By staying backstage, brands can subliminally reach new audiences
Offering unique pieces not available online, the new flagship store of cult South Korean fashion brand Juun.J is darkly triangular, with a shadowy interior, a coffee shop called Felt, and a surreal garden featuring a floating tree. The shop, designed by Seoul-based office WGNB, sets out to translate the signature style of designer Jung Wook-jun – acclaimed for his radical layering techniques and sculptural silhouettes – into a mysterious space located in Dosan Park, the hippest part of Gangnam.
Perhaps surprisingly, it is electronics giant Samsung, owner of Juun.J since 2012, that is picking up the bill. Earlier, it had sponsored the fledgling brand via its fashion fund. According to the Juun.J team, Samsung might not be well-known for its fashion division, but it has always focused on the keywords ‘design’ and ‘fashion.’ Besides collaborations with the likes of Alexander Wang, Swarovski and Giorgio Armani, Samsung is heavily invested in South Korean fashion, owning the brands Kuho, Galaxy and Beanpole as well as Juun.J, all glittering jewels in its ‘brandscaping’ crown.
Where Samsung’s technology naturally pops up in Juun.J’s collections and catwalk shows, the new Seoul store shows no sign of product placements by the electronics brand. Instead, it is a real-world exercise, with exclusive offline merchandise and interactivity pretty much limited to the physical plane. The various elements – store, garden, coffee shop – bring original interactions between customers and the space, according to the Juun.J team, which notes that visitors’ Instagram posts take care of its digital life
With the anti-tech approach to Juun.J’s retail outlet, Samsung cultivates the fashion industry in a semi-altruistic manner. The rejection of in-store embedded marketing tactics reflects the company’s genuine intention to support the arts, and simultaneously helps them build a healthy reputation with the fashion crowd, which might just decide to purchase a Galaxy Note to share its #OOTD.
A version of this piece is featured in Frame 130, our newest print issue. You can buy a copy here.