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What's so Weird About Being "Weird""?

Unique. Curious. Strange. Surreal. Outlandish. Odd. Peculiar. Bizarre. Different.

During the ideation of The Retail Duo's IRDC 2022 Interactive Session Presentation there was a common denominator to all our ideas and findings when as we brainstormed: fun with a little bit of weirdness. We enjoyed diving into bring to light numerous examples across multiple genres which all had two things in common: bringing JOY to its viewers and there always appeared to be an unexpected TWIST. Along the way we also found that you know what, who says being so called "weird" or different is a bad thing? In fact, today it is just the opposite. We are finally embracing individuality and stretching creativity leaps and bounds when it comes to designing and creating spaces and places.

Balenciaga photo courtesy of windowswear.

Radical Retail

Store environments are becoming one of the most exciting spaces to be on the sidelines observing, or for us at times being able to be a part of creating. Hospitality, residential and other commercial spaces are all seeing shifts in how they traditionally look but retail is coming out of COVID-19 as the standout. Brands are re-thinking their store locations, product offerings and most of all the overall themes or the way the customer meets the range. The recipe to success also seems to be a can't miss collaboration, where pairing such things as bagels and handbags, offers people a literal taste of the brand in an unusual or memorable way. Repetition and exaggeration of scale, material and texture allows for massive impact. Think BALENCIAGA and their pink faux fur store on Mount St in London. We also could not get enough of JACQUEMUS '24/24', 'Le Bleu' and 'Le Vestiaire'. Who doesn't love a giant vending machine or a tone on tone space dedicated to the interior replace reminiscent of an aquatic centre change room? We can smell the chlorine!

GENTLE MONSTER has been in this game for a while now with their store interiors that always offer playful ness and elements of WTF?!?! Photo courtesy of windowswear.

“You have this ability to

find beauty in weird places.”

Kamila Shamsey – Writer & Novelist

A pool float look from Moschino spring summer ’23. - Credit: Getty Images

Remarkable Runways

For decades fashion designers are always at the helm it would seem of setting the tones for trends and pushing boundaries. Social commentaries are also no stranger to the runway scene, which is the ultimate platform for engagement and attention. Loewe's Spring 2023 Menswear Collection was a "fusion of the organic and the fabricated" Johnathan Anderson stated. The contrast in "weird' fabrics and combinations made people's heads turn. Perhaps one of the most eye-catching collections, which comes as no surprise was Jeremy Scott's MOSCHINO Milan Fashion Week showing. Entitled "Inflation-chic" this collection showcased inflatables such as pool toys. Scott noted " you have to save space for joy", and his play on "inflation" certainly made people smile.

"Grazing City Scapes" by Marije Vogelzang Comissioned by Design Indaba, South Africa for Chefify, Hong Kong Images by APE Concept Ltd. South Africa

Fantastic Food Findings

Exploring food using multiple senses has to be one of the best examples by far that we came across. We can all agree when we take the time to try and appreciate the presentation, smell, and flavour notes in each dish prepared at our favourite local restaurant the meal just tastes better. Marije Vogelzang has created memorable food interactions such as "Drops of Flavour Teardrops" and "Grazing City Scapes". Not only do these events spark conversations they challenge the ways in which one interacts with food. Mediamatic has also created Neo-Futurist Dinners which are stemmed from intermixing food, art, science, and politics. Among our favourites is The Beauty Dinner where participants experience beauty products to enhance their skin, but they too are edible!

“We are a sea of ordinary people;

it is always the quirk, the flaw

or the ingenuity that stands out”

Donna Lynn Hope - Author

Murray Kashmenn of VMSD assists The Retail Duo by being a great sport and determining each groups "weird factor" to add to their WEIRD RETAIL CHALLENGE.

Bottom line, go ahead and integrate that so called WEIRD idea that you have milling around into your next design. Chances are, it is just what most people will cling onto next!


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