises?
- Is responsibility or the circular economy visible in the concepts?
- What kind of digital solutions can be found in business premises, and do they provide added value to the customer?
Students observed numerous preloved concepts of well-known brands, stores focusing on the sale of samples and pieces from previous collections, and the brands’ own repair and rental services. Many stores had small-scale digital solutions as part of their physical customer experience (brand’s own application, qr codes, online ordering possibilities), but revolutionary solutions were not yet visible. Their conclusion was that there is still room for new innovations in this area of digitalization.
Exploring possibilities of NFTs in fashion
The fashion business is one of the first industries to join the NFT experiments. Big international brands like Gucci and Louis Vuitton have already made important openings, but small brands like Studio Heijne, also have their first NFT projects ongoing.
At the time of our study trip, The Fotografiska Museum had its first physical NFT exhibition entitled “Somewhere Ethereal”, featuring works by six internationally renowned NFT artists. The exhibition was a perfect place to explore digitalization in the fashion industry in line with the competence goals and contents of the Global Fashion Business module.
The exhibition inspired discussion about the fact that NFT art is sometimes influenced by surprisingly simple techniques (e.g., 3D ball modeling) and concepting those into art. Compared to many other forms of art, in NFT art, commercialism is already at its core. The technologies connected to NFT are not new, as such, as 3D design. However, while in the past, teaching 3D modelling was separated for digital or physical products, in the future, digital and physical products will be increasingly interconnected. The visitors conclude that future designers and artists need to understand the requirements and development of both digital and physical products.
As part of HAMK’s Global Fashion Business module for students of Business Administration, Smart and Sustainable Design and International Business degree programmes, a study trip abroad is organized every year. In the summer of 2022, the trip was organized to Stockholm, Sweden. This is a voluntary part of the module and in addition to the teachers of the module, ten students took part in it. During the trip to Stockholm, a visit was made to the premises of the module’s project customer Studio Heijne, a benchmarking of the customer experience of fashion stores was carried out, and new digital solutions and opportunities were examined.
Ville Siipola, Senior Lecturer in Footwear Design
Eveliina Toivonen, Senior Lecturer in Business Administration