Fashion156 gets the lowdown on plans for a new Secret Arcade.
Designers of the award winning online shopping site “The Shop Floor Project” Samantha and Denise Allan have just announced the launch date for a new site entitled “The Secret Arcade”. Promising to offer the best in the ‘virtual style’ shopping experience- the new concept Arcade will offer a high quality selection of independent British e-tailers all in the setting of an elegant 19th century Parisian Arcade. Much like the award winning “The Shop Floor Project” site, you are free to roam and explore just as you would on a leisurely shopping trip without the aching pinch of your patent heels. From specialist hardware to antique children’s furniture the nostalgic setting offers the ultimate ‘hidden gem hunt’ experience. I asked Samantha and Denise a few questions about the new site and what makes their online shopping experience so unique:
Fashion156: We can't wait for the launch of the new "Secret Arcade", any new, exciting hidden gems to be found?
Samantha & Denise: Absolutely! Each shop we’ve selected for The Secret Arcade is a real gem. But you’ll have to wait until the launch to see them all. We can say however, that all of the shops are very distinctive and of a really high quality - these were are two main criteria when choosing the companies we wanted to work with. Each shop offers something really special from a traditional hardware store (selling hand made nails), amazing jewellers, lighting shops, hand printed textile specialists to an English perfumery - all under one magnificent roof!
F156: What in your opinion makes an original, exciting online shopping experience?
S&D: For us it’s all about trying to replicate a ‘real’ shopping experience within a virtual architectural setting. Inspiration for our site designs comes from exciting places we visit, so for instance, the Oxford Covered Market and the Passage Jouffroy in Paris were our main influences when designing The Secret Arcade. We find that by using real places as a template for an online space, the excitement of shopping and exploration isn’t lost when translated to the virtual world. Obviously it can never fully replicate a real life experience but it does make for an unusual site that our visitors will hopefully really enjoy.
F156: What and where are your favourite shopping haunts? (online or on the street)
S&D: Where to start? Well our main love is for British market towns. The mixture of thriving markets, independent boutiques, great charity shops and old family run businesses such as ironmongeries, haberdasheries and shoe shops is thrilling! We always find little gems whilst exploring these ancient places, often boutiques are hidden away down cobbled alleys or in the shadow of beautiful churches. Our top five market towns to explore are, Beverley in East Yorkshire, Malvern in Worcestershire, Ulverston in Cumbria, Burford in the Cotswolds and Truro in Cornwall.
Online sites we love include Lassco for shop fittings, the Costume Store for unusual items that you can customise and, of course, our award-winning site The Shop Floor Project for goodies by independent designers from around the world.
F156: With the virtual world becoming more and more hyper-real, what would be the ultimate dream for your online shopping vision?
S&D: With each new project we work on, we’re always thinking about how visitors will respond to the space and objects we are showcasing. The ultimate dream for us would be for a visitor to feel so excited about browsing through The Secret Arcade that they forget what time it is, where they physically are and are transported to a different place for a few moments - like a good shop (real or virtual) should do!
F156: With Blue Cross Sales, Summer Mark Downs and VIP Previews on the high street, do you have any special shopping 'events' planned for the new site?
S&D: Yes! We have planned a calendar of events throughout the year. These include a late night Christmas Shopping evening in November which will be ‘time based’ - so at each hour a new aspect of the event is revealed, this will range from special window displays designed by some very special collaborations to great offers and prizes. Also throughout the year we will be featuring the work of final year design students and interviewing the shopkeeper’s within the Arcade - so lots planned which we are really excited about!
“The Secret Arcade” launches on August 1st. You can also visit the award winning site, “The Shop Floor Project” here .
Posted by Julia Kasper