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Evolving a successful concept can present some challenges. How do we address the need for progress while respecting the existing identity? Just how challenging can we be without undermining the good work that has gone before? We initially worked with Shasa in 2010, designing a new concept for this fast fashion brand, to help them grow across the southern states of North America. This led to the opening of a Houston flagship, which anchored the brand’s expansion in Texas and since then we have continued to be involved with Shasa on a smaller scale, monitoring how the concept has been applied and meeting up occasionally when they are in Europe or we are in the States. In late 2011 Shasa asked us to look at a new project, to refresh the concept in preparation for the next phase in the development of the brand.

The chosen site in Cancun had a few specific design challenges. The exterior is typical of a contemporary Mexican mall – a traditional streetscape where the larger operators take a few units and then attempt to bring those together with finishes, signage and graphics. The result is impactful, successfully conveying the scale of the store despite the small ground floor entrance.

The typical Shasa customer is a fashion-forward young woman between the age of 16 – 25, looking for everyday must-haves or the perfect outfit in fashion and accessories. A sense of ‘buy it now or miss out’ is key to the brand’s offer, with its rapid turnover of new looks and trends. Our client was interested in how they could attract new customers, who may have been unaware of Shasa and their Mexican roots, and allow their brand to expand and evolve. This was initially briefed as a refresh exercise, but in reality we have built on our earlier concept to design a completely new experience.

We proposed some major changes to the environment, which has led to a much lighter feel to the space, appealing to the feminine customer, becoming less focused on partywear and accommodating everyday casual fashion. We took the chance to further enhance the femininity and fashionability through bold communication that promotes the brand and its attitude with a new confidence. The new concept is bright and fresh, with a dynamic monochrome palette that frames the stock perfectly.

The general product offer is spread over the two floors, with the ground floor focusing on impulse buys and partywear, and on the first, the shoe department, fitting rooms and lounge area to relax. This was Shasa’s first ever two-floor site, which creates the issue of navigation and moving the customer through the space, from the small ground floor onto the larger upper floor where most of the product is located. For the first time Shasa has created key destinations and departments within these complex spaces.

The details generally have a more refined look and feel than previous Shasa stores, which is achieved through higher quality finishes, including polished, high-gloss floor tiles, glass trims and reflective surfaces, offset against subtle geometric graphic treatments. There is also a lighter approach to the furniture and surrounds for featured areas, which uses a fine white painted metal frame detail.

Unique signage and graphic treatments fill the store with a sense of excitement and personality and a more feminine and conversational tone of voice. This tone is integrated into standard departmental signage to make it less formal, more fashionable and more fun. Cancun is Shasa’s largest store to date and navigation plays an important part in helping to guide the customer between the levels. Large-scale photography is used to present the editorial and fashion mood in space. The overall impact is impressive, creating an experience that has global appeal in this very competitive market sector. Plans are underway to open the next major store in Veracruz and further develop the concept for future sites in the US. The new concept moves the brand forward without undermining its previous identity, evolving in preparation for the next phase of growth.

Designed by Dalziel and Pow

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