Nordstrom Deepens Fast-Fashion Focus With Addition of Topshop

Topshop Fall Campaign

Topshop fall Campaign

Fast fashion may have new meaning at Nordstrom now, and not simply because the department store just debuted dedicated shop-in-shops from Brit fast-fashion retailer Topshop inside 14 select Nordstrom doors in September.

Rather, it was the speed at which the partnership came about.

“It was basically done on a handshake,” said Pete Nordstrom, Executive Vice President and President, Merchandising for Nordstrom, while sitting front row at the Rachel Zoe show during NY Fashion Week. “It was fun to test our company’s nimbleness. It was [a little over] 90 days ago [that the agreement occurred] and now we have product in the stores.”

Topshop Las Vegas

Topshop Las Vegas

Nordstrom flew to Vegas to meet Topshop owner Sir Philip Green, as Topshop was preparing for its Vegas opening at the Fashion Show shopping center in March. Not long after, the deal

“It’s not enough to give them fashion; you have to give them price.” — Pete Nordstrom

was inked and the department store is now the only large U.S. retailer to sell a broad assortment of the brand’s merchandise both online and in stores.

So, does this new partnership signal a deepening commitment from Nordstrom to court the fast-fashion customer?

“The shows [at fashion week] are great, but not everyone can afford this,” said Nordstrom, referring to the designer collections showing in New York. “It’s not enough to give them fashion; you have to give them price.”

Nordstrom spokesperson Brooke White agreed. “We’ve always tried to reach a broad range of customer, but we think we can do better with more of a trend-led, younger customer.”

Topshop road trip across America

Topshop road trip across America

And that trend-led customer is hungry for the hottest looks of the season. Peplums? She wants them. Oxblood accessories? Done. Leather shorts? Bien Sur! But what makes this new partnership even more alluring is that it speaks to the way women have been shopping the past decade: high-low. The concept of pairing something inexpensive with something high end has been hammered home so much editorially that it almost seems yawn worthy now — that is until one really stops to register what a sea change that has been to the way we shop. It’s no longer a novelty, but a defining principle to the way people shop and dress. And it’s fueled the rise of fast fashion retailers such as Topshop, H&M, Forever 21 and others.

Jessica Alba wears the Topshop Aztec-print cigarette pant at Lucky FABB West

Jessica Alba wears the Topshop Aztec-print jacquard cigarette pant at Lucky FABB West

Nordstrom has smartly tapped into this and is making it even easier for customers to shop that way. They can go to the Topshop boutique at Nordstrom and then hop on over to say the Savvy contemporary boutique or Collectors and pair their cheap chic find with more high-end pieces. Jessica Alba illustrated this formula perfectly at the Lucky Fabb West conference in L.A. this past spring when she paired a pair of Topshop cigarette trousers with an Alice + Olivia by Stacey Bendet sweater and Giuseppti Zanotti pumps.

In fact the Topshop/Topman boutiques, which average between 1,500- to 2,500 square feet, are perfectly carved out in the areas where the Savvy and TBD contemporary and high-end contemporary sections, respectively, are housed in the stores. Among the top doors that have launched the Topshop/Topman boutiques are Ala Moana in Honolululu, San Francisco Centre, San Francisco,  South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa, Calif., Oakbrook Center, in Oakbrook, Ill. Only select doors of the 14 new boutiques are also carrying the Topman collection.

This newest partnership is yet another strategic move on the part of the Seattle-based department store to continue to expand its portfolio of both brick-and-mortar and online concepts and cement its relevance as a key player in the fashion sphere. The company bought a majority stake in the Jeffrey boutiques in 2005, in what many saw as a statement-making move away from the middle-market reputation that had dogged the department store.

Topshop fall campaign

Topshop fall campaign

In 2011, the retailer purchased online flash sale Web site Hautelook and earlier this year continued its online investment with a $16.4 million round of founding for online men’s e-tailer Bonobos and a partnership to sell the company’s wildly popular pants and clothing at brick-and-mortar locations. The company which announced in June that it will build its first full line department store in New York in 2018, also launched concept store Treasure & Bond, which donates all its profits to charities in New York. (Bonpoint founders Marie-France and Bernard Cohen made news for their Paris-based concept store, Merci, which launched in 2009 and also donates its profits to charity.)

“We’re in a strong financial position, so we’re able to take advantage of these partnerships,” said White. On whether or not the retailer has other partnerships or acquisitions in the works, White said that the possibility is there. “The door is open. We’re opportunistic …and as good opportunities come our way, we will consider it.”

Photos courtesy Topshop

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Author:Michelle Dalton Tyree

Fashion Trends Daily is the brainchild of Michelle Dalton Tyree. She is the former West Coast Retail Editor for Women’s Wear Daily, Fashion Editor for The Japan Times, and founder of former L.A. luxury boutique Iconology. Michelle is frequently quoted about fashion retail trends in major media outlets such as NPR, KPCC, The Inside Source and the New York Times. She has developed content for many luxury brands and retailers and has written for Allure, Worth Global Style Network, Footwear News and other media outlets.