YR Store’s interactive garment design concept is redefining the meaning of “up-to-the-minute” fashion at the flagship Topman and Topshop store in London’s Oxford Street.

Customers create their own unique clothing on easy-to-use interactive touch-screen terminals then send the finished design for printing on Epson SureColor SC-F6000 dye sublimation printers.  Minutes later the unique, “100%-personalised” garment is ready for collection.

Making shopping exciting and engaging

The challenge posed to High Street “bricks-and-mortar” retailers by internet shopping is well known, and fashion is no more immune than any other sector.  To get shoppers out of their armchairs and into their stores, innovative brands and retailers are creating “retail experiences” that make shopping exciting and engaging.

London-based interactive digital specialist agency Luma is at the forefront in the field.  In the words of Tim Williams, co-founder and business development director, Luma “works with brands, retailers and agencies to create and deliver unforgettable, interactive, immersive experiences for consumers.”  Clients for the agency’s cutting-edge digital store and event concepts include world-famous brands Nike and MTV.

Fashion power to the people

Williams says interactive technology should have a clear purpose — “I believe in using it to create something tangible,” he told the Industry Trends website.  YR Store (slogan “Live in Print” and pronounced “Your Store”) perfectly demonstrates this philosophy in action.

YR Store’s in-store design-and-print department allows customers to design their own garments on easy-to-use interactive touch-pod design stations, using images either from YR Store’s digital archive of designs and images or their own they can bring along.  The YR Store team prints the design on Epson’s 44-inch SureColor SC-F6000 dye sublimation printer and then permanently applies it to the t-shirt using a heat press – all on the spot.  After originally offering t-shirt printing only, the YR Store garment range now embraces sweatshirts, vests, dresses, skater skirts, crop tops, flip flops and phone cases, with new items being added regularly.

From pop-up to Topshop

YR Store started out in summer 2013 as a “pop-up” outlet in London’s iconic Carnaby Street, a shop window — literally — to show clients some of the ideas Luma was working on behind the scenes.  Successful temporary in-store pop-ups at retailers Liberty and Selfridges quickly followed, and encouraged Williams to pitch Topshop with the idea of two permanent concessions – one in the men’s department and one in the women’s department -  at its flagship five-floor, 8,400 square metres Oxford Street store.  “We felt the YR Store concept was bang in line with the Topshop mission,” explains Williams.  “After all, the brand prides itself on a brave, irreverent approach and offering up-to-the-minute, affordable style.  Topshop agreed, and we opened in October 2013.”

YRStore depends on quality, fast, reliable print

Amid the excitement and creative buzz around the touch screens at the YR Store concessions at Topshop and Topman it’s easy to overlook the role the Epson SureColor SC-F6000 printers play in realising the concept, but Tim Williams is in no doubt how absolutely crucial it is.  “YR Store is about delivering garments quickly — while customers wait as short a time as possible — to a quality that does their designs justice and which they expect from leading retailers.  So the printers at the end of the process not only have to deliver all this but do it in an ultra-reliable package that can keep pace with potentially heavy demand — over 30,000 customers a day come through the Oxford Street store!  The whole point of YR Store is that the experience is engaging, immersive and easy-to-use, right through to the moment the customer picks up their garment after printing and thinks, ‘Wow!’”

The Epson SureColor SC-F6000

Luma was already familiar with the Epson SureColor SC-F6000, operating three printers at its London head office, so specifying an identical solution for Topshop was straightforward.  The SureColor SC-F6000 is a versatile dye-sublimation printer specifically designed for apparel, sportswear, small-format soft signage, customised promotional items and gadgets printing.  The 100% Epson design and manufacture results in a durable, robust printer that features unmatched reliability, effortless performance and low running costs.

Epson’s specially-developed UltraChrome DS aqueous inks deliver precise output of vibrant colours, intense blacks, sharp contours and smooth gradations.  Excellent light- and wash-fastness, as well as resistance to abrasion and perspiration, makes the SureColor SC-F6000/UltraChrome DS combinations ideal for garment applications.

Says Tim Williams:  “The SureColor SC-F6000 gives us superb output with maximum productivity and minimal downtime.  The Epson technology means we can provide the highest quality product in super-fast time, offering customers a great retail experience and their own unique garment.”

Riding the ‘Second Retail Wave’

For Duncan Ferguson, Director of Professional Graphics for Epson Europe, YR Store is at the forefront of a new generation of High Street retailers.  “We are seeing the beginnings of a ‘Second Retail Wave’ of innovation in the imaging industry.  For Epson, the ‘First Wave’ started with photobooks, and also encompassed many examples of photo-merchandising, such as calendars.  But in the ‘Second Wave’ people have much greater ambitions.  Because the world is increasingly personalised, they want to use images to personalise their possessions — everything from flip flops to t-shirts and other clothing, bags to aluminium panels, upholstery to table tops, smartphone cases to wallcoverings.

“These desires mean a huge opportunity for High Street retailers and imaging professionals, if they have short-run production solutions that are affordable, easy-to-use, flexible and reliable.  We believe no one is better placed than Epson to meet these demands.”

View the video: www.youtube.com/watch?v=-dkTT5H7aXU