Extending your taste beyond what you wear

Fashion and food industries are going above and beyond to provide differentiated experiences…

Many might query the link between food and fashion. Up until now they have sat within their separate categories and have tended to operate independently. (Although I’m sure Lady Gaga – who sported that notorious meat dress at the 2010 Video Music Awards – begs to differ).

Speaking from the perspective of a fashion graduate and devoted foodie, it’s been incredibly interesting to witness how in recent times these two worlds are beginning to combine forces. It was back in 2009 when the fashion world found its new collaborative nature with food and drink companies; Marni’s macaroons, Christian Louboutin’s special shoe flute for Piper Heidsieck, alongside the creative packaging of Coca Cola by designers including Marc Jacobs, Karl Lagerfeld, Jean Paul Gautier and Donatella Versace to name a few.

Presently, gastronomy is entering fashion retail environments as consumers are seeking sensorial and meaningful experiences over a simple material purchase. For brands, experiential retailing is a means of catering to this desire. Most recently, British luxury brand Burberry opened Thomas’s, a cafe in its Regent Street flagship store which offers an all-day tasting menu of UK sourced British produce located in adjacency to its gifting area, allowing customers to make leisurely purchases whilst enjoying a nice spot of tea.

Conversely, not everyone has received the fashion and food memo.  On the opposite end of the spectrum, BUNYADI, a new London restaurant is actually removing clothing from the equation with its astonishing naked dining concept which will allow diners to enjoy the entirety of their meal in the nude amongst other equally nude diners. The concept has already racked up (no pun intended) a 41,782 people waiting list of attendees, one of which is my open minded sister and her bemused partner! Who knew Londoners were so keen to bare all. According to Sebastian Lyall, the man behind the naked concept, there were three key factors he wanted to include. Firstly, healthy food – it’s now trendy to be healthy and  consumers are using health foods as a means of communicating their status. Therefore the restaurant will be “using clean food, naked food” – very apt. Secondly, a liberation from technology, disconnecting to reconnect, all phones will be forbidden from the dining experience. And thirdly – and most importantly – optional clothing. Lyall states “we are creating an atmosphere inside the restaurant, where if you feel comfortable, you can take your gown off – which we give you when you arrive.”

So there you have it. Whether it’s being dressed up, or dressed down, it is evident that the fashion and food industries are going above and beyond to provide differentiated experiences for their customers. To add to this it is important to consider how whilst physical fashion retailing is slowing, food retailing is on the rise. Therefore, the merging of fashion and food seems very much like a natural progression for fashion brands to enhance their competitive edge by exploring an in-store lifestyle offer and experience.

Written by Annabel (intern)

The Herd