Retail Report: Topshop & Traid

Topshop is a British multinational fashion retailer of clothing, shoes, make-up and acces- sories. It has around 500 shops worldwide, 300 are in the UK alone. I visited the massive Topshop on Oxford Street with 3 floors that is always packed full with people. It is such a confusing, big and busy store that the average time spent there is 1 hour. Clothes are organ- ized by themes, rather than by type, which means that shoppers need to spend time searching for items. The store not only offers clothes, but also a salon, restaurant and piercing shop. The space is filled with bright white light and very loud music, along with the noise from people, transport and the hustle and bustle of Oxford Street. Stepping into any Topshop around the world can be very overwhelming. It attracts a wide range of clients, from all ages genders and levels of society. The most common consumers are women aged 16 to 30. No matter where you look inside you will find racks and shelves full of clothes makeup and accessories.

Traid is a second hand shop and its aim is to raise money for charity through donations and the sale of clothes. It has a vintage atmosphere and is organized according to clothing style. Their goal is to make use of unwanted clothes instead of throwing them away. They often fix or transform items that would otherwise be useless, and then use the money to help charities who educate people. It is therefore both ecofriendly and good for society.


Bibliogrpahy: Fshops%2Fmetalmorphosis%2Fresources%2FDesign%2F5361123131-e415d004a1.jpg&f=1


Before printed publications and the internet, how did people get their messages out?

Barbara-Kruger-I-shop-therefore-I-am.jpg                                       (I shop therefor I am, 2017)

In the past advertising would be displayed by someone walking around with a sign or sand- wich board. London was less multi-cultural than it is today, and many British people were abroad. Manufacturing was more commonly done by hand, using simple tools and methods.

In the early twentieth century cocaine was commonly used in medicine as a pain reliever. It chemically alters the brain so that someone feels like they have more energy. It became il- legal in the UK, but drug taking was more common and acceptable than it is now. Through advertising the Coca-Cola company promoted its drinks, which contained cocaine. It became a highly successful company because of its advertising and the addictive contents of its prod- ucts. At this time many people were illiterate and had a limited ability to question the infor- mation that was delivered by advertisers.

Companies such as Hoover produced new products which became synonymous with the brand name. Now many people still call a vacuum cleaner a hoover, even if it is not from this brand. This was a time when branding became particularly important to the advertising industry, with Walter Landon quoted as saying “products are made in the factory, but brands are created in the mind”. Consumers are creating these brands and identities in their minds.


                         (Christmas with Coca-cola,2013)

Another good example of influential branding is a Coca-Cola advertisement at Christmas, which builds an association between the product and the concept of togetherness. Simple associations such as “Coca-cola = happiness = family” are developed through adverts such as this.

The concept of cultural hegemony was developed by Antonio Gramsci. The term refers to the authority and rule of social institutions and their ability to influence everyday thoughts. The same is also true for companies, which have a strong influence on many people in our society, because they have capital and power.

New ways of consuming have emerged recently, such as online shopping. This has introduced another source of power, from bloggers, who have the ability to shape trends and influence the popularity of products and brands.

One of today’s biggest companies, Apple, used to be a failing business and was unpopular in comparison to Microsoft. This all changed with a clever piece of branding. Apple produced colourful desktop computers which appealed to people just getting interested in computing. It completely changed people’s perceptions of the company.

Another example is Adidas, which is now one of the most popular sports brands. When Adidas was created Puma was a major competitor in the same, with factories in the same city. However, Adidas was located in West Germany, which was controlled by British and Ameri- can authorities. Puma was located in East Germany. There was a lot of influence from Brit- ish and American culture, and in the late 80s, when hip hop was becoming popular, Adidas wanted to change the face of their brans by associating with this trend. It was even featured in a song by Run DMC, and other brands such as Tommy Hilfiger also associated themselves with cultural trends such as hip-hop.

Products were no longer being bought simply because of their function or physical form. They were being consumed because of their associations and the fantasies and identities that were connected with them. This was summed up by the famous quote “I shop therefor I am” (Barbara Kruger) which highlights the close connection between personal identity and con- sumerism.



Cole, N. (2017). Definition of Cultural Hegemony, ThoughtCo.


Christmas with Coca-cola. (2013). [image] Available at: php?movie_id=7316 [Accessed 6 Mar. 2017].

I shop therefor I am. [Accessed 6 Mar. 2017].

Viktoria Modesta


                                 (Viktoria Modesta – Prototype, 2014)

Victoria Modesta is a bionic artist, multimedia performance artist, creative director, DJ and a supporter of future innovations. She has become famous for objectifying herself on purpose and drawing attention to her disability. Disabled people are sometimes seen as not having power, but through her videos she shows that she is powerful and can have the same place in society as anybody. People sometimes forget that people with physical disabilities also suffer mentally as a result.

Throughout history there have been many different ways of treating disabled people and it is only recently that they have been empowered. Stereotypes of disabled people are changing, and Modesta has become a respected artist. She has done this by “Building an identity that I was more comfortable with, as opposed to the one that was given to me, was very important,” she says. She has demonstrated a sense of agency and

Her work promotes the rights of disabled people and she is committed to increasing aware- ness of disabled people. She uses her power to show a specific image that she wants people to learn from.


She is transgressive and challenges the ‘normal’ way of doing things, and by doing this she causes other people to think differently. She is aggressive through her sexuality and uses me- chanical objects and unusual prosthetic limbs to accentuate her disability. Instead of trying to hide her disability she is using is trying to make it desirable and to challenge people. Peo- ple have the option to consumer her music or to engage with her through sexual attraction and she presents her womanly physicality in a way that is designed to entice people sexually. Other than her disability she is not very different from other avant-garde performers such as Lady Gaga, and she is showing people that they do not need to think of her as any different. And if they do, they should see it as something unique and desirable.


Saner, E. (2014). Viktoria Modesta, the world’s first amputee pop star : ‘If you don’t fit in, then don’t fit in’. [online] the Guardian. Available at: dec/20/-sp-amputee-pop-star-viktoria-modesta [Accessed 25 Feb. 2017].

Selby, J. (2014). Viktoria Modesta: Meet the world’s first ‘bionic’ pop star. [online] The Inde- pendent. Available at: the-world-s-first-bionic-pop-star-9944404.html [Accessed 15 Feb. 2017].


Viktoria Modesta – Prototype. (2014). Available at: watch?v=jA8inmHhx8c [Accessed 9 Mar. 2017]. jpg?w=960 [Accessed 9 Mar. 2017].

Michel Foucault

Are we easily manipulated to buy a new pair of shoes or to dress like someone?

michel foucault
(Gerard Fromanger,1976)

One of Foucault’s more influential theories introduced the concept so bio power, body and discipline. Bio power includes aspects of the physical body and mental identity, and how these two things are connected. Every person has a physical body and a social body, and these things include both visible and invisible identities. The body doesn’t just determine how we look, but how we feel about our identity, culture, religion, and other social factors. People can express their internal identity through their choices and how they dress, but these physical things also influence the way that we are perceived and how other people identify us.

Likewise, discipline exists physically and mentally. People may be physically punished or rewarded, but this physical behavior is learned and becomes an internal discipline. Education is a form of discipline which rewards and punishes behavior, therefore shaping the way that people think and motivating people to behave differently in the future.

The society we live in sets rules for reward and punishment. This includes the law, the prison system, and the economic system, such as jobs and salaries and other rewards. Some behav- iors such as prostitution have developed clear ways of identifying themselves physically. In 19th century Paris, prostitutes wore red velvet and did not need to hide what they were doing. However, smoking was seen as bad behavior for these same women. The discipline of people has changed since then as a result of the society they live in, the education they receive and how people are rewarded and punished for different things.

Laws and cultural norms about homosexuality have also changed greatly in the last 50 years. Up until 1967 it was illegal for gay people to have sex, and up to 1990 it was considered a medical condition is some places. In 1998 the UK changed the legal age from 21 to 18. In 2002 this was changed again so that it was the same as for heterosexual relationships. Accord- ing to Foucauldian theory this cultural change has happened over time as a result of the way that society educates people.


Laws and social attitudes have changed over time, but there are still things that are punished and thought of as unacceptable. Gay men are still not allowed to donate blood because of the risk of HIV, despite the ability to test for the disease. Prostitution is still illegal, although in some countries it is the person who pays for sex who is punishable rather than the woman. In some places prostitution is considered to be empowering.

(Philosopher of Power,2015)

Bibliography: (2015). Foucault on Power, Bodies, and Discipline. [online] Available at: [Accessed 3 Mar. 2017].

An Animated Introduction to Michel Foucault, “Philosopher of Power”. (2015). [image] Avail- able at: philosopher-of-power.html [Accessed 6 Mar. 2017].
Gerard Fromanger, (1976). Foucault. [image] Available at: fromanger/michel-foucault-1976 [Accessed 6 Mar. 2017].

The Ethics of Punk


Punk first appeared in London in the mid-70s as an aggressive and rebellious movement, cen- tered around emerging music and fashion subcultures. The name punk came from the music associated with the fashion. At the time it shocked many people who were not used to seeing such expressive and eye-catching clothing styles in the street.

Some of the most common features and styles included the use of damaged fabrics, transfor- mations of garments with pins, badges, tears, stitching, patches and unusual fabrics. It was made using very simple construction techniques that could be used by anybody in a DIY way. Garments were refashioned into unique forms, with distressed edges, defaced patterns and other rebellious expressions of anarchy and vandalism which have become popular trends into the 21st century.

These fashions expressed more than just a physical image, but said a lot about people’s politi- cal views and attitudes towards issues such as workers right, class differences and those in power.

(Marie Claire, 2017)

In more recent time punk has moved towards high fashion and you can find the use of fish-net lattices in boutique shops as well as Soho sex shops. Gentrification and postmodernism
have brought trends such as punk into the mainstream. Areas that were once associated with minority groups and people form poor economic backgrounds are gradually becoming more desirable and expensive. Many people from these areas fight the economic tide of gentrifi- cation and try to preserve the rots of these areas by protecting them from big business and mainstream trends. What often happens is that business move in which exploit the newly fashionable trends associated with the area, but they do so at a higher price. Locals are therefore unable to maintain their standard of living and are forced into other cheaper areas.

As rebellious areas and challenging clothes become more mainstream, they are slowly chang- ing. The prices attached to them are getting higher, and what was once considered trashy is now the height of fashion. Designers like Vivienne Westwood and Malcolm McLaren who opened a shop on King’s Road called “Sex” have played a big part in making these under- ground fashions common place.


Marie Claire. (2017). Anarchy In The UK: A Brief History Of Punk Fashion. [online] Available at: [Accessed 9 Mar. 2017].


Marie Claire, (2017). Anarchy in the UK: A brief history of punk fashion Read
more at 79145#1Uch6B5MewQMQZWV.99. [image] Available at: fashion/a-brief-history-of-punk-fashion-79145 [Accessed 4 Mar. 2017].

Pauline Weston Thomas, (n.d.). 1970s Punk Fashion History Development. [image] Available at: [Accessed 4 Mar. 2017].

IEPP: Work Shadow Application


Bompas & Parr

As my ‘work shadow’ choice of company, I have chosen to make contact with Bompas and Parr. They are a flavour-based-experience designers based in south London near London Bridge. They are involved in architectural installations and contemporary food design and culinary research. I have chosen the company as they work closely with well established brands such as Disney, Louis Vuitton and Selfridges.

The studio currently has 14 full time members of staff, having grown from just two people in 2007. My direct point of contact will be Ann Charlott Ommedal who is now the Art Director and Design Manager.

Ommedal has over six years experience in design, graphics and photography, working with Bompas & Parr since 2010. I have chosen to contact her as she holds a high position in the company and worked directly on the ‘Alcoholic Architecture’ exhibition that I was incredibly inspired by.

Contact details: 02074039403 /


Sent from:

Sent to:

Date: 24/02/2016

To Ms Ann Ommedal,

My name is Anisseh Shawkat and I am a second year student studying ‘Spacial Design’ at the London College of Communication, University of the Arts, London. I am contacting you as I am interesting in applying for a work experience/ shadowing opportunity with Bompas and Parr.

Throughout my studies thus far I have admired and followed the work of the studio. I have always imagined that I would work on interesting projects which creat events spaces, exciting interiors, incorporating food and drink to entertain those visiting the events.

My current experience is just academic, however I would like to further my experience so that I am in a good position when I am required to apply for full-time job placements at the end of my degree. I feel that I could learn so much by visiting your studio and following a member of staff, observing their daily activities.

I could become a temporary help on your current exhibitions listed on your twitter feed and am happy to travel with other members of staff, to help to set up exhibitions, make sets, culinary prepation etc. I would be available from the end of May 2017 for a period of one week. Please see below my contact details.

Feel free to contact me to discuss any of the above further.

I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Your Sincerely,

Anisseh Shawkat

T: 07766033332



IEPP: Industry Research


Design Museum, High Street Kensington, London

London’s Design Museum was established in 1989 and was originally located in Shad Thames, on the south bank of the river. In June 2011, Sir Terence Conran donated £17.5 million to enable the Museum to move to expand its capacity. I will review below my visit to the new museum site:

The museum is now located in a landmark 1960s grade II listed building which was previously the Commonwealth institute in High Street Kensington, west London.  The main architecture was designed and coordinated by OMA with John Pawson creating the new interior design. On entering the building you are confronted with a grand atrium, clad with terrazzo floors and beautiful timber finishes. It certainly does meet Pawson’s intensions of creating a ‘beautiful building that people will feel good in.’

The library, café, learning spaces and designer and residents studios are located across the floors above and below the atrium. All interiors are in keeping with the main material language of the atrium.


The current temporary exhibition is named ‘Fear and Love’. The most interesting aspect of the exhibition was the meeting of Mimus, an industrial robot which acts and reacts to its surroundings.  The original use of such robots are within the car manufacturing industry, but Mimus is used to follow the visitors, reacting to the environment in the museum. This is facilitated by 8 sensors, which seems to give the robot a sense of emotion. This part of the exhibition shows us how technology is moving on very quickly and how the future must facilitate humans and robots living together.