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Australian womenswear label Katies kicks off its seventh decade by launching a vibrant new take on fashion retail, developed in collaboration with London consultancy HMKM. The client’s ambition was to revolutionise the brand’s position in the Australian marketplace, redefining how value fashion is delivered and presented, and forging an emotional connection between Katies and its core costumer; a grounded, self-confident, stylish woman, looking for an experience which delivers on accessibility, relevance, service and inspiration.

HMKM’s strategy was defined by the notion that Katies should be a place, rather than just a store. The balance between aspiration and accessibility is clearly signalled by the sleek lines of the shopfront — an open, inviting frame lined in warm grey tiles, and pierced with a dramatic V-shaped display window. Inside, curving wall-frames and nested furniture come in sun-bleached timber or pale washes of colour, played off against a geometric-patterned rug and angular lighting raft.

Conventional cash tills are replaced with a central inspiration hub, allowing customers to hang out, interact, and engage with the brand — whether it’s exploring lookbooks, watching styling How-To’s, browsing new products, or connecting directly with the store team. A standout fitting room experience forms a key part of the customer journey; from cleverly-pitched lighting to phone chargers to individual iPads (which allow customers to purchase without leaving the fitting rooms), every detail has been carefully considered.

By putting the customer’s relationship with the brand at the heart of the experience, this relaunch is more than a new look – it’s a whole new way of thinking. HMKM and Katies worked closely together to create a concept that delivers on both commercial and emotional levels, empowering the customer and allowing her to meaningfully reconnect with the brand. The new Katies is a welcoming, stimulating destination; a place to gather, share, shop and be inspired.

The brand is committed to making every woman look good, and feel great — a vision expressed in a customer-centric store concept that focuses on experiences rather than transactions, and allows the customer to shine. The new concept made its debut at Westfield’s Fountain Gate mall in Melbourne, marking the first stage in a tiered roll-out which will cascade across the chain in the coming years.

Design: HMKM
Photography: Cloakroom Media

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