On 10th May 2011, LCF’s MA Fashion Entrepreneurship students challenged marketing and communications giant ENGINE to a debate around the future of the High Street. The event was a resounding success, attended by a mixed crowd of around 80 and followed on Twitter @LCFLondon (using the hashtag #HSDeadorAlive) by the online community.
ENGINE generously offered to host the event at their head office in Great Portland Street. Neil Morris, Head of Innovation, chaired the debate and Robin Wight, President of Engine, added a streak of colour to the evening. Wendy Malem, Dean of Enterprise and International Development at LCF, came out in support of the students. Despite ENGINE’s highly experienced participants, the debate was very egalitarian, both sides fought passionately and were given equal weight, which gave rise to some truly fresh ideas.
MA Fashion Entrepreneurship students argued that, with so much talent and exciting developments on the fashion horizon, the high street is likely to revamp rather than die out. The shopping experience is about more than just ‘getting what you need’; the survival of many people’s love of ‘retail therapy’ depends on retailers consistently adding value to the experience in-store, rather than giving up on stores in general.
ENGINE reasoned that developments in online technology and the need for time saving will kill off the high street as we know it. They suggested we will see the rise of gallery-like stores where shoppers scan purchases in store whilst having their nails done and the product will be delivered to our house within the hour!
When put to a vote it was decided by a landslide that the future of the high street was secure.
The twitter debate lives on! Have your say on Twitter – mark your tweets @LCFLondon, and use the hashtag #HSDeadorAlive.
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