Afterpay is combining technology and fashion with the unveiling of the ‘Edit Collection’ concept store – a new experiential retail space that will host a selection of Australia’s top emerging brands and the latest in retail innovation.

In partnership with Vicinity Centres and The Australian Fashion Council (AFC), the Edit Collection pop-up at Sydney’s Chatswood Chase will be home to four Australian brands including Bondi Born, My General Store, First Nations Fashion & Design Collective, and Esse Studios over a rotating eight-week roster.

The brands were selected for their contribution to sustainability, mindful creativity, innovation, diversity, and inclusivity, as well as their ability to celebrate Australian fashion and culture.

Commenting on the selection of brands, AFC acting CEO, Kelly Hush (pictured above) said, “We were looking for contemporary Australian fashion brands that are focused on the future and what a future fashion brand looks like. In addition to being digital-first brands, we looked at their sustainability plan – no fashion brand can launch without one. We also looked at diversity and inclusion, as well as unique fashion design. They also had to retail ready to roll out into a store.”

The Edit Collection features cutting-edge technologies such as interactive change room mirrors (pictured), gesture-controlled screens, and eTale chips immediately deliver data on the most-engaged, most-tried and most-sold pieces to the business.

Incorporating smart mirror technology – created by Simon Molnar (pictured below), brother of Afterpay co-founder, Nick Molnar, in collaboration with ShopExp – that is connected to Bluetooth chips on the garments to read what products are brought into the changerooms.

“We have developed the tags that sit on all of the items and collaborated with ShopExp to provide the smart mirrors, and our tags speak to the mirrors to deliver more information to customers when they go into the change rooms,” Molnar said.

“We aren’t trying to change the way retail works but we are trying to unlock more tools for staff to focus on providing the best customer experience, instead of worrying about day-to-day admin.

“The Edit Collection is the official first pilot of the eTale chips but there are other Australian retailers across the country including Academy Brands, about to join the first phase of the pilot. Australia is a very progressive market, and you can gain some interesting learnings in an environment that is so receptive to new technology,” he added.

Commenting on the opening of the Edit Collection concept store, Afterpay director of retail for APAC and global strategic initiatives, Kirsty Ghahramani (pictured above) said, “Afterpay is so excited to be driving this incredibly important project. It’s all about supporting physical retail and emerging Australian brands. We wanted to create a one-of-a-kind physi-digital retail concept store that was about the future of retail technology.”

Vicinity Centres head of brand marketing and experience, Corrine Barchanowicz (pictured below) added, “What we have learned from this concept and working on this partnership, is the role of physical retail and its importance. We have seen growth in online sales over the course of the pandemic, which was a trend we knew was happening even pre-Covid, but interestingly, we’ve seen the importance of physical retail.”

She added: “Our research shows that retailers with an online presence coupled with a physical store, are known to do 30 to 40% more in sales volume. Our customers have also been missing the physical interaction of in-store shopping. So, while the role of online is there and used heavily, it doesn’t mean that physical retail is going anywhere. Instead, there is a real nostalgia and craving for it.”

The store was designed by Sydney based designer and art director, Kyle Jonsson, and is fitted out with fully recyclable hangers crafted from upcycled marine plastics, ocean bound plastics and post-consumer plastics courtesy of Arch & Hook.