Fashionable food: Why fashion houses are branching out into edible merchandise
The fashion industry has never been one to associate itself with food, but the industry is starting to get a taste for all things edible. The most recent example of this is Italian fashion house Prada, who will be opening a branch of their Marchesi 1824 Bakery in London’s Mayfair, where they’ll be serving fashionistas a variety of sweet treats, including Italian pastries and chocolates.
Another high end sartorial giant that have ventured into edible merchandise is Prada’s fellow Italian fashion house Fendi, who opened its own kiosk in Selfridges last summer, offering ice lollies branded with their famous monogram. In 2017, US designer brand Ralph Lauren also opened Ralph’s Coffee & Bar in its Regent Street flagship store to go with similar installations in their stores in New York, Chicago and Paris. Burberry also opened Thomas’s Café in their flagship store around the corner from Ralph Lauren’s eatery on Regent Street.
So what has prompted fashion’s new obsession with food? As expected, social media has played a huge role. Posting images of visually appealing food has always been a popular trend on Instagram, with influencers taking pictures of their meals and posing in instagrammable eateries like Sketch in London and Manchester’s Menagerie. That combined with the importance of style and all things visually appealing on Instagram means that fashionable food creates the perfect opportunity for influencers to flock to high end stores to get the perfect shot.
There’s also the factor of affordability; fashion enthusiasts are always looking for a piece of their favourite brand but it isn’t always accessible without having to make a big investment. A £4 Fendi lolly is a lot easier on the purse strings than a Fendi dress carrying a four figure price tag and it gives a wider market the opportunity to experience the luxury brand.
It also enhances the shopping experience for customers. More people are choosing to shop online so retailers are forever trying to find new ways to draw customers into their stores. Having a café or food kiosk in store adds a social element to the shopping experience, something that you’re unable to replicate while sitting at home in front of a computer.
It may be worthwhile for the high street to follow suit and turn shopping into a social experience again.