The Valley Group

Best Retail Inspiration: Sustainability

April 17, 2023

Environmental sustainability is becoming an increasingly important factor for consumers. Here we take a look at some of our favourite environmentally conscious brands and retailers, evaluating how they are delivering authentic brand values, sustainably...


Photo credit: GANNI

GANNI, Beak Street, London

Danish womenswear brand, GANNI, delivers a sustainable approach to store design, without comprising on impact.  With its clever use of upcycled materials, the overall design is inspired by the home of GANNI founders Ditte and Nicolaj Reffstrup. Shoes and handbags are presented on podiums made from recycled waste, while trays are made from recycled, pressed fabrics. Large striped rugs used to zone areas of the store have been made using upcycled fabrics from GANNI’s previous collections.


Why it works?

  • We love the way GANNI’s sustainability initiatives are being used as part of the aesthetic and handwriting of the store design. The originality of the recycled waste podiums creates a unique approach to décor, combined with bold block colours throughout the store this idea works well to create a neutral background to keep focus on the product.
  • The expansion of GANNI REPEAT, the rental platform launched in 2019, into stores is a great way to engage shoppers in their resell, recycle and repair scheme. Supporting the brand’s mission to reduce waste and help close the loop in the fashion industry.

Photo credit: Kavanagh’s

Kavanagh’s, Belsize Park, London

The first fully digital grocery store, Kavanagh’s combines electric shelf labels (ESL’s) and cloud platform technology from SES Imagotag to achieve greater stock efficiencies and improve shopper experience. With a reported increase in sales of 130% since introduction of the tech, the shopper seems to agree.

By using digital shelf displays, price information can be instantly updated without the need of paper tickets, reducing waste and freeing up valuable staff time- to focus on serving customers. Digital shelf displays give shoppers easy access to product nutritional and traceability information, vital support in the evolution we are seeing in today’s consumer shopping habits. Kavanagh’s future plans is to include more data that shoppers may find useful such as sustainability ratings of products to give further insight to shoppers in values which are becoming increasingly considered within today’s path to purchase.

Why it works?

  • By improving on-shelf communication and product availability aids shopper convenience but also frees up the stores shop assistants time by 2 hours a day. This gives staff the chance to focus their time on vital physical engagement with shoppers. This is technology working as it should, allowing store staff time to do what tech can’t- engaging on a human level.

Photo credit: Edvinas Bruzas

Ffern, Soho, London

Natural artisan perfumer, Ffern has created a beautiful plastic free store, described as a ‘haven for sustainable design’, the brand scores high in environmental consideration with its first flagship store.

Innovative material design features throughout the space, with a central desk made from compostable mycelium, handwoven seagrass flooring along with seaweed biomaterials to create hanging screens. Neutral tones around the store are created organically through natural lime-based paints and unfired clay sourced from the South of England, close to its Somerset roots.

Why It works?

  • Ffern is a brand with sustainability at its heart, products are presented seasonally to members of its ledger in beautiful crafted packaging made from compostable mycelium containers along with unique artwork which narrates the story of each season’s creation. The store design is authentic and fully reflects Ffern’s brand values, whilst giving the shopper a deeply meaningful sensory experience with the brand’s space.

Photo credit: Fabrica X

Fabrica X Store, Kings Cross, London

Fabrica X is a unique concept store combining retail with education. Operated by The Mills Fabrica in Hong Kong, it aims to accelerate innovations for sustainability, environmental and social impact through celebrating new developments in biomaterials in textiles and lifestyle products. The retail space not only acts as a showcase for innovation, but it encourages shoppers to touch and feel the materials first hand in their experiential zone. Throughout this experience the customer learns how common food waste and natural materials can be transformed into new life.

Why it works?

  • By combining education alongside retail gives shoppers the opportunity to physically see the direct benefits of biomaterial development and what can be achieved. It enhances learning in a more engaging and effective manner, by bringing education into a retail space reaches a wider market who may not have otherwise been reached had this experience been delivered in an educational space.
  • The showroom style layout of the space allows smaller brands to have a physical retail presence, whilst giving the shopper a reason to keep returning to see how brands are innovating in this dynamic environment.

Photo credit: 66°North

66°North, Regents St, London

66°North opened its first UK flagship store on Regents Street, focussed on bringing the light and atmosphere of the brands Icelandic homeland to life on one of London’s most iconic streets. The store uses British sourced materials, such as natural British clay alongside suspended flowers trapped in ‘ice’ to create a beautiful focal point, enhanced by the fluidity of the space. Metallic fabrications on the ceiling and walls envelope the store and give an urban cohesion to the natural materials showcasing the brands climate-defying technical outerwear and accessories.

Why it works?

  • The 18m curved wall by the stores entrance works as a visual mechanic, drawing shoppers into the brands Icelandic, experiential world. Light plays amongst high shine metallic surfaces against the super matt clay finishes of elevated ‘earth islands’, positioned to represent earth and magma sculptural elements whilst displaying clothing and accessories.
  • The custom bespoke mesh lighting system has been cleverly designed to create misty sky effects to reflect Icelandic weather patterns, creating an immersive shopping experience reflecting the brands roots.

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