We’ve seen nearly every major clothing brand – from the Gap to Louis Vuitton – set up one or more pop-up stores, drawing attention to their product lines and to their regular retail outlets. In contrast, a Munich-based brand isn’t attempting to supplement its fixed-store bread and butter; Clemens en August’s only offline sales are through temporary outlets, twice a year. Avoiding the pop-up moniker, the brand describes itself as being ‘on tour’.
Each season Clemens en August travels to an assortment of fashion-minded cities to sell its current collections in contemporary art galleries for only three days at a time. By cutting out the retail margin, the strategy lets the brand offer its clothes at substantially lower prices than they otherwise could. Through planned scarcity, meanwhile, the strategy creates a new sense of exclusivity based on limited availability, not price. Together, those benefits have clearly helped the brand survive during these tough economic times, allowing it to win a cult following and to see a sales increase of 30 percent in 2009. While it also sells through its online store, Clemens en August maintains a sense of scarcity: the third floor of its webshop is reserved for customers who’ve visited the most recent tour.