Grammatically speaking Bangkok and Wrangler are two nouns. One, among other things, is a favourite destination for bachelor parties while the other is known for its denims and cowboys.
With increasing globalisation brands are moving much beyond their geographical borders. The hope of finding access to larger markets and increasing profits has seen major brands execute this exercise and brand Wrangler is one such brand. Since its inception Wrangler was associated with the cowboys who would wear the denims in a rodeo and with time its popularity soared beyond the USA. After having found success in the American markets Wrangler decided to open up to the Asian- Pacific region and in the next few pages we will focus on one such store.
The store based in Bangkok was designed by UXUS an independent multidisciplinary design agency specializing in strategic design solutions for: retail & marketing, architecture & brand environments. One of core challenges which UXUS encountered was to sync it with the local co-ordinates; says George “Cowboys are quite iconic in American culture, however are quite a foreign concept to the Asian consumer, which required for an adaptation of the Wrangler brand heritage. Leveraging a unique consumer insight that in Asia a motorbike rider is the modern day cowboy, the Wrangler Roadhouse was designed as per the re-defined inputs, it captures the spirit of biker hangouts where riders share their stories, passions and get new gear. Going beyond a retail store, it is the destination for new generation of denim lovers to connect, explore and discover the latest denim culture.”
“For the Asia-Pacific market,” adds George “we designed a new Wrangler icon to ensure clear recognisability across different regions. We were given access to Wrangler’s design and advertising archives, and after some thorough research we identified key forms that we could reference and then refine. Based on these sketches, we narrowed down our selection and tested designs with the key market groups. Once we had a final direction chosen by the client, we finessed the icon angles and then explored ways to bring the new icon to life within the retail design.
All through the store the neutrality of the palate was important keeping in mind the merchandise receives the necessary attention.To achieve the desired look the material palette crafted for the Wrangler Roadhouse took visual cues from roadside rustic hangouts and industrial details found in biker workshops. The selected palette included authentic materials such as brown oak, black mild steel, concrete and recycled denim. These materials were applied to the store design using refined and contemporary principles to evoke a contemporary roadhouse.
The collection of lights curated for the new retail design complemented the roadhouse look & feel adding warmth and showcasing products.
The lighting scheme too was strategized to ensure it offers the requisite amount of brand leverage “The collection of lights curated for the new retail design complemented the roadhouse look & feel adding warmth and showcasing products,” says George “We created a bespoke Wrangler fluorescent light branded with the newly created icon and signature shape language. Centrally positioned over the main walkway, the unique light fixture subtly brands the space upon entry and highlights the hero products on offer. Communication touchpoints – such as the highlighter wall and messaging clip boards were designed as illuminated light boxes to ensure Wrangler campaigns and messaging was a focal point throughout the customer journey.”
In a retail store flexibility is the key and the designer definitely did not forget this gospel of good design. Black directional track spotlights attract attention to the wall bay and mid floor products. The spots are flexible and can be adjusted as needed when the overall store lay-out changes with each collection and season ensuring the customers gaze is directed to the most important store features and prime products. Behind the cash desk a large scale light box showcases the latest seasonal campaign to reaffirm the brand spirit at point of purchase. A flexible clip mechanism light box accommodates 1 large image or 16 smaller images for rich storytelling at the cash desk.
The walls and flooring display uniformity in material and colour unlike the dedicated areas “All the touch points through the space were important,” says George “communication wall, dressing room and dressing area, the cash point were designed to garner the requisite attention, and they serve as spaces where you could engage the prospective customer. Rest of it was laid out in a way such that it incorporated a degree of flexibility so that the client is in a position to display the franchise in a way they desired. Even the furniture and fixture system with a strong modular aspect is highly flexible allowing for multiple configurations. Each system can be modified to the space and transformed with each season.”
Creating a new concept and roll out manual for a brand in a different geography is quite challenging, add to that consistent and adaptable execution. In collaboration with the Wrangler design team Team UXUS managed to achieve this in a way desired by the client.