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06 January 2013

Worth Repeating

Posted by Andrew Chan on January 2, 2013

Here's a retail concept that "No Logo" champion Naomi Klein might approve of — maybe. Britain's fabled Selfridges department store is ushering in the new year with a vow of silence. The "Best Department Store in the World" (according to last year's Global Department Store Summit in Paris) is rolling out a "No-Noise" concept to its flagship stores including London starting January 7th and running through the end of February. As part of the promotion, they're even convincing brands to strip their logos in an attempt to reduce visual noise for shoppers. Some of the "de-branded" items on offer include Levi's 501 jeans and the pricey Crème De La Mer face cream line.
According to Selfridges' blog post, "Some of the world’s most recognisable brands have taken the admirable step of removing their logos in our exclusive collection of de-branded products, available in the Quiet Shop." And it's not just about logo-free shopping (or shhopping, as the case may be), as there will be art and meditation, along with food and music, to clear the mind.
The iconic retailer's blog post continues: "We’re reintroducing our Silence Room – an idea first dreamed up in 1909 by Harry Gordon Selfridge" and curating "the best of minimalist design and teamed up with (mod meditation purveyor) Headspace and (returning lit witsThe Idler (hosting "Idle Sundays" throughout the event) to help you find balance in this fast-paced world."
To make sure these minimalist spaces serve as tranquil zones, customers will be asked to leave their cell phones and other digital disruptors at the door, along with their shoes. In return, Selfridges will offer "in-store meditation sessions and pods to deliver mindful messages and meditation practices." For added inspiration, "we will also be showcasing specially commissioned art installations in our windows and staging performances to nurture the imagination, including a performance of John Cage's 4'33" (silent composition)," which will take place on February 23rd.
According to Selfridges creative director Alannah Weston, the silent shopping space "invites customers to find a moment of peace in a world where we are bombarded by a cacophony of information and stimulation." And there will be food for thought, too, as the store is introducing No-Noise "special menus in restaurants (and) mini nutrition clinics, serving fresh juices and sampling organic and biodynamic wines. Don't forget to visit the WAGfree Pop-up bakery, which specialises in delicious wheat and gluten-free goodies."
Follow on Twitter at #nonoise — as you ponder (along with writer William Gibson) whether shoppers will pay a "premium for de-branded designer goods."
As for what Mr. Selfridge himself might think of all this, British TV viewers will get a chance to ponder that starting on Sunday, when ITV debuts its new original series about the department store's founder, starring American actor Jeremy Piven as Harry Gordon Selfridge.
Laura Kuhn