Putting It Together

Published on 09 March 2017

The return of the edited shopping experience

Instagram, countless seasons of Project Runway and the movie Zoolander (the less said about Zoolander 2, the better) have transformed the world’s population into fashion experts. More than 10 years ago it was difficult to find someone who knew about the label Celine, or even how to pronounce it, but now fashionistas and fashion-misters such as Anna Wintour, Giorgio Armani and Alex Perry are as enmeshed in our cultural fabric as Eddie McGuire, Nick Riewoldt and Magda Szubanski. With the rise of a population that knows its Versace from its Stella McCartney, pessimists predicted the demise of multi-brand boutiques. Wouldn’t shoppers go straight to the source with their Pinterest picks instead of shuffling coathangers? Jo Syme, who launched the Martin York boutique at Eastland, has discovered customers are continuing to enjoy an informed and often unexpected edit of the latest season’s offerings.

"At the heart of the customer experience is getting the right selection of labels"
Jo Syme, Martin York boutique owner

At the heart of the customer experience is getting the right selection of labels, which includes Camilla and Marc, Viktoria + Woods, Ford and Harris, Dylan Kain, Acler and Bec & Bridge. For Syme the mix came together once she secured her first brand, Australian fashion powerhouse Zimmermann. “Having premium brands that believe in your vision was so important as it set the benchmark for other labels to come on board,” Syme says. “Zimmermann has always been one of my all my time favourite brands.” Location is also important. Having grown up in Melbourne’s east, Syme was eager to secure Martin York’s premium position in Eastland’s bustling Town Square precinct. “Growing up in the area, there was never anywhere to shop high quality fashion or discover new labels in an intimate boutique setting,” she says. “I wanted to create a destination in the eastern suburbs of Melbourne where customers could shop the latest trends and best in Australian and international fashion.”

Jo Syme pictured at Martin York

It’s the same approach taken by department store giant David Jones, which has brought a curated concept to its intimate Eastland store. “We wanted to ensure our offering included the very best of local and international brands,” says Lyn James, Melbourne Regional Manager of David Jones. “We also have a new design for our store that gave us the opportunity to create shop within shops, including men’s and women’s denim worlds, clear destinations for lingerie and footwear and a beauty zone.” At the moment Eastland customers are drawn to J Brand Jeans, Tommy Hilfiger, Trenery and Chanel beauty in the David Jones store but for James success is about the right experience as well as the right labels. “We want our customers to leave our Eastland store feeling inspired and knowing that they want to come back,” she says. “We want to have lifelong connections with our customers and their families.”